by Nick Giongco

Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero crowned himself interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight king Sunday afternoon with a thrilling 12th-round knockout of Mexican heavy-hitter Ricardo Espinoza in Carson, California.

Casimero, 31, swarmed over Espinoza, 21, forcing referee Rudy Barragan to stop the bout after Casimero had floored Espinoza a few seconds earlier.

IMG 2101 640x460 - Casimero is interim WBO bantam champ

John Riel Casimero (right) poses with trainer Rodel Mayol following his KO win over Mexican Ricardo Espinoza yesterday in Carson, CA.

“Experience ang nagdala sa akin sa panalo,” Casimero told the Bulletin. [Experience led me to victory.]

Admitting that Espinoza packed dynamites on both fists, Casimero insisted that while he felt his power, he was nowhere near being hurt.

“Malakas pero kaya ko,” said Casimero, who will be installed as a regular WBO 118-lb titlist if regular champion Zolani Tete decides to vacate. [I can take his punches.]

Tete is under contract to fight in the World Boxing Series, a tournament featuring the world’s bantamweight titleholders.

On April 27 in Louisiana, Tete faces Nonito Donaire.

Casimero, who also reigned as world champion at light-fly (108 lbs) and fly (112 lbs), scored a knockdown in the sixth round.

Before the stoppage, judge Lou Moret had it 105-103 for Casimero while judge Pat Russell had it 105-103 for Espinoza. The third judge, Zachary Young, saw it 104-104.

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