Argentine promoter guarantees Julaton security

MANILA, Philippines – Argentine promoter Osvaldo Rivero of KO International has assured WBO female superbantamweight champion Ana (Hurricane) Julaton of safe passage before and after her third title defense against undefeated Yesica Patricia (The Lioness) Marcos in a scheduled 10-round bout at the Teatro Griego Juan Pablo Segundo in Mendoza, Argentina, on March 16.

Rivero was the same promoter of the recent Johnriel Casimero-Luis Lazarte fight for the interim IBF lightflyweight crown in Mar del Plata, Argentina, where a riot broke out after New York referee Eddie Claudio declared the Filipino winner by technical knockout in the 10th round. Chairs, water bottles and assorted debris were thrown into the ring as Lazarte’s hometown supporters vented their disappointment on Casimero, business manager Sammy Gello-ani, trainer Christopher Tepura and cornerman Sean Gibbons. A man wearing a green vest with the words “Camioneros-Peronista” on the back entered the ring and assaulted Gello-ani who shielded Casimero from the attack.

All hell broke loose as security forces were caught flat-footed in failing to quell the riot within minutes of the breakout. Casimero hid under the ring for at least 30 minutes while police escorted the hotheads out of the stadium.

Rivero recently sent his assurance to Julaton’s Canadian promoter Allan Tremblay of Orion Sports Management. The promoter said he has staged world title fights for over 25 years and while the Casimero incident was deplorable, he guaranteed security in Mendoza for Julaton and her team. Mendoza is the challenger’s hometown.

“You have my absolute assurance that the stadium where Ana will fight is secure,” said Rivero in an email in Spanish. “All Yesica’s fights have been held before big crowds and there has never been a problem. I don’t see how things will be different in her fight against Ana. I speak from the heart. You may ask Casimero, Gello-ani and Gibbons if I am true to my word. You have my permission to investigate how I conduct my promotions if you think it is necessary.”

Tremblay said in the wake of the recent riot, he is certain that additional precautions will be taken by Rivero to prevent a recurrence. “When I arrive (in Argentina), we can cover off some specifics of our concerns so that Ana can feel comfortable,” Tremblay told Rivero. “This kind of thing has happened in other parts of the world in years past and is not necessarily indicative of the normal behavior patterns of the fans. However, better safe than sorry. You have reassured me and we will be there.”

Tremblay said the WBO has approved only neutral judges for the fight. “Without this in place, we would not have taken this fight,” he said. “It was imperative to level the playing field and give Ana the best possible chance to succeed in what will be the toughest test of her career. Mr. Rivero has been most gracious throughout the negotiation period for which I am appreciative. This is a much-anticipated matchup that will test the skill and endurance of both these world-class competitors.”

Rivero was remorseful in explaining how the riot in the Casimero fight started. “It was unfortunate,” he said. “The whole world saw it (in the Internet and on TV). It was a dark night for boxing, not only for my country but for the world. We provided all the security measures required for the event – police to cover the capacity of the stadium, firemen, paramedics. I assure you the police acted courageously under the circumstances – one policeman suffered a fracture in his arm and another had wounds in his head. The people from the Truckers Union, the sponsor of the fight, protected the Filipinos and the referee. One of them, Gonzalo Basile, a popular Argentine heavyweight boxer, was in the ring trying to defend the visitors. Everyone in my organization, including my son Sebastian and myself, were with the Filipinos in the dressing room and later in the hotel, providing whatever assistance we could give. Those who can attest to what we did are WBO supervisor Anibal Miramontes, Sammy Gello-ani and Sean Gibbons.”


By Joaquin Henson