World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero and World Boxing Council (WBC) titleholder Nonito Donaire have been circling each other since their initial matchup fell through last August due to disagreements between the two camps.
With the WBC ordering a mandatory title match between Donaire and interim champion Reymart Gaballo, though, it now appears Casimero will have no other choice but to move on himself with the WBO ordering a mandatory title defense against no. 1 contender Paul Butler.
In a letter addressed to Tom Brown of TGB Promotions and Lee Eaton of MTK Global, the WBO stated the two will have 20 days from receipt of the letter to reach an agreement for the mandatory title defense. If the two camps cannot reach an agreement, then a purse bid will be ordered with a minimum of $100,000.
Casimero (31-4-0, 21 knockouts) is coming off a split decision win against Guillermo Rigondeaux. The Filipino slugger is out for a big-time bounce back to get fans talking about him again, as his last win did neither him nor Rigondeaux any favors after they combined to land fewer than 90 punches in the 12-round fight.
Butler (33-2-0, 15 KOs), a 32-year-old boxer from the United Kingdom, is coming off a split decision win of his own against Willibaldo Garcia to pick up the vacant WBO international bantamweight title. His original opponent for that match last June was supposed to be Joseph Agbeko, but the two-time former world champion was not able to make the trip due to visa issues.
A former world title contender, Butler tried to win a bantamweight championship back in 2018 when he went up against Emmanuel Rodriguez. However, he lost via split decision to the Puerto Rican who then went on to defend the World Boxing Association (WBA) title once before losing it to Japan's Naoya Inoue.
The bantamweight division is one of the hottest in boxing right now, and with Donaire and Casimero in line for mandatory title defenses, it leaves the unified WBA and International Boxing Federation (IBF) king Inoue without a dance partner in the upcoming months. Another wrinkle to this developing story might be the entrance of Jerwin Ancajas to the 118-pound division, as the IBF super flyweight champion is considering moving up in weight.