December 11, 2021–Another First in Philippine Boxing as 4 Pinoys Fight for World Titles
How often do at least two Filipino fighters are given the chance to fight at one specific date for world boxing titles in the same or separate venue or venues?
December 11, 2021, Saturday in the Philippines, therefore is another milestone in the country’s boxing history as on this date, four, yes four Filipino fighters would be vying for world titles in venues separated by 12 hours in time and more than 7000 miles in distance.
In Dubai, major city and capital of very prosperous United Arab Emirates, three Filipinos will headline a boxing promotion featuring two world boxing title fights that promise to thrill and entertain not just the petro dollar rich royalties and the so called high rollers but also thousands of Filipino OFWs mostly toiling in the kingdom’s oil fields.
The Dubai fight promotion put up by Probellum in cooperation with MTK Global will see WBO world bantamweight champion Johnriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero (31-4-0, 21 KOs) defending his title for the third time against UK’s ex IBF titlist Paul Butler (33-2-0,15 KOs) and another Pinoy, Jayson Mama (16-0-0, 9 KOs) attempting to wrest the IBF world flyweight crown from British defending champion Sunny Edwards (16-0-0, 4 KOs) in a virtual UK versus the Philippines boxing extravaganza.
To be held at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai, the promotion will see the Edwards vs Mama fight in the main event with the Casimero vs Butler as primary support.
Mama was supposed to challenge South Africa’s Moruthi Mthalane last year for the IBF crown but Mthalane backed out due to alleged injury and instead defended against Edwards early this year but got defeated on points in a big upset. Mama and Edwards were originally set for September in the UK but was postponed due to injury to Mama who will be fighting for the first time outside his country.
Casimero who has defeated the Cuban great Guillermo Rigondeux his last title defense will be looking for another impressive win in his fight versus Butler to land bigger fights in 2022 preferably one versus unified WBA-IBF titleholder Naoya Inoue. However, he again has to overcome height and reach disadvantage to get to Butler which he had characteristically done in his previous seven fights, the Rigondeaux bout the only one to hear the final bell.
The event will also see the just once beaten four division world champion and ertswhile undefeated WBO super flyweight titlist Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (43-1-5, 23 KOs) who is continuing his comeback against a dangerous Norbelto Jimenez from Dominican Republic.
It will only be Nietes’s second fight in more than two years as he outclassed Colombian Pablo Carillo in his recent outing. Jimenez with a deceiving record of 30 wins-9 losses -5,draws with 16 KOs and nine years younger than Nietes will also be seeing action for the first time since outpointing Nicaragua’s Marvin Solano.
Jimenez had challenged for the WBA title twice before losing to Kohei Kono of Japan in 2014 and UK’s Khalid Yafai in 2019. He had lost just once since 2011 hence Nietes has his work cut out for him.
On the same date, in Carson City, California, USA, regular champion Nonito Donaire meets fellow Filipino and current interim titleholder Reymart Gaballo for the WBC bantamweight championship in yet another All-Filipino world title showdown, officially the third this 2021.
To be held at the Dignity Health Sports Park, a familiar place for Filipinos campaigning in the USA, the fight will mark Donaire’s first defense of the WBC crown he earlier wrested from Frenchman Nordine Oubaali by knockout.
Nonito is on his third tenure as world bantamweight titlist in ten years having won his first in 2011 over Mexico’s Fernando Montiel by spectacular knockout. He now totes an impressive ring record of 41 wins, 27 by KO against six defeats, mostly at higher weights.
Donaire known as “The Filipino Flash” has held multiple world championships in four weight divisions from flyweight to featherweight, including the WBC bantamweight title since May 2021. In addition to being the oldest boxer in history to become a bantamweight world champion, Donaire holds the distinction of being the first three-time champion in that weight class. He has also held world championships across three consecutive decades: the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s, being the sixth boxer to do so after Evander Holyfield, Manny Pacquiao, Bernard Hopkins, Erik Morales and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Meanwhile, Gaballo, 25, nicknamed “Assassin” is undefeated in 24 pro bouts, 20 by knockout. He previously won the WBA interim belt in 2018 by stopping American Stephon Young who was a common foe with Donaire to whom Young also lost by eye popping knockout in 2019. Gaballo later won the vacant WBC interim title by decisioning former IBF titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez last year.
The 39 year old Nonito is heavy favorite to beat the younger Gaballo and retain his crown but Reymart has never been on the floor in all his fights and have shown extraordinary toughness and resilience especially in his bout versus Emanuel Rodriguez who is already veteran in world title fights
The winner of this bout will be fighting either Johnriel Casimero or Naoya Inoue or both in world title unification next year.
Mark this date, December 11, 2021.
(Update: John Riel Casimero was stripped of his WBO bantamweight title after failing to make weight, he was later pulled from the card and no longer fighting due to gastritis)