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John Riel Casimero could take stay-busy fight if Naoya Inoue can’t travel

Casimero was slated to face Inoue on April 25th in Las Vegas

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

With Japan expanding its state of emergency nationwide, there’s a very real chance that unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue may be stuck in his home country for a while. Bob Arum tells ESPN that, should that scenario come to pass, WBO champ John Riel Casimero will take another fight in the interim rather than wait for their unification match.

The Philippines’ Casimero (29-4, 20 KO) had already left for Las Vegas, where the pair were set to meet on April 25th, before everything went to pot. According to ESPN, he’s “staying busy and working out consistently” while there.

It seems unlikely that the WBO would jeopardize the unification by forcing him to face a top contender, but just in case “Quadro Alas” decides to bite the bullet, his top three contenders in order are Joshua Greer, Joseph Agbeko, and Ryo Akaho. I’m as surprised as you are to learn that the 40-year-old Agbeko is still fighting; he’s 7-0 against nobody in particular since his 2013 stinker against Guillermo Rigondeaux. Akaho is in a similar boat, winning nine gimmes since falling to Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bid for the vacant WBO title.

Greer was slated to face Jason Moloney on that April 25th undercard, so the logistics on that wouldn’t be too difficult. His 2019 efforts didn’t inspire much hope that he’ll develop into championship material, either, making him a potentially safe opponent.

Honestly, it’ll be interesting to see how much travel issues will impact boxing’s schedule once they get the all-clear to actually hold events. Hoping for a smooth transition.

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