Johnriel Casimero retained his World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight title after a shocking win via split decision against Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday, August 15, 2021.
Casimero has been pounding Rigondeaux since the bell rang, chasing the two-time Olympic medalist inside the ring for nearly 12 rounds but failing to land a solid blow against the Cuban opponent.
Surprisingly, Casimero was still beaten in one jury’s decision, 113-115, but the Filipino was able to keep the score thanks to the scores of 116-112 and 117-111 from the other two juries.
“I wanted a knockout,” Casimero told Showtime’s Jim Gray following the lackluster title defense. “Rigondeaux is always running, running.”
“Rigondeaux always runs,” he continued, “no fighting.”
Rigondeaux undoubtedly enticed Casimero to compete in his style of combat. Several times during the battle, Casimero dropped his gloves in anger, asking the Cuban veteran to engage and fight, but to no effect.
While it’s impressive that the 40-year-old Rigondeaux could maintain such a high level of fitness to walk around the ring for 12 rounds, he didn’t engage in any of the rounds.
Rigondeaux’s movement, on the other hand, kept Casimero on the move, as the latter swung and missed a lot in this bout. Rigondeaux’s counterpunches caused Casimero to reconsider pressing the action any further, resulting in an even worse action performance.
The Casimero’s explosive power was never uncorked, other from possibly startling Rigondeaux with a short right hand and having a knockdown waved off by the ref as a slip in the first round. Rigondeaux snatched Casimero’s head back a couple times with counterpunches, but he never sought to capitalize on the opportunities.
Casimero’s next target is fellow Filipino champ Nonito Donaire Jr. or Japanese champ Naoya Inoue.