Romero Duno and Reymart Gaballo
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Pinoy bombers ready for title
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sanman boxing stable owner J. C. Mananquil declared the other day that interim WBA bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo and lightweight contender Romero Duno are ready for title cracks with their opportunity coming within the year if the stars are aligned.

Last week, Gaballo and Duno were impressive in disposing of their opponents at the Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay City. Gaballo, 22, floored Japan’s Yuya Nakamura twice in the first round then dropped him once more in the second before referee Vio Garcia waved it off at the 1:44 mark. On the same card, Duno did the same thing in halting India’s Kuldeep Dhanda at 1:19 of the second round with referee Ferdie Estrella stepping in.

Gaballo is ranked No. 1 by the WBA and by virtue of his rating, should be next in line as mandatory challenger. The problem is both “super” WBA titlist Nonito Donaire, Jr. and “regular” WBA ruler Naoya Inoue are committed to take on different challengers in the World Boxing Super Series. Donaire will face IBO counterpart Zolani Tete of South Africa at a still undetermined time and place while Inoue will battle IBF king Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico in Glasgow on May 18. Gaballo has to wait his turn.

“We’ll try and push for Inoue or Donaire but if they’re busy in the Boxing Super Series, we’ll find another way and stay active,” said Mananquil whose stable is based in General Santos City. “We discovered Gaballo in the weekly amateur tournament in GenSan. He’s a hard worker with a lot of power. Beyond his power, he developed his boxing skills. Gaballo is like a young Erik Morales, a guy who loves to fight and isn’t afraid to exchange punches.”

Gaballo, known as the Assassin, has a 21-0 record, with 18 KOs. Three of his wins came overseas. He stopped Ulises Rivero in Mexico, Ernesto Guerrero in Honolulu and outpointed Stephon Young in Los Angeles. Only Young, Rodel Garde and Paulo Perono have gone the distance with the hard-hitting Polomolok slugger.

Mananquil said Gaballo trained for a year with Cuban Moro Fernandez in Miami and will most likely return to the Florida camp where stablemate Mark Bernaldez is now preparing for a fight next month. Gaballo is co-promoted by Sanman and the Heavyweight Factory in Miami. IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas once sparred with Gaballo and said the 5-6 bomber is the hardest puncher he’s ever faced.

“I believe Gaballo will get a world title crack this year,” said Mananquil. “I also believe Duno is ready for a world title shot.” Duno, however, has to crash the top 10 rankings before earning his crack. Duno, 23, fights in the lightweight division were the champions are Vasily Lomachenko (WBA/WBO), Mikey Garcia (WBC) and Richard Commey (IBF).

“Both Gaballo and Duno are ready,” said Mananquil. “If Gaballo is like Morales, Duno is like Gennady Golovkin. I see similarities. Duno is co-promoted by Golden Boy so Oscar de la Hoya is taking care of him. (Former WBC lightflyweight champion) Rodel (Mayol) trains Duno in Los Angeles but for the fight against Dhanda, Rodel couldn’t fly over and James Bubuli worked his corner instead. Dondon Jimenea worked Gaballo’s corner against Nakamura.”

Mananquil said Duno, who has won five fights in the US, will be back in Los Angeles next month to continue training with Mayol. A bout in May is in the works in the US. “Duno was introduced by my boxer Engelbert Moralde to me,” said Mananquil. “He’s a late bloomer. At first, he was just a guy with power then after several years, he became a complete package through hard work.”

Duno’s record is 19-1, with 15 KOs. The 5-7 Cotabato City KO artist has lost only to Russia’s Mikhail Alexeev via a unanimous eight-round decision in Ekaterinburg in 2016. After the defeat to Alexeev, Duno won 10 in a row, seven inside the distance. Others in Manaquil’s stable include Jade Bornea, Mike Plania, Jayson Mama, Randy Petalcorin and Ben Mananquil.

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