THE World Boxing Council (WBC) has ordered mandatory world title fights that include three Filipino warriors.
The WBC, headed by its president Mauricio Sulaiman, mandated Mark Magsayo to face WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. and WBC bantamweight king Nonito Donaire Jr. to fight interim WBC bantamweight title holder Reymart Gaballo in an all-Filipino world title fight.
Because a mandatory fight has already been ordered, the champions must either defend their belts or force them to vacate them.
The WBC No. 3 ranked featherweight Magsayo just recently proved that he deserves a title shot after an impressive win over former world champion Julio Ceja on Aug. 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite being dropped in the fifth round, Magsayo displayed a ton of heart, weathered the storm, and knocked out Ceja in the 10th round.
Russell Jr. is the long-time WBC featherweight and has held the belt since 2015. He, however, has not fought for over a year since a successful title defense against Tugstsogt Nyambayar in 2020.
The 26-year-old Magsayo is 23-0 with 16 knockouts, while Russell is 31-1 with 18 knockouts.
On the other hand, Donaire Jr. won the WBC bantamweight belt with a fourth round knockout of Nordine Oubaali on May 29, 2021 in Carson, California.
The 38-year-old Donaire Jr. was supposed to unify his belt against World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero in August. But the fight didn’t come to fruition after Donaire Jr. pulled out of the fight because Casimero apparently failed to comply with his demand for a Vada (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) testing he required for the fight.
Donaire Jr. is currently in a word war with Casimero on social media.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Gaballo won the interim version of the WBC bantamweight belt after a split decision win over ex-world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2020. The WBC ordered a rematch, but Rodriguez decided to fight Gary Antonio Russell for the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight belt that ended in a no contest in August.
Donaire Jr. is 41-6 with 27 knockouts, while Gaballo is 24-0 with 20 knockouts.