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WBO order negotiation for John Riel Casimero title defense against Paul Butler

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Casimero’s hopes for a unification bout will be set aside for now.

John Riel Casimero probably won’t be fighting Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue next.
John Riel Casimero probably won’t be fighting Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue next.
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The WBO has ordered the teams for bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero and mandatory challenger Paul Butler to begin negotiations to face one another, with an agreement to be reached in the next twenty days or risk heading to a purse bid.

Casimero (31-4, 21 KO) is coming off a split-decision win over Guillermo Rigondeaux in August, a fight in which he pursued the aging Cuban for nearly two and a half miles without landing much of consequence. He and manager Sean Gibbons have since stated their desire for him to face fellow champions Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue on December 11th, but with Donaire ordered to face Reymart Gaballo next and no apparent developments for a bout with Inoue, it appears that Casimero will need to defend the WBO title against his mandatory challenger instead.

Butler’s (33-2, 15 KO) last fight saw him earn a split-decision victory over late substitute Willibaldo Garcia in June, after his originally scheduled opponent Joseph Agbeko was forced to withdraw from their title eliminator with visa issues. While that fight was not scheduled as an eliminator, Butler’s position in the sanctioning body’s rankings provides him with the opportunity to once again claim a world title, albeit against an opponent who will likely be a significant favorite.