Boxing: Gaballo is interim champ after shock decision win over Rodriguez

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2020 12:48 PM | Updated as of Dec 21 2020 04:37 AM

Boxing: Gaballo is interim champ after shock decision win over Rodriguez 1
The Philippines' Reymart Gaballo in action against Puerto Rico's Emmanuel Rodriguez in a bout for the interim WBC bantamweight title. Showtime Boxing.

(UPDATED) Filipino fighter Reymart Gaballo is now the interim WBC bantamweight champion, after claiming a split decision win over Puerto Rico's Emmanuel Rodriguez, Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut (Sunday, Manila time).

It was a controversial result as most observers saw Rodriguez handily winning the fight. But two judges scored the bout for the 24-year-old Gaballo, 115-113 and 116-112. Only David Sutherland scored in favor of Rodriguez, 118-110.

Afterward, Gaballo said his activity gave him the edge against Rodriguez.

"I'm always forward, and I controlled the fight," he said, after improving to 24-0 in his career. "That was close, but for me, I'm so happy because I won the fight. God bless."

Boxing Scene reported that fight stats favored Rodriguez, who threw 372 punches and landed 109, for a 29% success rate. Gaballo threw 520 punches but landed just 93 of them, for a 18% rate.

Steve Angeles of ABS-CBN News reported afterward that Rodriguez planned to appeal the result, as he did not believe Gaballo did enough to merit the victory.

The young Filipino paid little attention to the controversial nature of the decision, however, expressing instead his gratitude for the opportunity to fight for the interim belt. Gaballo was a replacement fighter, having taken the spot of Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire after the former champion tested positive for COVID-19.

"Hindi po talaga ako ang nakasaad dito na laban, si idol po, Nonito Donaire," Gaballo said. "At saka, naging replacement lang po ako. Sobrang saya ko po kasi nabigay sa akin ang opportunity na ito."

"I'm so blessed, nanalo po ako ng ganito, thank you Lord," he added.