No Miami date for Gaballo
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2020 - 12:00am

The boxing schedule is filling up for July and at least 14 countries are staging shows with eight states in the US joining the action. Las Vegas has five dates in the calendar, all at the MGM Grand Garden Conference Center where superbantamweight Mike Plania became the first Filipino to perform in a ring anywhere in the world last June 16 since the pandemic broke out.

Next in line is Plania’s SanMan stablemate Mark (Machete) Bernaldez who faces elongated 6-foot “Prince” Albert Bell in an eight-rounder at a catchweight of 132 pounds in Las Vegas on Thursday. Bernaldez, 26, is a natural superfeatherweight from Butuan City and has been based in Miami training with four other SanMan fighters under Cuban Moro Fernandez since early this year. Bell, 27, is a former US Golden Gloves champion with a record of 16-0, including 5 KOs.

Neither Bernaldez nor Bell is world-rated but a win over the other will be a big boost up the ladder. Bernaldez has logged three fights in the US so far, losing once and is coming off a first round stoppage of Renan Portes in General Santos City last December. His record is 20-3, with 14 KOs including seven in the first round.  Bell isn’t a hard puncher and fights from a distance. He’s a slickster, lean but isn’t mean. Bernaldez is hoping to score an upset like Plania did in shocking Greer. If he’s able to crowd Bell and constrict the Prince’s space, Bernaldez could make things interesting. The idea is to make the ring a phone booth not a dancefloor. Bell likes to dictate tempo with his jab but he’s not a dangerous puncher so Bernaldez shouldn’t find it difficult to bulldoze his way inside without much artillery obstructing his path.

While Bell is the odds-on favorite, SanMan owner J. C. Manangquil said nothing is impossible. “Mark had six weeks’ notice for this fight unlike Plania who had three weeks’ notice,” he said. “He’s in very good shape, having trained with Moro in Miami.”

Three SanMan fighters are listed in a card at the Manual Artime Community Center in Miami on July 24. WBA No. 1 and IBF No. 6 bantamweight Reymart Gaballo is supposed to take on Hungary’s Szilveszter Ajtai. Welterweight Jameson Bacon will make his US debut against a still-to-be-determined opponent and superfeatherweight John Vincent Moralde is penciled to confront Hungary’s David Berna in an eight-rounder. Apparently, the Miami promotion is far from final.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said yesterday Gaballo is definitely not fighting in Miami. There is talk that Gaballo may tangle with former super WBA bantamweight titlist Juan Carlos Payano of the Dominican Republic soon but nothing is confirmed. Payano is the only fighter to defeat Plania. Gaballo, 23, boasts a 23-0 record, with 20 KOs, and is touted to be the next Filipino world champion.

Another Filipino boxer John Dato is set to battle Angel Luna of the Dominican Republic in Sta. Ynez, California, on July 10. The fight was originally scheduled last April but was postponed because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Dato, 27, has a 14-0-1 record, with 9 KOs. The La Union slugger has compiled five KO wins in Mexico and should make short work of Luna who has lost five of his last six outings. Dato migrated to the US when he was seven and is based in Santa Maria, California.

Two Filipinos in Las Vegas are in the queue for fight dates. WBO bantamweight ruler JohnRiel Casimero has been in the US since February and is signed to tackle super WBA and IBF king Naoya Inoue but the triple unification championship fight has been postponed to September or October. Nonito Donaire, who lives in Las Vegas, is also waiting for a final date to challenge WBC bantamweight titleholder Nordine Oubaali.

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