Reymart Gaballo vs. Juan Carlos Payano in the works for this summer
Filipino bantamweight contender Reymart Gaballo will get his first significant test in his next fight, as a matchup with former WBA bantamweight titleholder Juan Carlos Payano is in the works.
No date or venue have yet been worked out, MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons tells The Ring, but the fight is expected to take place this summer when Premier Boxing Champions resumes operations after a shutdown of several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaballo (23-0, 20 knockouts) has shown plenty of punching power in his brief career, scoring stoppages in 15 of his last 16 bouts. The 23-year-old from General Santos City hasn’t faced anyone as experienced as Payano (21-3, 9 KOs), a 36-year-old from the Dominican Republic who is now based in Miami. Payano won his belt in 2015, upsetting Rau’shee Warren by split decision before losing it in the rematch.
His two biggest fights of recent years have been knockout losses to Naoya Inoue and Luis Nery. The southpaw has a win over Gaballo’s stablemate Mike Plania in 2018, on the same card that Gaballo defeated Stephon Young.
“This will be a good fight for both of us. I will do everything I can to win the fight,” said Gaballo, who is also based in Miami. “I know he is a veteran but I’ll do my best to win the fight.”
The Payano had originally been targeted for the undercard of the Nordine Oubaali-Nonito Donaire WBC bantamweight title fight in May, but when the pandemic brought boxing events to a halt, Gaballo was stuck at his training base with coach Osmiri “Moro” Fernandez and his stablemates, which includes Plania and Mark Bernaldez.
“We did training every day because coach Moro looks out for us,” said Gaballo. “It’s a bit hard but not that much. We are far from our families but it’s ok because we can talk over the phone.”
Jim Claude Manangquil, whose Sanman Promotions outfit has handled Gaballo since he walked into their gym at age 14, says this will be “Gaballo’s toughest opponent but I’m very confident that Reymart will win.”
Gibbons, who handles virtually all of the top Filipino fighters today in some capacity, is also confident in Gaballo’s abilities.
“That is the Philippines’ next superstar,” said Gibbons, who describes Gaballo as “good looking, charismatic and can punch” with an “exciting style.”
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].