Gaballo honored to fight Donaire

Gaballo honored to fight Donaire

MANILA, Philippines — Talks are now underway for WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. to stake his crown against interim titlist Reymart Gaballo in a mandatory defense, leaving WBO ruler JohnRiel Casimero out of the equation for the meantime. Donaire lives in Las Vegas while Gaballo has been training in Miami since August so it won’t be a problem arranging the fight somewhere in the US, possibly in December.

Donaire recently called out Casimero to push through with their showdown that was cancelled last Aug. 14 but when the WBC ordered the defense against Gaballo the other day, the Filipino Flash said he’s ready for anyone. “Casimero has apologized for saying all that stuff about Rachel,” said Donaire referring to the social media rants on his wife. “He wants me to send him the contract for a fight but I can’t do that. That’s the promoter’s job, not mine. If Gaballo steps aside for Casimero, that’s fine with me. I’ll fight Casimero or Gaballo, whoever the WBC appoints.”

Gaballo’s manager JC Manangquil said stepping aside isn’t an option. “Reymart’s time is now,” he said. “It’s an honor to fight Donaire. We’ve been hoping for this opportunity. Reymart’s been in Miami for close to two months, getting ready for a fight. Then, this happened. It’s every fighter’s dream to become a world champion. We would’ve preferred to fight a champion who’s not Filipino but that’s boxing. If a Filipino is in the way of Reymart fighting for the world title, he won’t back down.”

Manangquil said Gaballo is one of the most disciplined fighters in his SanMan stable. “He trains every day, he eats right and he never goes over 126 or 128 pounds,” he said. “Making 118 is easy. The fight will probably be in December so Reymart will be more than ready to go.” Gaballo is now in camp with Cuban trainer Osmori Fernandez in Miami.

Manangquil said Gaballo is ripe for a title shot. “He’s at the right age, 25, with a lot of experience fighting abroad,” he said. “The timing is perfect.” Gaballo hasn’t fought since defeating Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez via a split 12-round decision to win the WBC interim belt in Uncasville, Connecticut, in December 2020. His record is 24-0, with 20 KOs. He has won fights in Minnesota, Florida, Mexico and Hawaii.

Donaire, 38, wrested the WBC crown from Nordine Oubaali on a fourth round knockout last May to raise his record to 41-6, with 27 KOs. Donaire and Gaballo have faced only one common opponent, Stephon Young. In 2018, Gaballo decked Young in the third round enroute to scoring a unanimous 12-round verdict in Hollywood, Florida. The next year, Donaire halted Young in six in Lafayette, Louisiana.