Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. John Riel Casimero
Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, USA 14/8/21
Two-division world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux will face bantamweight world champion John Riel Casimero for his WBO belt on Saturday, August 14 live on SHOWTIME headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will also see rising unbeaten contender Antonio Russell face the toughest test of his career in former world champion Emmanuel Rodríguez as they vie for the WBA Interim Bantamweight Title in the co-main event. Kicking off the telecast, former world champion Rau’shee Warren duels Damien Vázquez in a 10-round bantamweight bout.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
“Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of the most skilled fighters in all of boxing and he will seek to add to his resume against the exciting three-division champion and reigning 118-pound titlist John Riel Casimero,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “These are two fighters who have accomplished a lot in the sport, but each can elevate themselves to new heights with a victory on August 14. In the co-main event, Antonio Russell looks to announce himself as the next Russell brother in line for a world title, against the sturdiest test of his career in Emmanuel Rodríguez. Opening up the night of bantamweight duels, Rau’shee Warren can step closer to regaining a bantamweight championship when he faces Damien Vázquez. These three fights will have huge implications on the future of the bantamweight division, which always provides great action for the fans.”
A longtime champion of the 122-pound division, Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) moved down in weight and captured a WBA bantamweight title against Liborio Solis in February 2020 on SHOWTIME. Since turning professional in 2009 after one of the best amateur careers in history, Rigondeaux has showcased masterful technical skills that made him a unified super bantamweight world champion and perennial member of the pound-for-pound list. A two-time Olympic gold medalist for his native Cuba, Rigondeaux made his name with victories over the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rico Ramos and Joseph Agbeko.
“This is a big fight for me and my team because we have a chance to win that WBO title,” said Rigondeaux. “Fighting on SHOWTIME once again is going to be fun and I’m grateful for the opportunity. Although I’ve been out of the ring for well over a year, I’m still in great shape and have plans to ruin Casimero’s dreams. I know he has a lot of power, but he’s fighting a man with excellent boxing skills and a high ring IQ. I’m going to box circles around Casimero and show him what ‘El Chacal’ is all about. My trainer Ronnie Shields, and I have been working on some new tricks, so don’t be surprised if I knock him out.”
The 32-year-old Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) of Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines will make his second title defense in this August 14 matchup, having successfully defended it for the first time by knocking out Duke Micah in September 2020. Casimero trains in Las Vegas and originally won the title with an impressive third-round stoppage of Zolani Tete in November 2019. The three-division champion had previously captured titles at flyweight and light flyweight in a career that dates back to 2007. This will be his third career fight in the U.S. and his second to take place at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“I am very excited to be back on SHOWTIME and fighting in Southern California where a lot of Filipino fans can come see me fight,” said Casimero. “I look forward to defending my title against Guillermo Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux is known to a lot of Filipino fans for beating my fellow countryman Nonito Donaire . I will show the boxing world how to beat Rigondeaux and send him into retirement once and for all.”
The middle brother between WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne, Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) announced his arrival amongst the bantamweight division contenders with a technical decision over former world champion Juan Carlos Payano in December 2020 on SHOWTIME. The 28-year-old from Capitol Heights, Md. turned pro in 2015 after an impressive amateur career. After four wins in 2019, Russell kicked off 2020 defeating Jesus Martinez in February.
“I’m very excited for this fight on August 14 on SHOWTIME,” said Russell. “I’ve put in the work and I’m always ready to fight, no matter when the call comes. I’m so focused right now. Rodriguez is the only thing on my mind and I’m ready to put on a show.”
The 28-year-old Rodríguez (19-2, 12 KOs) returns to action after dropping a controversial split-decision to Reymart Gaballo last December on SHOWTIME. Fighting out of Manati, Puerto Rico, Rodríguez won the IBF Bantamweight World Title with a unanimous decision victory over Paul Butler in 2018 and successfully defended it against then-unbeaten Jason Moloney. Rodríguez went on to lose the title to unbeaten champion Naoya Inoue in their May 2019 title bout.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring for this fight,” said Rodríguez. “Everyone knows what happened in my last fight against Gaballo. This time, I’m not leaving it up to the judges. I’m going for the knockout and a statement victory.”
Warren (18-3, 4 KOs) bounced back from a close decision loss in a world title fight against then unbeaten former champion Nordine Oubaali in January 2019 by earning decisions over Gilberto Mendoza and Sharone Carter. A southpaw from Cincinnati, Ohio, Warren won the WBA Bantamweight World Championship with a majority decision over Juan Carlos Payano in 2016 and lost the title the next year to Zhanat Zhakiyanov by split-decision. The 34-year-old became the first three-time Olympic boxer from the U.S. when he qualified for consecutive Olympic teams in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
“Vázquez is not the type of fighter that can compete with me,” said Warren. “When they sent me the name, I looked at one of his fights and 10 seconds was all I needed to see. I really want to face Rigondeaux, but I’m going to handle this and I’m going to wait until I get who I want to get. I’ve been sparring with a lot of top amateurs and that’s been keeping me sharp. They throw punches in bunches and they’re keeping me on my toes heading into August 14.”
The 24-year-old southpaw Vázquez (15-2-1, 7 KOs) was born in Thornton, Col. and now fights out of Las Vegas. The younger brother of former two-time champion Israel Vázquez, he most recently lost to super bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa last September after having previously scored a stoppage win over Alejandro Moreno in February of 2020. Vázquez turned pro in 2013 and reeled off 14 consecutive wins to begin his career in the paid ranks.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Vázquez. “I turned pro at sixteen-years-old, so I took a much needed break after the Brandon Figueroa fight. Now I’m back and more ready than ever. I’m back fighting at bantamweight and that’s for sure the best weight for me going forward. I’m ready to show the world what I’m capable of. This is going to be a war. Warren is a world class fighter, but if he thinks this is an easy fight, then he is totally mistaken and I’ll prove it on August 14.”
(by Kristian von Sponneck)
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