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John Riel Casimero keeps WBO belt against Guillermo Rigondeaux in slow-paced bout

John Riel Casimero tries to dodge a jab from Guillermo Rigondeaux. Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In a bout that went not as what the crowd at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California wanted, John Riel Casimero remains a world champion.

Casimero successfully defended his World Boxing Organization bantamweight championship after beating Guillermo Rigondeaux on Sunday (Philippine Time).

However, the match would go down as one probably not for the ages for many boxing fans.

Despite an entertaining first round, the bout became more of a running game down the stretch as Rigondeaux, looking to become the oldest reigning bantamweight champ at age 40, tried to play mind games on Casimero.

Casimero thought he got Rigondeaux in Round 1 after the latter went down the canvass, but the referee ruled it as a slip.

From there, the match became slow-paced in terms of the punches landed as Rigondeaux relied mostly on jabs and merely running the floor to frustrate Casimero.

Rigondeaux even poked fun at Casimero right after Round 6 as he struck a jab at him moments after the bell sounded, prompting the referee to go to Rigondeaux's corner to warn him of possible sanctions if there is a repeat of the said antic.

Casimero got some action going in the later rounds, and it turned out to be enough for him to get the better of the split decision.

Daniel Sandoval scored the bout 116-112 for Casimero, while Robert Hoyle had it 117-111 for him as well.

Only Tim Cheatham gave the bout to Rigondeaux, scoring it 115-113.

The match, which saw Casimero moving up to 31-4 and Rigondeaux dropping to 20-2, set a record for the fewest punches landed in total for a match that went the full 12 rounds since CompuBox began counting the strikes in 1985.

Casimero only landed 47 shots, 41 power shots and six jabs, while Rigondeaux scored 44, 28 power punches and 16 jabs, for a total of 91 strikes.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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