Johnriel Casimero scored a fourth round knockout against Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world flyweight belt on Wednesday at the Diamond Stadium in Beijing, China.
Casimero, 26, floored the 36-year-old Ruenroeng with a solid left uppercut on the belly with 2:10 to go in the fourth round. Referee Tony Weeks stopped the Ormoc City native from causing further damage to the fallen Thai world champion.
It was a sweet revenge for Casimero who lost to Ruenroeng via controversial unanimous decision in a world title match last year in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai fighter received much flak for escaping without any infraction after tackling and taking down Casimero to the mat many times. The bout was officiated then by referee Larry Doggett.
The erstwhile-unbeaten Ruenroeng’s win-loss record fell to 17-1 with five knockouts. The Thai tried to pull off his usual dirty tactics –pulling and tackling Casimero but referee Weeks issued him a warning.
In the next two rounds, Ruenroeng kept his distance from Casimero through counter-punching .
But the Filipino finally caught Ruenroeng in the jaw and forced him toward the ropes. Ruenroeng covered his face but Casimero’s powerful left hit his belly.
Ruenroeng, before his rematch loss to Casimero, successfully defended his title against Kazuto Ioka of Japan, McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico and former Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming of China.
Casimero, a former IBF light flyweight champion before vacating the title two years ago, improved his record to 22 wins against three losses with 14 knockouts.
His trainer Jhun Agrabio announced before the fight that a win by Casimero would most likely result in his ward facing unbeaten World Boxing Council Nicaraguan champion Roman Gonzalez (45-0 record with 38 knockouts) in a unification fight.
Casimero, with the triumph, also joined the list of current Filipino world champions that includes World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes and WBO super bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire Jr.