Charlie Edwards 8-0(3KO’s) will not eclipse Paul Weir’s world title triumph in just his 6th pro outing, a British record, but he will become the quickest ever English world champion if he is victorious this Saturday night – Weir was Scottish.
In order to do so, he must navigate his way through his toughest opponent to date – by a long way – in Philippines’ John Riel Casimero 22-3(14KO’s).
The IBF Flyweight world champion makes his maiden defence after avenging a 2015 loss to the previously unbeaten Amnat Ruenroeng (W KO 4).
Casimero is now a two-weight world champion, having bounced back from defeats to Ramon Garcia Hirales (L SD 12) and Moruti Mthalane (L TKO 5) to win the IBF Light Flyweight title and make three successful defences.
Casimero will be no stranger to hostile environments either. He has fought all over the world, including Nicaragua, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and Argentina.
Edwards is extremely fast of both hand and foot, and came into the professional ranks with a glowing reputation in the unpaid code.
Wins over Louis Norman, Phil Smith and Luke Wilton highlighted that there wouldn’t be much to challenge him at British level, but this leap of faith may just have come a little too soon.
Edwards has been the 10 round distance twice, but against a fighter with the experience of Casimero, he can expect to find it extremely tough in the latter stages of the fight.
But for all Casimero’s world title experience, he is very far from being the finished article. The stoppage loss to Mthalane came under very unusual circumstances.
Casimero was certainly having his moments in the contest before he suddenly motioned to the referee that he could no longer continue.
The champion enjoys a high pace and seems to box a lot better on the front foot. He keeps his lead left very low while his right hand consistently deviates from his chin when he lets his left hand go.
Edwards will want to take charge of the centre of the ring. If he allows John Riel to push him backwards then ultimately a first defeat will be inevitable, with Casimero able to tee off with his heavier artillery.
(Edwards’ last fight against Jose Aguilar – Credit: NocautNet YouTube)
However, the feeling is that Edwards will assert his size advantage early on, making it a frustrating and uncomfortable night for the visiting champion.
As the belt holder, Casimero will not roll over, firing back strong in the second half of the fight.
Good foot movement and a prodding jab over the low left of Casimero can be the key to Edwards holding off the late assault.
After a scrappy, and sometimes ugly, 12 rounds, Edwards can emerge victorious, crowning Great Britain with another world champion.
Also on the bill Martin J. Ward 14-0-2(7KO’s) will look to win the vacant British Super Featherweight title after notching himself a decent ranking with the WBC governing body.
The hard-hitting Andy Townend 16-3(11KO’s) is his opponent in what could become a very interesting encounter.
On the face of it, Ward should come through with a comfortable unanimous decision victory, but with his struggles a few years ago against Max Hughes, this may be a tougher than expected fight for ‘Wardy’.
Still, while Townend will make a good go of it in the first half of the fight, he may well be running on empty as we enter the championship rounds.
Townend is resilient enough to hear the final bell, but will come up short despite his good start.
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