John Riel Casimero will be inspired by his promoter and friend Manny Pacquiao when he challenges WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete on Saturday night.
The Filipino road warrior challenges brilliant South African Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) on Frank Warren’s spectacular Midlands Mayhem bill at Arena Birmingham on Saturday November 30, live on BT Sport.
Eight-weight champion Pacquiao wanted to stage the brilliant bantamweight battle in the Philippines, but Tete’s promoter Warren won the purse bids.
There is plenty at stake and the winner is likely to book a 2020 unification against World Boxing Super Series victor Naoya Inoue, the IBF and WBA champion.
Pacquiao told his two-weight world champion: “Casimero, good luck champ and just do your very best.”
Interim WBO champion Casimero (28-4, 19 KOs) will be flanked by his adviser and Manny Pacquiao Promotions boss Sean Gibbons when he lands in Britain this weekend.
Gibbons said: “I told the Senator (Pacquiao) that Casimero had a tremendous camp and we want nothing less than a victory.”
During Casimero’s 32 fight career he has boxed in ten countries – Argentina, China, England, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, Thailand, United States and of course his homeland the Philippines.
Casimero travelled to London in September 2016 and stopped Charlie Edwards in the first defence of his IBF flyweight crown he’d taken from Amnat Ruenroeng four months earlier in an upset.
For this fight he has been training in Las Vegas where he has added Memo Heredia a former trainer of Pacquiao’s old rival Juan Manuel Marquez to his team.
Brendan Gibbons, son of Sean Gibbons has looked after the camp there and warned: “Casimero’s on beast mode.”
Casimero, 30, became IBF light-flyweight title holder in 2012 and made three defences before losing it on the scales.
He has lost just twice in eight and a half years since being knocked out by high class South African Moruti Mthalane shortly after his 22nd birthday in March 2011.