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John Riel Casimero KO's Zolani Tete to become official WBO bantamweight champ

John Riel Casimero is now officially the WBO bantamweight champion. Ivan Saldajeno (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--While the Philippine team is now starting to rack up golds for the Southeast Asian Games at home on Sunday, John Riel Casimero struck a big gold in England.

Casimero became the official WBO bantamweight champion after knocking out Zolani Tete in their bout in Birmingham.

Casimero, who came in as the interim champion due to Tete, the erstwhile official champ, resting his injury, rocked the South African with a right uppercut to his temple that knocked him down.

Tete still made the 10 count, but Casimero was already dominating the fight that he could not even stand up on his own following a slip.

Another knockdown followed after a flurry from Casimero capped by a left hook, and although Tete still stood up, Referee Steve Gray had seen enough after another barrage from Casimero and stopped the contest at the 2:10 mark of Round 3.

The three-division world champion scored his 20th career knockout and moved up to 29-4 in his career. He is now setting his sights on possibly a unification bout against IBF and WBA champ Naoya Inoue.

Tete, on the other hand, fell to 28-4.

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