Now the rematch in the Philippines will be very exciting.
SAN DIEGO, Feb 11, 2012 – Outraged Argentine boxing fans erupted in violence Friday night, rioting to express their anger at the loss of former world champion and hometown favorite Luis Lazarte to young Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero at the packed Once Unidos auditorium in Mar de Plata, a seaside resort just south of Buenos Aires.
The melee was broadcast live on Argentine television channel C5N and is now posted to You Tube. Video of the incident is quickly becoming a social media phenomenon.
The fight itself was messy. At age 41, Lazarte is past his prime, and the 21-year-old up and coming Casimero (who turns 22 Monday) dominated the fight, sending Lazarte to the canvas twice in the ninth round. Lazarte committed numerous fouls including biting Casimero in the neck in the sixth round, and kicking Casimero at one point.
Shortly after American referee Eddie Claudio stopped the light-flyweight fight in the 10th round, the angry crowd turned into a mob, and began throwing plastic water bottles into the ring, followed by more than a dozen of the auditorium’s plastic chairs.
American referee Eddie Claudio did his best to get everyone out of the ring safely and restore order. Courtesy C5N Argentina.
The video shows Casimero, his manager Sammy ‘Don King” Gello-ani and trainer Pingping Teropa scrambling to get out their boxer out of harm’s way and out of the ring. Casimero appears a little confused at first, then alarmed by the fracas. Light flyweights fight at 108 pounds, but even if they were heavyweights they couldn’t face down an enraged mob, especially not after going ten hard rounds.
As referee Claudio, the fighters and their teams scrambled for cover, several fans jumped into the ring. An individual a green jacket with white lettering on the back begins chasing Casimero and his corner men, attempting to land his own punches. He was eventually secured by police and arrested.
Police eventually arrested a fan who jumped into the ring and tried to attack Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero. Courtesy C5N Argentina.
In an interview with Philboxing.com, Gello-ani was quoted as saying “Some of them (the fans) climbed into the ring and started hitting and kicking members of Casimero’s team. We decided to go nearer the police officers around the ring but people kept throwing anything even hitting the police injuring some of them.”
Gello-ani said he “lost sight of Casimero.” Referee Claudio took the fighter down the ring where he remained hidden until the police cleared the auditorium and the riot was over. Police then escorted Team Casimero to their dressing room and stood guard.
Argentinian police had their hands full with an auditorium full of angry boxing fans Friday night after their boxer lost. Courtesy C5N Argentina.
Gello-ani’s wife Cora told Filipino news website The Freeman that her husband, Casimero and Tepora needed police escorts out of the arena to make it safely back to their hotel, and sustained only minor injuries. Gello-ani reported he was hit on the back with a chair; Sean Gibbon of Top Rank and trainer Tepora both were punched by fans.
Gello-ani told Philboxing.com that Lazarte came to Casimero’s dressing room and apologized to him for what happened. He said the apology was “politely accepted” and that he gave his uniform jacket to the Argentinian for his eldest son Diego “who had asked me during the weigh in for a souvenir.”
The police escorted Casimero and his team to the hotel and stood guard until morning to make sure that they were safe. Argentinian promoters have also apologized to the Casimero team and to IBF officials for the melee.
Casimero improved his record to 16-2 with 10 KOs, while Lazarte fell to 49-11-2 (18 KOs).