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Ormoc City mayor Richard Gomez sets condition on John Riel Casimero’s return

By Nick Giongco

Ormoc City mayor Richard Gomez will not prevent world boxing champion John Riel Casimero from returning provided that the fighter follows strict quarantine procedures.

WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero sets up camp in Miami, Florida, for his April 25 unification clash with Naoya Inoue of Japan.

WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero

Casimero, who hails from Ormoc City, is mulling a return to the Philippines and be reunited with his family owing to the inability of Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank to book him a fight in the US.

Since March, Casimero has been training in Las Vegas with the help of his brother Jayson. Also staying with him in a rented Las Vegas house are trainers Ting Ariosa and Nonoy Neri, a member of Manny Pacquiao’s training team.

“If he can secure his documents to return to Ormoc then by all means he can come home. Once he gets here he will have to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine at our COVID facility,” said Gomez in a text message Friday night.

Ormoc used to be COVID-free but the influx of people from Metro Manila has suddenly seen a surge in cases prompting Gomez to enforce tight safety measures to curb the spread of the virus in Leyte’s second largest city.

Casimero, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight titlist, arrived in America in the second week of July, setting up camp first in Miami before heading to La Vegas.

He was supposed to battle Japanese Naoya Inoue in a three-belt showdown last April 26 at Mandalay Bay but Arum had to cancel the event as the world came to grips with the coronavirus outbreak.

Inoue remains in Japan and could not travel yet to the US given the ongoing travel ban.

Casimero told the Manila Bulletin that he is longing to be with his loved ones but insists that he will still be training while observing safety protocols.

“Babalik na lang ako dito pag meron na confirmed date ng laban,” said Casimero, who knocked out Zolani Tete of South Africa late last year to win the WBO 118-lb crown in Birmingham, England.

Sean Gibbons, who runs Casimero’s affairs, and conditioning coach Memo Heredia, are telling the hard-hitting boxer to be patient.

But until Arum comes up with a definite date, Casimero won’t hesitate to find a way to fly back to Manila.

Besides, Neri already got a confirmed booking and should be seen at Manila airport very soon.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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