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First day of WBO convention includes discussion of fighter safety, Inoue vs Casimero fight

The 32nd WBO convention is underway in Tokyo.

Robert Richard/WBO
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

The 32nd annual WBO convention kicked off today in Tokyo, with some news in a possible fight between their new bantamweight titleholder, John Riel Casimero, and IBF/WBA unified titleholder Naoya Inoue, plus more.

On the Inoue-Casimero front, WBO President Francisco Valcarcel said, “We have been working on that fight. Inoue got a contract to fight in America with Top Rank. Manny Pacquiao is Casimero’s promoter. He’s very close to WBO, too. Before the fight between Tete and Casimero, I talked to Casimero’s team, Frank Warren, Team Tete, Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao to make the unification fight with Inoue possible early next year.

“Inoue is in elite position and needs elite fights. And I can assure you that if something happened during this convention, I can give you the date of the fight this week. Carl Moretti, VP of Top Rank, and Sean Gibbons, representing Casimero’s team, are here in Tokyo. For sure they will start a conversation for that fight. It will be a tough fight for both. We are talking about two elite fighters.”

Casimero upset Zolani Tete this past Saturday in England to win the title, and immediately called out Inoue, who just won the World Boxing Super Series but will be on the shelf for a while with injuries suffered in his brutal bout with Nonito Donaire.

The main focus of the day, however, was safety issues in boxing.

“The doctors in the ring have to be prepared for the possibility of a fighter being seriously injured, including the possibility of brain damage. Sometimes the supervisors don’t know about medical procedures and doctor specialized care for these situations,” Valcarcel said.

“Supervisors should work to enforce our rules. Sometimes the doctor is a general practitioner. Sometimes they don’t know or ask about the distance from the fight venue to the hospital or if the hospital have neurologist or neurosurgeon available that night. Not everybody can be a supervisor, or a doctor in a boxing match.”

“If you’re dealing with boxing, the best doctor to work a fight should be a neurologist or neurosurgeon,” Valcarcel added.

WBO Legal Advisor Andre Horn said, “It’s clear we are not here to run the show in a boxing event but to enforce the WBO rules. We want to protect not only the WBO fighters but all fighters. We are all brothers.”

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