This weekend we were expecting to watch two Filipino fighters defending their Bantamweight titles. Unfortunately one of those fighters, WBO champion John Riel Casimero, has had to pull out of his scheduled bout with Paul Butler. Thankfully the champion however, WBC champion Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), will be going ahead of his scheduled bout as he faces mandatory challenged Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 20) in a rare all-Filipino world title bout.
Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both men comfortably made the Bantamweight limit. In fact neither even came close to the limit, with Donaire hitting 117.2lbs and Gaballo down at 117lbs, dead on.
For Donaire the bout will be his first since stopping Nordine Oubaali in May to capture the title, and set a record for the oldest man to win a Bantamweight world title. He will bee strongly favoured here, but at the age of 39 he is certainly a fighter coming to the end of his career, and he will need to roll back the clock once again.
As for Gaballo, the bout is a huge step up for him, and aged 25 it might be coming a little too soon for him. He was made to look distinctly average in December 2020, when he narrowly got past Emmanuel Rodriguez, winning the interim title with a Split Decision. Compared to that bout, this one is much, much more dangerous for Gaballo, given Donaire's thunderous power.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be aired on Showtime and WOWOW among other channels.
Related - WBC champion Donaire faces Gaballo in all Filipino world title bout!
Earlier today Misako gym announced the next bout for talented Japanese Super Bantamweight contender Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶], and it's the most significant fight of his career so far. By some margin.
The 31 year old Japanese fighter will be back in the ring on December 11th as he takes on former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (34-3, 17) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, with the bout serving as an IBF world title eliminator.
For Teshigawara the bout is a huge opportunity to make a mark. So far all 26 of his professional bouts have been at Korakuen Hall, and despite being a world ranked fighter he is unknown outside of Asia. He has won his last 10 bouts, and scored notable wins against the likes of Keita Kurihara, Teiru Kinoshita and Shohei Omori, whilst also winning and defending the OPBF Super Bantamweight title.
As for Tapales, the former WBO Bantamweight champion is a long way removed from the fighter who beat Pungluang Sor Singyu in a thrilling 11 round war back in 2016. Following his title win he was stripped ahead of his first defense, as he failed to make weigh, and was stopped in 11 rounds by Ryosuke Iwasa, in what was a very impressive performance from Iwasa. Sadly since his stoppage loss to Iwasa he has fought just once, beaten Eden Sonsona in 2020.
The bout is a must win for both men, and will see the winner moving towards a potential showdown with IBF world champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович]. Given the mentality of the two men, and how willing they'll be to impress, we expect this to be a really interesting fight, and a great chance for Wester fight fans to a finally see what the awkward and enigmatic Teshigawara can do in the ring.
The bout will be one of the main supporting bouts to the all-Filipino Bantamweight world title bout between WBC Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and WBC interim champion Reymart Gaballo.
Yesterday the WBC posted a tweet laying down some of their upcoming Mandatory title fights, and there was two bouts that caught our eye due to the involvement of Asian fighters.
One of those bouts is a Featherweight bout between current WBC world champion Gary Allen Russell Jr (31-1, 18) and unbeaten Filipino Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16), who will be coming in to this out on the back of his tremendous come from behind win over Julio Ceja back in August. For Russell Jr the bout will serve as a continuation of the running joke that he fights once a year, something he's done since winning the title in 2015 against Jhonny Gonzalez.
On paper this should be an easy win for Russell Jr, who has the edge in skills, speed and resume, but he has really been an horrifically disappointing champion, and he hasn't fought since February 2020. His reign will not go down as anything special, despite the fact he's held the title for more than 6 years now!
The other is an all Filipino affair at Bantamweight, as Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27) has been ordered to defend his WBC world title against Interim champion Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 20). Whilst on paper this one does look interesting, and could be seen as a potential passing of the torch fight for Filipino boxing, it's also a massive let down given the talk of Donaire fighting in unification bouts against either John Riel Casimero and Naoya Inoue. In fact if anything this feels like a hugely poor decision from the WBC, even if it is technically the "right" decision.
