The evergreen Nonito Donaire headlines a card at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California this Saturday night, as he defends his WBC bantamweight title for the first time in a Filipino derby against Reymart Gaballo.
Donaire vs Gaballo will be televised on SHOWTIME in the USA.
Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) is now 39, and has silenced his doubters to further cement what is a wonderful legacy.
A four-weight world champion, ‘The Filipino Flash’ lost in the final of the World Boxing Super Series, but gained much credit in a 2019 fight of the year contender with Naoya Inoue in Japan.
In what was a back-and-forth thriller, Inoue was severely tested before coming through on the cards. That could have been considered Donaire’s swansong, but he upset the odds once more in May this year, when he knocked out the previously unbeaten Nordine Oubaali in four rounds to win the WBC bantamweight crown, having had the Frenchman on the deck twice in the previous round.
He will now need to repel the challenge of a countryman that is 14 years his junior.
Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs) has some decent wins in his homeland and the USA, with a points win over Stephon Young and a stoppage success over Yeison Vargas leading to a WBC interim title shot in his last contest against Emmanuel Rodriguez in December 2020.
The 25-year-old ‘Assassin’ gained a controversial split decision win against the former world champion and now receives his chance at the full title.
Prediction: Donaire is a special talent destined for the Hall of Fame when he retires, but he isn’t done yet. The veteran still has a lot to offer, and I can’t see him letting up here, and he can take a clear points win over Gaballo, by using his vast experience to his advantage.
Abdukakhorov clashes with Crowley
Unbeaten welterweight contenders clash on the undercard, as Kudratillo Abdukakhorov from Uzbekistan takes on Las Vegas-based Canadian, Cody Crowley.
Crowley (19-0, 9 KOs) has been taken some rounds in his last three fights, with them all going the distance of either ten or twelve rounds. His last was a ten round shutout of Jose Torres in September 2020.
Congratulation Kudratillo Abdukakhorov 🇺🇿 on your Debut with my Promotion Company, you will achieve what you dream every night to be a World Champion 🏆@KAbdukakhorov @premierboxing @ShowtimeBoxing pic.twitter.com/113fXqoJ2a
— Sampson Lewkowicz (@SampsonBoxing) March 14, 2021
Abdukakhorov (18-0, 10 KOs), the number one rated contender with the IBF behind champion, Errol Spence Jr also has some rounds under his belt, and a decent October 2019 win over former world champion Luis Collazo, and he was last out in March, retiring Javier Flores after eight rounds.
Prediction: Abdukakhorov should take victory here on the cards.
Lee takes on Heraldez
California’s Brandun Lee (23-0, KO21) is a big punching prospect, on a run of 14 straight early finishes, and the 22-year-old squares off with Juan Heraldez (16-1-1, KO10).
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Lee takes a step up in class here, but Heraldez is winless in his last two fights, first drawing with Argenis Mendez before being stopped by Regis Prograis in three rounds last October.
Prediction: Lee can add to his knockout portfolio with another early win here.
At cruiserweight, Andrew Tabiti returns after two-and-a-half years away from the ring to take on Mitch Williams (16-8-3, KO11) over ten rounds.
Tabiti (17-1, 13 KOs) was knocked out by Yuniel Dorticos in ten in a challenge for the vacant IBF title in 2019, and should have more than enough for Williams, who has lost four of his last five.
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Prediction: Tabiti can shed the rust with a win around halfway.
Former bantamweight world champion, Marlon Tapales (34-3, 17 KOs) takes a twelve round assignment at super bantamweight against Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15 KOs), who fights outside of his native Japan for the first time.
Prediction: Tapales should take a competitive points win.
At welterweight, Custio Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs) may need all ten rounds to beat Cameron Krael (18-19-3, 5 KOs), and at super lightweight, Jesus Silveyra Carrillo (9-6-2, 3 KOs) can also win on points against Miguel Angel Perez Aispuro (12-10-2, 8 KOs), also over ten.
Bryan Roberto Flores Favela (30-2-1, 17 KOs) can win his eight round lightweight contest early against Tyrone Luckey (15-15-4, 11 KOs), and Armenian heavyweight Gurgen Hovhannisyan (1-0, 1 KOs) can halt Nick Jones (9-3, 6 KOs) inside their six round distance.