NONITO Donaire’s loss is Reymart Gaballo’s gain.
Gaballo takes the place of Donaire and will now vie for the interim World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title against Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico on Dec. 19 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The fight has been confirmed by Sanman Promotions head JC Mananquil to RingTV.
Donaire, 38, stepped aside from fighting for another world crown after testing positive for COVID-19.
The last-minute development opened the door for the biggest break in the boxing career of the 24-year-old Gaballo, a native of Polomolok, Cotabato Del Sur.
Gaballo, who is based in Miami, Florida like the rest of the Sanman boxers, has built a reputation as a knockout artist behind a 23-0 record, including 20 KOs.
But he has yet to be really tested in a big fight, much more against a former world champion like Rodriguez, who once held the International Boxing Federation (IBF) version of the 118-lb. title.
Gaballo last fought in December last year when he scored a sixth-round technical knockout of Chaiwat Buatkrathok. He was originally set to face Jose Velasquez in the Donaire-Rodriguez undercard when the sudden call came in for him to co-headline the main event.
Rodriguez, 28, holds a 19-1 record with 12 KOs. His only career loss came in his last fight following a second-round knockout against unbeaten bantamweight unified champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.
Donaire being replaced by Garballo is just the latest setback to have hit the title promotion under Showtime.
Originally, Donaire was supposed to challenge WBC champion Nordine Oubaali, who was later replaced by Rodriguez after testing positive too, for COVID-19.
Oubaali was named ‘champion in recess’ by the WBC after failing to defend his title, but was supposed to face the winner of the Donaire-Rodriguez bout.
With Donaire dropping out of the scene as well, the WBC decided to make the winner of the Gaballo-Rodriguez fight as the interim champion and the winner either taking on Donaire or Oubaali for the regular championship belt.