By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Filipino boxing superstar Johnriel Casimero walked his talk and retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight championship belt against Cuban tactician Guillermo Rigondeaux.
It was one of the most unusual title fights of the year as both fighters only managed to land a combined 91 punches in total for the whole 12 rounds, 47 for Casimero and 44 for Rigondeaux.
Casimero was the aggressor since the bell rang in the first round as he just hounded Rigondeaux and applied constant pressure.
Meanwhile, the Cuban fighter continued to backpedal and evade Casimero’s advances with his points only coming from his precise counter-punching.
Rigondeaux put on a scare when the third round began as he hit Casimero with a couple of clean left counter hooks.
Fans then began to boo as Casimero was the only one who always initiated the action and never saw the Cuban veteran lead the way in the middle of the ring.
When the 10th round came in, Casimero began to step on the gas pedal and aggressively stalked Rigondeaux while throwing his left and right haymakers.
Despite missing badly on his power swings, Casimero still received the applause of the audience as he taunted the Cuban while slapping his own face, indicating that he wants to get hit.
One judge scored the bout in favor of Rigondeaux, 115-113, while the other two had it for the Filipino, 116-112 and 117-111.
After the victory, Casimero immediately called out Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue when asked about his plan for the next fight.