Nonito Donaire remains a model of consistency at bantamweight.
The four-division champion and future Hall of Famer is set for the first defense of his WBC bantamweight title reign, as Donaire faces countryman Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 20KOs). Both boxers made weight for the all-Filipino title fight, which headlines a live Showtime tripleheader Saturday evening from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Donaire (41-6, 27KOs) checked in at 117.2 pounds, in line with his weight for each of his previous four bouts since returning to bantamweight in 2018. Gaballo weighed 117 pounds in his first shot at a full title.
The bout is also the first for Gaballo—a 25-year-old from General Santos City, Philippines—since a disputed 12-round decision win over former bantamweight titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez to win an interim belt last December 19 in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Donaire entered his third bantamweight title reign in his last bout following a stunning fourth-round knockout of previously unbeaten titlist Nordine Oubaali. The WBC title-winning effort took place in this very venue this past May 29. Donaire has previously enjoyed title reigns at flyweight, junior featherweight and featherweight.
The co-feature pits unbeaten welterweights Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (18-0, 10KOs) and Cody Crowley in a pivotal ten-round contest. Uzbekistan’s Abdukakhorov weighed 146.2 pounds, slightly heavier thanCanada’s Crowley (19-0, 9KOs) who was a slim and fit 145.6 pounds.
Abdukakhorov is the number-one contender in the IBF welterweight rankings and has aggressively pursued a showdown with IBF/WBC titlist Errol Spence (27-0, 21KOs)
In the first live bout of the evening, rising junior welterweight prospect Brandun Lee faces Juan Heraldez in a scheduled ten-round affair at a contracted limit of 142 pounds.
Lee (23-0, 21KOs)—the streaking 22-year-old from La Quinta, California—weighed a rock solid 140 pounds, while Heraldez (16-1-1, 10KOs) was 144 pounds for his first fight since a third-round knockout loss to former junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis last Halloween at Alamodome in San Antonio. The North Las Vegas-based boxer will have two hours to lose two pounds to comply with the contractual terms of the bout.
Lee has stopped each of his last 14 opponents, none lasting more than three rounds over that stretch.
The live-televised tripleheader is preceded by an exclusive rebroadcast of Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis’ 12-round, unanimous decision win over Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15KOs) atop the December 5 Showtime Pay-Per-View event. Davis (26-0, 24KOs) successfully defended his WBA “World” lightweight title in the main event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox