Well, that was quite a bang. Last night in Birmingham, UK, Filipino warrior John Riel Casimero totally upset defending WBO bantamweight champ Zolani Tete, and the veteran of 12 years in the ring also totally upset Tete’s plans of facing WBA/IBF bantamweight ruler Naoya Inoue in a big unification clash. Riel, who sent Tete tumbling three times to get the stunning stoppage win in the third-round, is now in the position Tete was in prior to last night.
And after celebrating his thrilling win, one that saw him become a three-weight world champion, Riel, 29-4(20) wasted no time calling out “The Monster.”
“Come on, Inoue. 30 year old Riel bellowed. “Zolani Tete is a good fighter, but next fight, Inoue. Come on, Monster!”
Seasoned and experienced as well as being tough – Riel has been stopped just once, this way back in March of 2011, down at flyweight in a failed bid for the IBF title in South Africa, Riel being stopped in five-rounds by Moruti Mthalane (who also stopped Tete, also in five rounds) – the Filipino might just be the guy to give Inoue another great fight. Inoue, considered by all as the best in the world at the weight, gave us a classic in his last fight, the 12-round win over a super-motivated Nonito Donaire. Maybe, as part of his new Top Rank deal, the Japanese star will look to fight Riel.
Winner of his last five, all by KO or stoppage, Riel has also shown he is unafraid to travel to fight; having boxed in the UK, the US, in Mexico and in Panama. Riel has been a fine servant of the game since his 2007 debut and he has earned the big payday a unification fight with “The Monster” would bring him. Yes, Riel would be a pretty stiff underdog if the fight went ahead, but as he showed last night at the expense of Tete, who had previously been stopped just once, Riel is not a fighter to either look past or underestimate. Nobody told Tete.