By CARLO ANOLIN
The Philippines has lost another world boxing champion after John Riel Casimero was stripped of his bantamweight title.
In an eight-page resolution, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) World Championship Committee came up with four specific conclusions after investigating Casimero’s case.
Led by Luis Batista Salas, the WBO on May 3 unanimously recommended to the Executive Committee to strip Casimero’s title for failure to comply with the conditions set forth in its “Resolution” while the Executive Committee has unanimously voted in favor of adopting the World Championship’s Committee’s recommendation which officially declares 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 recommended 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 was firm in the decision mostly based on Casimero being unable to contend for a mandatory title defense since bagging the bantamweight belt against Zolani Tete last November 2019.
It was only in September 2021 when the WBO had ordered the Ormoc City native boxer for a mandatory title defense despite knowing it was already past due.
The WBO’s order paved the way for the supposed Casimero-Butler bout but the Filipino boxer had to overcome a lot of issues before dealing with the match.
The title bout was initially postponed after Casimero suffered from viral gastritis last December 2021 but the world governing body retained his champion status after his team provided enough evidence to the World Championship Committee.
Casimero also allegedly faced a certain complaint of “acts of lasciviousness” from a minor in Taguig City when multiple media outlets reported it last Feb. The April 22 bout was still allowed after the World Championship Committee reviewed Casimero’s arguments and examined the submitted evidence.
Casimero presented his response on March 4 and denied any sexual misconduct but he found himself in hot water anew, literally and figuratively, 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 as a means 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” as the former Filipino champion “has attempted rapid weight loss” when reports stated that he attended a hospital “due to related effects of rapid weight loss.”
Team Casimero argued that they lack 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.