Energy was robbed: Tobias

Fillipus Nghitumbwa and John Riel Casimero at the face-off on 11.05.23. Photo contributed

New WBO Global super bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero knows that Fillipus ‘Energy’ Nghitumbwa “beat him” in their slugfest in Manila, Philippines, on Saturday, says Nestor Tobias.

Tobias, Nghitumbwa’s trainer and promoter, claims that apart from dropping his rival with a vicious left hook to the temple early in round six, Casimero (33-4) did little else to justify winning the contest by unanimous decision.

In a post-fight statement yesterday, the MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing Academy said Nghitumbwa was robbed and had Casimero “on the run for most of the 12 rounds”.

He was “dominating” until Casimero caught him with a good shot that sent him down for the first time in his career, according to the Sunshine academy.

Tellingly, Casimero only got a warning for hitting his rival at the back of the head in round 11 but Nghitumbwa had a point deducted for “accidentally” doing the same.

“To everybody’s surprise the referee stopped the fight and shockingly deducted a point which cost him [Nghitumbwa] the fight,” said Sunshine.

Tobias is “still in shock” at the outcome.

“Everybody in the arena, including the Filipinos were shocked that such a thing could happen. Casimero won very few rounds and Energy dominated all the rounds, except round six where he scored a knockdown,” said Tobias.

“The point deduction was shocking and in my view was done to ensure that Energy had no chance of winning. Unfortunately, the referee was from the Philippines, and I am sure that a neutral referee would never have deducted a point seeing that Casimero did the same thing a second ago,” Tobias said.

“We came out here to fight and to win but it was not to be. Everybody that watched the fight knows who the real winner is and the best man lost tonight, which is unfortunate. Casimero knows that he was properly beaten by a much better fighter than him.”

While Nghitumbwa may have lost his belt, but he appears to have earned the Filipino star’s respect.

Ex-world champion Casimero appeared surprised by the Namibian’s ability, and that he survived the knockdown to keep slugging away until the final bell.

“He took all my body shots and shook it off. As early as the first round I thought to myself, ‘he is a durable guy’. I tried to finish him early but did not want to be overconfident because he was prepared for the fight. I was surprised,” Casimero said after the fight.

“A lot of people said that my opponent was going to be an easy fight, but we all saw how good he is and he was really prepared. I did my best and showcased that I can win the fight.”

Tobias’ view of proceedings mirrors that of Filipino outlet GMA News Online, which reported that Casimero “was never able to put his visiting foe in serious trouble” and that “Nghitumbwa managed to dictate the tempo”.

“Nghitumbwa was composed, never allowing the Filipino to build momentum.” The Namibian “was undeterred and landed punches that caught Casimero” as he “stuck to his jab outworking and out landing” his foe throughout.

Nonetheless, all three judges saw the fight for Casimero, scoring 116-110, 116-110, and 114-112.

“I am extremely proud of Energy’s performance against a three-time division champion away from home. What a night of world-class boxing it was and Energy should be proud of himself. He will get even bigger fights now with this performance and he has nothing to be ashamed of,” said Tobias.

He hopes for a favourable outcome on Saturday when leading another of his A-listers, Jeremiah ‘Lowkey’ Nakathila, into battle against American prospect Ray Muratalla in Las Vegas.

The international 10-round lightweight clash is part of the undercard action for the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF showdown between undisputed champion Devin Haney (USA) and challenger Vasiliy Lomachenko (Ukraine).

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