WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) was powerless to fend off the devastating attack from the Filipino hurricane John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs), who made quick work of him knocking him down 3 times in the process of scoring a 3rd round knockout on Saturday night in front of a crowd of shocked boxing fans at the Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, England. The fight was stopped at the 2:14 mark of round 3.
For all intents and purposes, the fight was over with after the 1st knockdown of the third round. Casimero came flying forward, and stunned Tete with a hard right hand to the head. Tete was then defenseless for the follow up right hand that dropped him to his hands and knees. Tete appeared badly hurt. Somehow Tete was able to get up off the canvas by the count of 5, but he was in bad shape.
When the action resumed, Casimero came forward and knocked him down with a left to the head for the second knockdown of the round. This time, Tete was completely out of it. Surprisingly, referee Steve Gray let the fight continue.
It’s unclear why he did, because Tete looked like he didn’t have senses about him. Casimero then unloaded on Tete the ropes. Tete covered up against the ropes while Casimero tagged him at will. The referee stepped in and stopped the fight at that point with Tete still on his feet, but out of it.
The champion Tete never stood a chance in this fight. From the earliest moments of the contest, the Manny Pacquiao promoted Casimero was darting forward like a bullet, and nailing Tete with lead right hands. Tete took the shots well, but he had no answer to the inside game. The shorter 5’4″ Casimero was able to hit the taller 5’9″ at will in close.
What was interesting is how little Tete was able to do when he had Casimero on the outside. He wasn’t able to take advantage of his height, and 10 inch reach advantage the way you would assume. Casimero did an excellent job of leaning away from Tete’s shots to avoid them, and this made it next to impossible for him to land anything cleanly.
Tete, 31, was supposed to win this fight, but he was completely over-matched by the quick feet, and the blazing hand speed of former two division world champion Casimero.
It was a big victory for Casimero, who now is in a position to fight a unification match against Naoya Inoue.
As for Tete, he’s in a tough position right now. He likely won’t have a chance of getting a fight against WBC champion Nordine Oubaali or Inoue. He can probably forget about a rematch against Casimero, because Filipino knockout artist has bigger and better things in front of him in unification matches.