John Riel Casimero To Defend Interim WBO Bantamweight Title In August

While WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete is looking to bounce back from an unexpected withdrawal from the World Boxing Super Series, interim titleholder John Riel Casimero already has his next fight set.

After winning the belt back in April, Casimero will return to the ring on August 24 and defend the interim belt against Cesar Ramirez. The fight, promoted by Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions, will take place in Metro Manila, Philippines.

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Casimero has held world titles at both light flyweight and flyweight and looked to become a contender at super flyweight, but plans changed when he lost a 12-round fight against eventual title challenger Jonas Sultan in 2017. After a comeback fight in July 2018, Casimero made the transition to bantamweight where he has won two straight fights but has performed far better than at super flyweight. On the undercard of a PBC event in April, Casimero dropped Ricardo Espinosa in the sixth round en route to a stoppage in the 12th round to win the interim title.

The interim title was made due to this fight originally being planned as a title eliminator because the World Boxing Super Series was thought to have been wrapped up this summer. After it became evident that the tournament will not wrap until the end of the year, Espinoza's team requested the WBO to sanction his fight against Casimero for the interim title rather than have a lengthy wait as the No. 1 contender to the WBO title.

Tete currently holds the full version of the WBO title at 118 pounds and was in the World Boxing Super Series, but an injury days before his semifinal bout against Nonito Donaire forced him to withdraw from the fight. Tete's in-ring return has not been announced.

Ramirez is on a lengthy win streak ever since he lost to a still-developing Ryan Burnett back in 2016. After that 10-round decision loss, Ramirez has gone on to win his next six fights, five of which came inside the distance. The 31-year-old Ramirez, ranked No. 10 by the WBO at 118 pounds, is coming off a dominant 12-round decision win against Cesar Ramirez to win a regional WBC title at super bantamweight on April 12.

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