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Casimero faces tall order versus Mexican rival

Filipino champion isn’t looking past Mexican challenger Cesar Ramirez.

John Riel Casimero (right) poses with trainer Rodel Mayol following his KO win over Mexican Ricardo Espinoza in Carson, CA.

John Riel Casimero (right) poses with trainer Rodel Mayol.

Casimero, the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight titlist, held the first half of his training alongside Manny Pacquiao in the US before relocating to Davao City.

This Saturday at the San Andres Sports Complex in Malate, Casimero aims to hurdle Ramirez to set up a title showdown with Zolani Tete of South Africa not later than December this year.

Casimero (27-4 with 18 KOs) became interim 118-lb ruler after Tete (28-3 with 21 KOs) suffered an injury and became inactive and was even forced to skip a clash with Nonito Donaire in the World Boxing Super Series.

Now that Tete has recovered, the WBO has mandated that he meets Casimero, assuming of course Casimero gets past Ramirez (18-3with 11 KOs) within 90 days after Aug. 24.

Sean Gibbons, who has been tasked by Manny Pacquiao to oversee this weekend’s slugfest that is free to the public, insists that Casimero cannot afford to take it nice and easy.

“Ramirez is someone you don’t mess with. He came in here a week before the fight and that gives you the impression that he is not vacation mode,” said Gibbons, noting how foreign fighters arrive in the Philippines four or even three days before a fight.

Casimero is arriving in Manila from Davao late Wednesday night with chief trainer Nonoy Neri, also a member of Pacquiao’s battery of trainers. (NICK GIONGCO)