WELL-KNOWN billiards’ promoter Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, who handled the careers of Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, said IBF flyweight champion John Riel Casimero reminded him of the gallant Dommy Ursua, nicknamed the “Toy Bulldog” and wondered why the Filipino champion doesn’t receive the publicity he richly deserves.
Puyat told the Manila Standard that he watched Casimero’s 10th-round TKO of unbeaten British title challenger Charlie Edwards before some 18,000 fans at the classy O2 Arena in London and noted: “This boy is good and he hits hard.”
But for whatever reason, Casimero doesn’t get the coverage that some other over-hyped fighters, who fail to deliver, receive much greater attention.
He noted that while Ursua was only 4’11” , Casimero was around 5’6”.
Puyat said he was impressed with Casimero’s title defense, which he watched on Sky Sports’ pay-per-view early Sunday morning.
Ursua fought for the world flyweight title twice and lost a 15-round decision to Pascual Perez of Argentina in Manila on December 15, 1958 after earlier suffering an 11th-round TKO at the hands of Raul “Raton” Macias in a world bantamweight title fight of the National Boxing Association on June 15, 1957. Ursua passed away a pauper at the age of 72.
Respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer told Viva Sports/Manila Standard that the 72-year-old Ursua, who was living in abject poverty in Cordova, Cebu, died (May 25, 2008) “completely penniless.” Aldeguer helped raise funds for Ursua’s funeral expenses.
One of Ursua’s most memorable victories was over Ring Magazine’s No.1 ranked Memo Diez, whom he dropped in Rounds 3 and 6 en route to a rousing 10-round decision in Stockton, California on Dec. 11, 1956.
Ursua had more losses than wins and ended up with a record of 26-28 with 20 knockouts, but in his prime, Ursua was one of the more exciting fighters in the world.
Ursua lost his last six fights, including two to Leo Zulueta and in the end hung up his gloves after dropping a 10-round decision to Young Aquino in Cagayan Valley on June 11, 1961.