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    Donaire and Gaballo maintain mutual respect, but ready to rumble

    Dec 10, 2021
    Nonito Donaire Jr., left, and compatriot Reymart Gaballo fight for the WBC bantamweight title on Sunday.
    Nonito Donaire Jr., left, and compatriot Reymart Gaballo fight for the WBC bantamweight title on Sunday.
    PHOTO: Jhay Otamias

    POWER versus power. Pinoy versus Pinoy.

    Nonito Donaire Jr. and mandatory challenger Reymart Gaballo vowed to put everything on the line when they tangle on Sunday (Manila time) for the WBC bantamweight championship at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

    The two maintained their respect for each other from the onset up to the final presser for the 12-round fight early Friday morning.

    But both are ready to throw caution to the wind once the starting bell sounds in the latest match-up pitting two Filipinos with a world title belt at stake.

    Gentleman's sport

    "This is a gentleman's sport. It gives credibility to a fighter if he can speak with sportsmanship. It's not about talking down to other people. I believe the greater man can look into his opponent's eyes, shake hands with him, and then go for the kill when they're in the ring," said the 39-year-old Donaire.

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    The defending champion considers Gaballo a rising force at 118 lbs, but stressed he's got bigger goals ahead in the horizon.

    Not that Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) is looking past his fellow Filipino.

    "Reymart is really a good fighter but I'm very confident. I have biggger fish to go after following this fight. We're both going to do our best, but victory is the only thing I'm here for," Donaire added.

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    Nonito Donaire Jr. and Reymart Gaballo shake hands during Friday's pre-fight press conference.

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    Gaballo is unbeaten in 24 fights with 20 KOs, and admitted the champion is his idol.

    But the challenger isn't about to be awed by Donaire's legendary status.

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      "Age is just a number. I know that Donaire's movement is still there just like it's always been," he said. "We're not going to rely on my youth as the only thing I need in this fight."

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      Nonito Donaire Jr., left, and compatriot Reymart Gaballo fight for the WBC bantamweight title on Sunday.
      PHOTO: Jhay Otamias
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