By CARLO ANOLIN
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) approved to reschedule the bantamweight title bout between reigning champion John Riel Casimero and English contender Paul Butler in April.
Casimero’s title defense will take place in Liverpool, England on April 23 after the Filipino champion failed to make weight and was forced to pull out of the initial December bout due to viral gastritis.
“[K]indly note that Casimero has not discharged a mandatory title defense since winning the title against Zolani Tete on Saturday, November 30, 2019, at the Utilita Arena, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom,” said Luis Batista-Salas, chairman of the WBO Championship Committee through a letter as cited by Boxing Scene.
“Thereafter, Casimero had two successful voluntary title defenses against Duke Micah on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, and against Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at the Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California, USA, respectively. Consequently, more than two years have elapsed without a mandatory title defense, and therefore, Casimero must discharge his mandatory defense obligations per WBO Regulations.”
Last December, the WBO issued a resolution declaring that Casimero will retain the belt after meeting certain requirements needed by the sanctioning body.
Casimero’s camp provided medical certificates and records that proved the Filipino’s condition after being admitted to the American Hospital Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The 31-year-old Casimero last saw action with a split decision win against Cuban foe Guillermo Rigondeaux last August to improve at 31-4 record on top of 21 knockouts.
Prior to that, Casimero had defended his title against Ghanaian opponent Duke Micah in September 2020 since capturing the belt in November 2019 over Zolani Tete.