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John Riel Casimero vs Ricardo Espinoza to be for interim WBO bantamweight title

The two meet on Saturday on the Garcia-Granados undercard.

2016 IBF World Championship Bout Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The WBO ruled on Tuesday that the fight on Saturday between John Riel Casimero and Ricardo Espinoza will be for their interim bantamweight title. Casimero-Espinoza will take place on the Garcia-Granados undercard, but the fight won’t air on either the FOX or FS1 televised portion of the show.

The current WBO bantamweight titleholder is Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KO), who won an interim title himself in April 2017, then was upgraded to full titleholder when Marlon Tapales failed to make weight for a fight that happened literally a day later.

Tete has defended three times — Nov. 2017, April 2018, and Oct. 2018 — but apparently that’s not good enough, nor is the fact that he’s facing WBA titleholder Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KO) on April 27 in a unification fight, which is also a World Boxing Super Series semifinal.

So we’ve got Casimero (26-4, 17 KO) against Espinoza (23-2, 20 KO) on Saturday. It is what it is.

Casimero, 30, is a Filipino veteran and former titleholder at 108 and 112, now fighting at 118. He won the flyweight belt from Amnat Ruenroeng in a 2016 rematch, and successfully defended against Charlie Edwards, now the WBC titleholder, that same year. He moved up in weight after that, vacating his flyweight title, and lost a 115-pound bout to Jonas Sultan in 2017. He’s currently won two in a row at featherweight and bantamweight, pure stay-busy fights.

Espinoza, 21, is a Mexican fighter who has won 13 in a row since 2017, and has gotten himself into sanctioning body contention with his last three victories in particular, all coming in the U.S. This is easily the biggest fight of his young career.

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