Donaire had been linked to Inoue and Casimero since winning the WBC title with an upset win, albeit a minor upset win, over the then unbeaten Nordine Oubaali back in May. Gaballo on the other hand won the WBC "interim" title in late 2020 when he took a controversial win over Emmanuel Rodriguez, in a bout that actually saw Gaballo step in for Donaire on short notice. Technically the two men should face off, but it still feels like the bout isn't one that many fans one, and one that will likely be seen an easy win for Donaire, given his power, and the fact he is proven at world level, something Gaballo certainly isn't.
Earlier this month news broke that Nawaphon Por Chokchai (50-1-1, 40) was being eyed as the next challenger for WBC Bantamweight champion Nodine Oubaali (17-0, 12), with a bout pencilled in for March 13th in Paris. Now, however, reports from Thailand are that that bout is almost certainly off, due to the on going Pandemic.
Reportedly the bout was ruled out on Friday due to a number of problems, stemming from Covid19, and France's response to the pandemic, which would have made travel for Nawaphon pretty much impossible, and an issue with the TV channel that were planning to air the bout.
Interestingly the Thai's now report that the plan for Oubaali may be to defend his title against mandatory challenger Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26), in a bout that was scheduled for last December before Oubaali was forced to pull out due to being infected with Covid19. Though as of now no date or venue is being reported for that one.
The entire WBC mess at Bantamweight is a bit of a joke at the moment, and could well take until 2022 to tidy up. Not only due to the mandated bout between Oubaali Vs Donaire bout but also due to their "interim" title situation, with the WBC ordering a rematch between "interim" champion Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 21) and former IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12), who ended up clashing in December with Gaballo taking a hotly debated decision over Rodriguez.
Yesterday Jake Donovan, in an article here on Boxingscene, revealed that Thailand's Nawaphon Por Chokchai (50-1-1, 40) may be set for a world title fight against WBC Bantamweight champion Nodine Oubaali (17-0, 12).
The bout has been scheduled to take place in Paris on March 13th, though there are various stumbling blocks to over-come. Something that isn't new when it comes to this particular title and Oubaali's reign.
Oubaali won the title in 2019, when he beat Rau'shee Warren for the vacant title. That bout that was delayed several times, causing there WBC to create an interim title whilst having a vacant full title, with Takuma Inoue [井上拓真] claiming the interim title in 2018. The titles would then be unified in late 2019, with Oubaali recording his second defense.
A planned eliminator to find Oubaali's mandatory was cancelled when Luis Nery failed to make weight, for a bout with Emanuel Rodriguez, with the WBC then electing to make Nonito Donaire the mandatory challenger, off the back of his loss to Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] in the WBSS final.
A bout between Oubaali and Donaire was set for last year, and then cancelled when Oubaali contracted Covid19. That saw Oubaali being made champion in recess and the WBC agreeing to a Donaire Vs Rodriguez bout for the title. Donaire then tested positive for Covid19 himself, in what is seeming a false positive, leading the WBC allowing Rodriguez to face Reymart Gaballo for the "interim" title. Unsurprisigly given the history of this title recently, that ended up with a controversial win, going in favour of Gaballo.
With Gaballo and Rodriguez now ordered to fight again, and Oubaali being given permission for an interim fight, he has seemingly decided to face the Thai veteran, and was previously linked to a bout with Yanga Sigqibo.
Of course the world we live in right now isn't what we lived in 2019 and there are still hurdles to get over for this bout to get over the line. These include Nawaphon being able to travel to France in time for the bout. Typically this wouldn't be a problem, but France recently closed their borders to those outside of the European Space, unless you have an "imperative reason", and those within the European space will need a negative PCR test within 72 hours to enter France. It's currently unclear whether Nawaphon would be able to enter France for the bout.
If the bout does go ahead it will be Oubaali's third defense since winning the title in January 2019, and it will be Nawaphon's second shot at a title, previously losing to Juan Hernandez in a WBC Flyweight title bout.
Since his loss Nawaphon has won 14 in a row, including some decent wins against Amnat Ruenroeng, Richard Calveras, Sonny Boy Jaro and Ryan Lumacad, which are pretty much his best career wins. Sadly however a bout with Oubaali would still be a huge step up in class for him.
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