Boxing: Donaire encourages Gaballo after fight -- 'Don't be down'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2021 03:45 PM

Reymart Gaballo is consoled by Nonito Donaire with referee Ray Corona after a third round knockout loss to Donaire for the WBC World Bantamweight Championship at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 11, 2021 in Carson, California. Harry How, Getty Images/AFP
Reymart Gaballo is consoled by Nonito Donaire with referee Ray Corona after a third round knockout loss to Donaire for the WBC World Bantamweight Championship at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 11, 2021 in Carson, California. Harry How, Getty Images/AFP

Nonito Donaire believes great things are on the horizon for Reymart Gaballo, after "The Filipino Flash" emerged triumphant in their bantamweight clash in Carson, California yesterday.

Donaire handed Gaballo the first loss of his professional career when he knocked out the younger Filipino in the fourth round via a perfectly-placed body shot. The impressive win allowed Donaire to retain his WBC bantamweight title.

Gaballo, who was the mandatory challenger to Donaire's belt, tried to get up before the 10-count was over but had to kneel once more while grimacing in pain. The referee stopped the fight with just a second left in the fourth round.

"I thought he was gonna get up," Donaire admitted afterward. "I know he has a lot of heart."

"But that was a very tremendous punch that landed on him," he added.

Donaire had a quick celebration, briefly climbing the ring ropes to show his appreciation for the crowd. It lasted for just a few moments before Donaire approached Gaballo, who was still down in the middle of the ring. 

According to the 39-year-old fighter, he offered words of encouragement to the younger Filipino.

"I told him, don't be down, you're a great fighter. I was actually having trouble figuring you out, you're a great fighter. Don't never get down," Donaire revealed.

"Whatever I can do to help, I'm right here. I promise you that," he also said of his message to Gaballo.

On Twitter, Donaire said that the 25-year-old Gaballo had earned his respect, calling him "a warrior."

"Thank you for sharing the ring with me," Donaire said. "I am humbled by the way you really brought the fight. I wish to see you as a world champion someday."

"Know if you need me, I'll be there," he added. "You have my respect, and my friendship."

Gaballo entered the bout with a 24-0 win-loss record, the most recent of which was a controversial split decision win over Puerto Rico's Emmanuel Rodríguez in December 2020, which made him the interim WBC bantamweight champion. 

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