MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons updates Danny Flexen on the company’s fighters, including John Riel Casimero and his potential unification with Naoya Inoue
Senator Manny Pacquiao has mastered the art of delegation, both within and outside the Filipino parliament. His intentions are similar in both realms too, seeking to improve the life of his countrymen and women, but to do so – whether securing marquee fight opportunities for his contenders or additional investment in his nation’s public services – the legendary fighter understands the need to employ those skilled in the art of negotiation. In the boxing world, at least, that is where Sean Gibbons comes in. The President of MP Promotions, Manny’s company, aims to take the majority of day-to-day operations off the busy Pacquiao’s shoulders and it appears one of his immediate priorities is confirming a bantamweight unification clash between Super WBA and INF king Naoya Inoue and their WBO king John Riel Casimero.
“The fight everybody wants to see of course is Casimero vs Inoue,” Gibbons enthuses over the telephone from Las Vegas, where the fight would take place on a Top Rank April 25 show. “We also have the IBF No. 1 Michael Dasmarinas and he would get a spot on the undercard, get paid well and get his opportunity after April 25, if Inoue and Casimero can come together. It’s just a matter of paying Casimero correctly. The WBC champ [Nordine Oubaali] is a nice guy but he’s not brash and no one has heard of him. Casimero is one of the liveliest guys you’ve ever seen. I really hope we can come to an agreement with Top Rank on that.”
Gibbons is now back to the grind and looking to the future, but remains on a high from Casimero’s upset victory over Zolani Tete to capture the WBO belt in Birmingham, England in November. The rangy, slick Tete was favoured and while Gibbons believed his charge would ultimately triumph, even he did not foresee the explosive third-round demolition.
“I can absolutely say no, I did not expect that,” Gibbons chuckles. “I thought it would be a win, I thought that as the fight went on, if later he figured Tete out, then stop him somewhere about the 10th round. I knew Tete, how he operates and he fades a little in the second half, but that was just stunning. Casimero was in the zone that night, there was no stopping him.
“The reception in Birmingham was like we were at home. Our guys at Pound 4 Pound Boxing Academy were right behind us. We ate at their house, Casimero couldn’t have felt more comfortable. When he lost to Jonas Sultan [Casimero’s most recent defeat, at 2017] he trained at his house, but with a real camp he’s just a different guy. The condition and mental aspect is all he needs, that’s what Memo Heredia brought to that fight with the strength and conditioning.”
While Casimero is one of the focal points for 2020, MP Promotions are hardly struggling for talent. Gibbons cites a number of his team that he believes will makes strides during the coming year.
“All the guys around 118lbs doing the hottest are in the Philippines. As well as Dasmarinas, we have [WBA No. 4] Reymart Gaballo who is 23-0 and we guide him with our partner Sanman Boxing. He’s really exciting and a big puncher, a good overall fighter.
“Then there’s [super-bantam] Marlon Tapales, we’re looking to bring him back. Against Ryosuke Iwasa in December, he suffered a headbutt in the third and never really recovered, was stopped in the 11th round. We’re looking to help [featherweight] Mark Magsayo also. He had some promotional issues but those have been resolved and we’re hoping if we get the Senator’s fight lined up for April, Mark will be on the undercard.
“One other kid, in the 105lb division, which is not a big weight-class in the UK or US, but Taduran is going to on February 1, defending his belt in Mexico. He’s like a little Manny Pacquiao, a real buzzsaw.”
It appears Filipino boxing will survive and hopefully thrive even after Pacquiao stops competing. That’s in part thanks to Gibbons and Pacquiao’s gift for delegation.