REYMART Gaballo proved that he can hang with the elite bantamweights after walking away with a split decision over former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez on Dec. 20, 2020 (PH time) to win the interim World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight belt at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
It was a fight of two different styles with Gaballo being the aggresor and Rodriguez fighting a more defensive and technical fight.
Gaballo moved forward and was always on the offense. Rodriguez boxed beautifully and was effective with his counter punches but Gaballo was never in trouble aside from being outbalanced from a counter in the third round.
Judges John McKaie and Don Trella scored it 115-113 and 116-112, respectively, for the 24-year-Gaballo, while judge David Sutherland scored it with a lopsided 118-110 scoreline in favor of the 28-year-old Rodriguez.
Gaballo remained unbeaten with 20-0 with 20 knockouts and will have the right to challenge WBC banatanweight king Nordine Oubaali.
Rodriguez dropped to 19-2 with 12 knockouts and lost his second straight fight after losing his previous fight to Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue.
Rodriguez was still considered one of the best in the 118-pound division and was ranked No. 4 in The Ring Magazine rankings behind No. 3 Johnriel Casimero, No. 2 Oubaali, No. 1 ranked Nonito Donaire Jr. and The Ring bantamweight champion Inoue.
Gaballo, ranked No. 1 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), was supposed to fight Jose Velasquez in an interim WBA bantamweight bout on the same card. But after Donaire Jr. tested positive a few weeks before his fight with Rodriguez, Gaballo was elevated to the main event as Donaire Jr.’s replacement.
Rodriguez was also a replacement after he stepped in for Oubaali, who was originally slated to face Donaire Jr. but was forced to back out after also testing positive for Covid-19. (EKA)