Three positive COVID tests later, the final Showtime boxing telecast of 2020 finds a way to move forward.
The final weigh-in of the year ends on a high note, as all participants made weight for Saturday’s televised tripleheader airing live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.. The makeshift main even pits unbeaten Reymart Gaballo and former bantamweight titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez in a 12-round interim title fight.
Gaballo (23-0, 20KOs)—an unbeaten contender from General Santos City, Philippines—tipped the scale at a fighting fit 117.6 pounds. Manati, Puerto Rico’s Rodriguez (19-1, 12KOs) also weighed 117.6 pounds for his first fight since losing his bantamweight title in a 2nd round stoppage to Naoya Inoue last May in Glasgow, Scotland.
Both sides of the main event stepped up after original entrants—Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire—tested positive for COVID-19. Rodriguez originally replaced Oubaali, while Gaballo stepped in for countryman Donaire who suffered the same fate earlier this month.
The winner will be in line to challenge Oubaali at some point in 2021.
In the evening’s chief support, Philadelphia’s Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis faces his most establised foe to date in South African welterweight Chris van Heerden (28-2-1, 17KOs.
Ennis (26-0, 24KOs) weighed 146.8 pounds as he enters riding a 16-fight knockout streak. Van Heerden—who now lives in the greater Los Angeles area—also weighed 146.8 pounds for his first fight since last August.
Opening the telecast, Gary Antonio Russell (17-0, 12KOs)—younger brother to reigning featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr.—faces former bantamweight titlist Juan Carlos Payano (21-4, 9KOs). Both boxers weighed in right at the 119-pound contracted limit.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12KOs), 117.6 vs. Reymart Gaballo (23-0, 20KOs), 117.6—12 rds., bantamweight
Jaron Ennis (26-0, 24KOs), 146.8 vs. Chris van Heerden (28-2-1, 12KOs) 12 rds., 146.8—12 rds., welterweight
Gary Antonio Russell (17-0, 12KOs), 119 vs. Juan Carlos Payano (21-4, 9KOs), 119—10 rds., bantamweight
Brandun Lee (20-0, 18KOs), 143 vs. Dakota Linger (12-4-2, 8KOs), 142.4—10 rds. junior welterweight
Zsolt Daranyi (15-0, 14KOs), 150.2 vs. Benjamin Whitaker (14-4, 3KOs), 150—8 rds., junior middleweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox