Reymart Gaballo has shocked the world.
The 24-year-old pugilist out of General Santos took a split decision stunner over Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez (116-112, 110-118, 115-113) to win the interim WBC World Bantamweight Championship, Sunday morning (Manila time) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Judge David Sutherland had the contest 118-110, while judges Don Trella and John McKaie had it in favor of the Filipino.
Controversial as it may seem from an outsiders’ perspective, the Sanman Promotions standout firmly believes that he controlled the entire 12-round affair.
“I controlled the fight. That was close but I’m so happy that I won the fight,” he said.
Gaballo started strong, trying to outwit Rodriguez in the opening two rounds with his counterpunching.
In round three, Gaballo was able to cut Rodriguez below his left eye. The Puerto Rican then recovered in the next round, connecting with a huge right that stumbled the Filipino.
The middle rounds saw Gaballo turn up his aggression, including a huge left hook in round eight.
The last three rounds were a chess match, with both boxers settling for counters to close out the affair.
Gaballo, who remained unbeaten in 24 bouts, was just grateful for the opportunity to be there.
“Bale hindi po talaga ako ‘yung na nakasaad sa laban na ito, kung hindi si idol Nonito Donaire. Sobrang saya ko po kasi nabigay sa akin ‘yung opportunity na ito,” the young fighter admitted.
Gaballo was a late replacement for Nonito Donaire, who tested positive for COVID-19.
Nordine Oubaali, the undisputed WBC champion, also contracted COVID-19.
Rodriguez suffered his second straight loss, dropping to 19-2.
Fight stats showed that Rodriguez landed 109 of his 372 punches. Gaballo threw 520 but landed just 93.
Gaballo, who previously won the interim WBA crown back in March of 2018, joins Manny Pacquiao, Jerwin Ancajas, Pedro Taduran, and John Riel Casimero as current Filipino world champions.