Donaire defies ‘Father Time’

NONITO Donaire Jr. continues to elude Father Time after successfully defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight belt, following a picture-perfect fourth round knockout of fellow Filipino Reymart Gaballo last Dec. 12, 2021 (PH time) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Gaballo had his moments in the fight, landing a solid right uppercut in the opening round, and a counter left hook to the head of Donaire in the second round.

As Gaballo was starting to open up by becoming more aggressive with his punches, Donaire was very patient, waiting for the right moment to go for the kill.

That moment came in the fourth canto as Donaire dropped Gaballo with a crushing left hook to the ribs. The latter attempted to beat the count but went back down, wincing in pain and was counted out by referee Ray Corona in the 2:59 of the fourth round.

In a show of class, Donaire Jr. immediately consoled Gaballo, who was still on his knees on the canvass.

“I told him don’t be down you’re a great fighter,” Donaire Jr. said in the post-fight interview.

Donaire Jr. improved to 42-6 with 28 knockouts, while Gaballo, who came in as the interim champion, suffered his first career defeat and dropped to 24-1 with 20 knockouts.

Donaire Jr.’s next goal is to unify all the belts in the bantamweight division, a feat that he has yet to achieve in his long illustrious career. He hopes to get a rematch with Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue, who holds the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight belts. The other bantamweight champion is Johnriel Casimero, who has the World Boxing Organization (WBO) belt.

“Unified. That’s what we are looking for. To become the unified champion of the world,” said Donaire Jr.

Meanwhile, former world champion Marlon Tapales is one step closer to a world title shot after knocking out Hiroaki Teshigawara in the second round of their International Boxing Federation (IBF) super bantamweight title eliminator.

Tapales dropped Teshigawara twice in the opening round and knocked him down again in the second round, forcing referee Jack Reiss to wave off the bout in the six-second mark of the second round.

The 29-year-old Tapales is now the mandatory challenger of IBF super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

Tapales improved to 35-3 with 18 knockouts, while Teshigawara fell to 22-3-2 with 15 knockouts.