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P20M needed to defend title here


If no offers, Casimero to go overseas.

Unless somebody puts up the money, Johnriel Casimero will have no choice but to make the second defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown on enemy territory again.

Casimero’s chief handler, long-time boxing man Sammy Gello-ani said yesterday that putting up a world title fight on home soil would require at least P20 million since it would cover mainly the purse of the two fighters, airfare of the visiting boxer and his team.

“If there is someone who can bankroll everything, we are willing to fight here,” said Gello-ani, who was joined during the PSA Forum by chief trainer Jhun Agrabio and cutman Aldrin Santamaria.

Also to be shouldered are the hotel expenses, per diem and the officials’ fees aside from venue rental and the purse of those seeing action in the undercard.

Casimero is fresh from knocking out British challenger Charlie Edwards at the O2 Arena in London and is raring to return to the ring before the year ends.

“Hindi naman ako gaanong nahirapan sa last fight so pwedeng-pwede pang lumaban ng isa bago matapos ang taon,” said Casimero, who improved his record to 23-3 with 15 KOs following his demolition of Edwards.

Gello-ani said he expects a clearer picture of what’s down the road in a few weeks as the team studies the numerous offers although it doesn’t look realistic that an all-Filipino showdown could be made.

Slowly inching his way to the flyweight ranks is Donnie Nietes, who makes his fly debut this weekend in Carson, California.

Nietes should crack the top ten and eventually become a mandatory challenger but Gello-ani insists that unless the IBF orders it, that matchup doesn’t appeal to him.

“We (Filipinos) would like to see more world champions so as much as possible and avoid pitting them against each other and that’s the last resort,” added Gello-ani.

Staking the IBF 112-lb crown on hostile ground isn’t new to Casimero, who has seen action in South Africa, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, China, Thailand and Argentina.

Casimero, 26, is one of four reigning Filipino world champions and is allowed to do a choice defense as his mandatory won’t happen until February next year.