Title fight causes diplomatic stir

The Philippines file diplomatic protest to Argentinian government after hometown fans attack winning Filipino fighter.

    Casimero and members of his support crew were assaulted when home town fans stormed the ring during his 10th-round knockout of Lazarte [GETTY]

    The Philippines said Wednesday it had lodged a diplomatic protest after rioting fans in Argentina attacked Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero at the end of a bout with a hometown fighter.

    "Our embassy in Buenos Aires filed a protest... over the riot which... placed the safety and well-being of Mr Casimero and his team at great danger," foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

    "The ambassador of Argentina in Manila has (also) been summoned... this afternoon to express our concern about the riot and ask for explanation on the action taken by the Argentine government on the incident."

    Casimero, the world's number-two ranked junior-flyweight, was declared the winner by technical knockout of the non-title bout against Argentine former world champion Luis Alberto Lazarte in the seaside city of Mar del Plata.

    The American referee stopped the bout on Friday last week after the 40-year-old Argentine suffered successive knockdowns in the ninth and 10th rounds.

    Angry fans

    Local television footage of the riot, which has been uploaded on YouTube, showed fans react angrily to the decision by throwing chairs and bottles into the ring.

    Others jumped into the ring and one fan was seen chasing Casimero while trying to throw punches at him.

    However the footage later showed Casimero was apparently unhurt in the fracas, as he stood alone in the ring while waiting for security to quell further rioting in the stands.

    The foreign department said its Buenos Aires mission reported that the rioting lasted more than 10 minutes until local police escorted Casimero and his team to the hotel and gave them police guards for their protection.

    Lazarte and his fight promoter both went to the hotel to personally apologise for the incident, Hernandez said.

    Casimero, who was fighting two days before his 22nd birthday, improved to 15 wins and two losses and no draws.

    Lazarte, who was dethroned as International Boxing Federation world champion by Ulises Solis of Mexico on the same arena last year, fell to 49-10-2.

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