A disputed outcome in one of the final fights of 2020 will have a chance for redemption or validation in the new year.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) has ordered an interim bantamweight title fight rematch between Reymart Gaballo and Emmanuel Rodriguez, the Mexico City-headquartered sanctioning body announced on Monday. The two fought on Dec. 19th in a makeshift main event on Showtime, with Gaballo claiming a highly questionable 12-round split decision victory to win the interim title at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Most observers felt Rodriguez—a former IBF bantamweight titlist—had done enough to win the fight. David Sutherland was the lone judge to subscribe to that theory, scoring the contest 118-110 in favor of Puerto Rico’s Rodriguez. His card was overruled by judges Don Trella and John McKaie, both of whom scored the contest 116-112 and 115-113, respectively in favor of Philippines’ Gaballo (24-0, 20KOs).
The decision did not sit will with Rodriguez (19-2, 12KOs), whose legal team officially protested the outcome of the contest. There always stood little chance of the verdict being overturned, although on occasion result in being granted an immediate rematch. Such was the matter in this instance.
“After a formal appeal was received by the WBC a committee of ring officials completed a thorough analysis and review of the match, resulting in the order of free negotiations for an immediate rematch between Gaballo and Rodríguez,” the WBC stated in an announcement on Monday.
The two sides will have 30 days to negotiate terms for the bout to avoid a purse bid hearing.
Meanwhile, the fight it replaced now splits into different directions. The night’s original headliner was due to be a showdown between unbeaten WBC titlist Nordine Oubaali and mandatory challenger, former four-division titlist Nonito Donaire. The oft-delayed fight ultimately endured bad luck with both boxers testing positive for COVID-19.
Oubaali dropped out in November, as he was replaced by Rodriguez. Donaire tested positive with less than two weeks to go before the fight, though disputing the validity of the test result in claiming a false positive.
Nevertheless, Donaire was replaced by Gaballo and will now have to wait at least one fight longer in order to get his shot at a third bantamweight title reign.
“WBC bantamweight champion, Nordine Oubaali, will defend his title in March,” declared the WBC. “…with the winner, to fight mandatory contender Nonito Donaire.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox