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Paul Butler vs Joseph Agbeko now for interim title, John Riel Casimero ordered to show cause

The pair are ranked #1 and #10 by the WBO, respectively

Boxing at Liverpool Olympia Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

News broke this morning that WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero had withdrawn from his mandated title defense against Paul Butler due to a bout of “viral gastritis.” Though there were early rumblings that Casimero could be stripped of his title, which would then be up for grabs between Butler and late replacement Joseph Agbeko, the WBO has instead sanctioned that as an interim title fight and given Casimero 10 days to “submit a medical certification by institution which [he was] admitted for medical treatment as well as [his] medical record pertaining to such admittance.”

Basically, they’re asking for proof that this was indeed a medical issue and not a case of Casimero (31-4, 21 KO) flubbing his weight cut, as Butler (33-2, 15 KO) intimated.

So yes, 44-year-old Joseph Agbeko (38-5, 28 KO) will be fighting for a version of a world title in this, the Year of Our Lord 2021. “King Kong” actually sat at #2 in their bantamweight rankings as recently as September despite failing to secure a notable victory in the past eight years, but was unceremoniously bumped back to #5 and then #10 without actually competing in the interim.

The WBO isn’t as bad as the WBA or WBC, but it’s still very silly sometimes.