Donaire takes on Gaballo with eye on bigger fight
Nonito Donaire Jr. is retracing the steps that put him on top of the world about a decade back, and in order to be successful again, he will have to quash the dreams of a fellow Filipino who’s hungry for a shot at stardom himself Saturday night (Sunday morning here).
The 2012 Fighter of the Year has had a topsy turvy ride back to his favorite weight division now occupied by a new superstar in Japanese knockout (KO) artist Naoya Inoue.
Facing the 25-year-old Reymart Gaballo (24-0-0 with 20 KOs) in Carson, California, is deemed as another step for Donaire to have another crack at Inoue, who defeated the Filipino in a bruising showdown in 2019.
Donaire was scheduled to face another Filipino champ, John Riel Casimero, who is also trying to book a megafight with the Japanese. But their deal fell through due to a doping dispute that triggered an ugly back-and-forth in social media between the fighters’ camps.
Now, with Casimero in danger of losing his World Boxing Organization belt after pulling out of his mandatory title defense against Paul Butler, Donaire once again is on top of the list for the highly-anticipated bantamweight unification.
Casimero on Saturday withdrew one day before his fight against Butler, claiming he was sickened by gastritis. But the loud, flashy Casimero, who has had problems with making the weight in the past, was given 10 days to present medical proof.
The 39-year-old Donaire (41-6-0 with 27 KOs) tipped the scales at 117.2 lbs, while Gaballo made 117 lbs., making it all systems go for Donaire’s World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title.
“I think it’s tailor-made for me,” said Donaire of his foe in an interview with badlefthook.com, “because of the fact of that opening, that vantage of his punches. He’s raw. He hasn’t paid for the mistakes that he’s done throughout the years. And with me, he’ll pay for it.”
But Gaballo, who hails from General Santos City and like Donaire is also based in the United States, can’t be taken lightly. His youth, speed and ambition will fuel him against the former four-division champion.
Donaire, with a win, can also set a date with the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and Ring Magazine champ Inoue early next year in Japan.
Donaire hopes to continue resurgence with win over fellow Filipino
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