Reymart Gaballo vs. Nawaphon Kaikanha title eliminator ordered by WBC

FORMER world champion Reymart Gaballo and Thai Nawaphon Kaikanha were ordered by the World Boxing Council (WBC) to face each other in a bantamweight world title eliminator.

That, however, depends on the decision of WBC bantamweight king Naoya Inoue if he vacates the belt and moves up in weight.

Inoue, who also holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight belts, is scheduled to face World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler on Dec. 13 at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

If Inoue decides to vacate his belts and move up in weight then four-division world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. and two-time world title challenger Jason Moloney will fight for the vacant WBC strap, while Gaballo and Kaikanha will fight for the mandatory challenger position.

However, if Inoue decides to continue fighting at bantamweight, then Donaire Jr. and Moloney will instead fight for the No. 1 contender spot.

If ever Gaballo and Kaikanha will be fighting in a title eliminator, Gaballo’s promoter, Sanman Promotions chief executive officer JC Manangquil, hopes to bring the fight here in the Philippines or bring it to a neutral location.

“It was just ordered by the WBC in the convention in Mexico. We’ll try to do it here, but we’ll see. It might also happen in the US,” Manangquil told SunStar Cebu.

The 26-year-old Gaballo is the former interim WBC bantamweight champion. He won the interim strap after beating Emmanuel Rodriguez by a split decision in Uncasville in 2020. He fought fellow Pinoy Donaire Jr. for the regular WBC belt but was knocked out in four rounds last year in Carson City.

Gaballo bounced back from that defeat with a second-round technical knockout of Ricardo Sueno in Gen. Santos City last Oct. 29.

Kaikanha, on the other hand, fought for the WBC flyweight belt against Juan Hernandez in 2017. He was stopped by Hernandez in three rounds in Bangkok, Thailand.

Kaikanha won his next 20 fights before he was stopped by Moloney by unanimous decision in Australia last Oct. 16.

Gaballo is rated No. 7 by the WBC, while Kaikanha is ranked No. 2.

Gaballo is 25-1 with 21 knockouts, while the 31-year-old Kaikanha is 56-2-1 with 46 knockouts. (EKA)