John Riel Casimero made the most of his huge opportunity on American soil Saturday night.
The powerful Filipino knocked down Duke Micah in the second round and stopped him in the third round of their scheduled 12-round fight for Casimero’s WBO bantamweight title. Referee Steve Willis stopped the action at 54 seconds of the third round in the opener of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s six-fight event at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The 29-year-old Micah, the 11th-ranked contender for Casimero’s championship, suffered the first defeat of his seven-year pro career (24-1, 19 KOs).
“In the first round I hit him with a body shot and I heard, ‘Ooh!,’ ” Casimero said. “Then I hit him with a hook and I heard, ‘Oh, sh-t!’ I think maybe first round I would knock him out, but that’s a good boxer. … Duke Micah, all my punches, he eat. But he has a strong chin. I’m surprised because my prediction is one hit maybe, because I’m strong, man.”
Casimero was supposed to face Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), the IBF/WBA bantamweight champion, in a 118-pound title unification fight April 25 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Once it became clear that canceled fight would not be rescheduled anytime soon, Casimero agreed to meet Micah.
Referee Steve Willis warned Micah at the start of the third round that he needed to show him something or he would quickly stop the bout. He took several more power punches from Casimero, which made Willis step between them to stop the action
Micah drilled Casimero with a straight right hand about 40 seconds into the second round. A left hook by Casimero knocked Micah to the canvas just before the halfway point of the second round.
Micah was hurt badly, but he answered Willis’ count. Casimero tried his best to finish off Micah, who somehow managed to survive his onslaught.
Micah went to the canvas again with 37 seconds to go in the second round, but it was the result of a slip, not one of Casimero’s punches. –Boxingscene