John Riel Casimero won a world title in a third weight class today in Birmingham, England, stopping Zolani Tete at 2:14 of the third round to win the WBO bantamweight title.
Casimero (29-4, 20 KO) had won world titles at 108 and 112 in the past, and came in here with the interim WBO title at 118, which for once made sense because Tete (28-4, 21 KO) had been out with an injury.
Tete, 31, did well in the first couple rounds, or well enough, flicking out his long jab against the naturally smaller Casimero. But the 30-year-old Casimero cracked Tete on the temple with a right hand midway through the third round, and scrambled Tete badly. Another right to the same spot followed quickly, and Tete went down.
Referee Steve Gray could easily have called the fight off there, as Tete got back up but clearly had no legs underneath him, wobbling trying to stay upright in the corner. Gray even had to halfway pick Tete back up after he slipped when the action resumed, and Tete went down again a second time simply because his legs were still gone.
When Tete got back up again, Casimero cornered him and looked to close, and after a few shots flew in with Tete clearly not able to capably defend himself, Gray did step in before something worse could happen.
It’s a fantastic win for Casimero, obviously, and now he says he’s ready to face IBF/WBA titleholder Naoya Inoue, considered the top dog at 118 and one of the best in the sport pound-for-pound.
“Come on, Inoue!” he said. “Zolani Tete is a good fighter, but next fight, Inoue! Come on, ‘Monster’!”
Anthony Cacace SD-12 Sam Bowen
We’ve got a new British champion at 130 pounds, as Cacace (18-1, 7 KO) knocks off Bowen (15-1, 11 KO) in perhaps a minor upset. Cacace, 30, won on scores of 115-113 twice in his favor, and there was also a 115-112 Bowen card from Terry O’Connor. I didn’t score, but the Bowen card seems poor, because that’s an 8-4 card, as Bowen lost a point in the fifth for what was judged a deliberate headbutt.
This was a solid fight, with Bowen just getting outboxed too often to hold on to his belt. A bit of a learning experience for the 27-year-old Bowen, and probably also cemented that his level is going to be high-end domestic. He did fight about half the bout essentially with one eye due to a cut, too, and he fought admirably, but he just didn’t impose his will the way he needed.