CARSON, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 14: Guillermo Rigondeaux (L) fights John Riel Casimero (R) during their WBO Bantamweight title 12 round bout at Dignity Health Sports Park on August 14, 2021 in Carson, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
John Riel Casimero continued his rebuilding phase at junior featherweight, defeating Fillipus Nghitumbwa by unanimous decision on Saturday at Okada Manila Hotel and Casino in Paranaque City, Philippines.
Two judges scored the bout 116-110 while the third had it 114-112, all for Casimero (33-4, 22 knockouts), the former three division champion who was fighting for the first time in his home country since 2019, when he knocked out Cesar Ramirez in ten rounds.
The 34-year-old Casimero of Ormoc City, Philippines scored the fight’s only knockdown in round six as he sent the 27-year-old from Windhoek, Namibia to the canvas with a left hook.
John Riel Casimero 🇵🇭 (33-4) has won a very close fight by points against Fillipus Nghitumbwa 🇳🇦 (12-2) for the WBO Global Super Bantamweight title in Paranaque City, Philippines.
The scores were 114-112 and 2x 116-110. pic.twitter.com/C5wAcNd7aF
— Permante (@PermantexG) May 13, 2023
The loss was the first for Nghitumbwa (12-2, 11 KOs) since his pro debut, and was his first fight outside of Africa as a professional.
Casimero, a former junior flyweight, flyweight and bantamweight titleholder, is hoping to build back to a title opportunity after losing the WBO bantamweight title last year after he was stripped for failing to meet mandatory challenger Paul Butler. Casimero had pulled out of their first scheduled meeting for withdrawing from the bout on fight week after being admitted to the hospital in Dubai with gastritis, and then was denied a license in the United Kingdom by the BBBofC for violating their rules regarding use of a sauna to make weight prior to their rescheduled date.
Casimero has now won two straight since then, including a second round knockout of Ryo Akaho last December in a fight that had originally been ruled a no contest due to a punch to the back of the head that was changed after a review showed it was a legal blow.
The show was promoted by Casimero’s new promoter Masayuki Ito, plus Johnny Elorde Promotions.
In other action, former title challenger Giemel Magramo (28-3, 23 KOs) dropped Phissanu Chimsunthom (47-12-2, 16 KOs) twice to win a sixth round stoppage in a junior bantamweight bout.
Former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (19-2-2, 11 KOs) was held to a split decision draw against unbeaten Filipino Weljon Mindoro (10-0-1, 10 KOs) in a twelve round bout, with one judge scoring it 117-111 for Inoue, 115-113 for Mindoro and 114-114 even.