WBO strips Casimero's bantamweight belt

Published May 4, 2022, 2:09 PM

by Carlo Anolin

The Philippines has lost another boxing champion after John Riel Casimero got stripped of his bantamweight belt as announced by the World Boxing Organization World Championship Committee on May 3, Tuesday.

John Riel Casimero (right) (AFP)

In an eight-page resolution, the WBO World Championship Committee, led by Luis Batista Salas, came up with four specific conclusions after investigating Casimero’s case.

The World Championship Committee has unanimously recommended to the Executive Committee to strip Casimero’s title for failure to comply with the conditions set forth in its “Resolution.”

The Executive Committee acted on the recommendation and declared the WBO bantamweight seat as “Vacant.”

The move has elevated interim champion Paul Butler, who recently defeated Filipino boxer Jonas Sultan, to “full champion status” while Casimero would be rated No. 1 in the WBO bantamweight rankings and “subject to complying with the applicable rating criteria” as endorsed by the World Championship Committee to the Ratings Committee.

“This is a final decision of the WBO Ratings Committee,” a part of the resolution’s decision read. “The affected WBO participant may appeal such determination to the Complaint and Grievance Committee as per Rule 34, which as per Article 3(e) of the WBO Appeals Regulations, must be submitted in writing to the WBO President within fourteen (14) days of this decision as its sole and exclusive remedy.”

The WBO ordered for a supposed Casimero-Butler but was later postponed after Casimero suffered from viral gastritis last December 2021.

The world governing body retained his champion status after his team provided enough evidence to the World Championship Committee.

Casimero was then involved for alleged “acts of lasciviousness” from a minor in Taguig City when last February. The April 22 bout was still allowed after the World Championship Committee reviewed Casimero’s arguments and examined evidences.

The Ormoc City native presented his response on March 4 and denied any sexual misconduct but he found himself in hot water anew after using a sauna days prior to his title defense.

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) has prohibited Casimero from competing after violating the board’s medical guidelines of using saunas to cut weight.

The BBBoC also added that Casimero already participated in two weight checks with its inspectors and “reflected an alarming reduction of Casimero’s weight.” Casimero, per the BBBoC, had reduced 10 pounds in only three days.

The board also took notice that it was not an “isolated event” when reports stated that he went to a hospital “due to related effects of rapid weight loss.”

Team Casimero argued that they lacked the knowledge of the said medical guideline while presenting that the Filipino pugilist once fought in the United Kingdom in 2016 against Charlie Edwards and used a sauna “without incident” as it is a “common practice in boxing” and “can be used safely.”

There was also a certain letter supposedly presented by the BBBoC to notify competitors of the sauna prohibitions but Casimero argued that he did not receive such document.