Donaire, Gaballo show respect to each other: Boxing is a gentleman’s sport
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) world bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and interim world champion Reymart Gaballo showed tremendous respect during the presser for their world title duel on December 11 (December 12 Manila Time) in Carson City, California.
Amid the limelight and sheer pressure between the two Filipino ring warriors, they didn’t show any signs of having bad blood. They instead praised each other when answering the media’s questions during the press conference of their bout on Thursday, December 9 (December 10, Manila Time) in California.
Donaire, who mentioned that boxing is a ‘gentleman’s sport’ during the presser, proved it by translating some of Gaballo’s answers when asked by the media.
The 39-year-old Donaire, the oldest world bantamweight champion in history, whispered to Gaballo to speak in Bisaya, and he’ll translate it for him.
Everyone in the audience adored Donaire’s gesture.
It was best remembered that Donaire was forced to cancel his world title unification bout with fellow Filipino Johnriel Casimero in August due to disrespectful comments against him and his family.
This time, he and Gaballo’s attitude towards each other is a complete contrast compared to that of Casimero, who already apologized to him.
“This is a gentleman’s sport. I believe it gives a lot of credibility to a fighter when he can speak to somebody with respect, with sportsmanship. That’s what I want to bring out there to inspire people. It’s not about being on top and talk crap, ” said Donaire.
“But, there are things like that, and it’s okay, but a greater man is the one who can look into his opponent’s eyes and shake hands with them and go for the kill in the ring. In the end, it’s a sport, it’s a game, it’s a career,” he said
“Everybody’s different, they have their own perspective. For me, my perspective is I love the sport of boxing it’s what has given me everything I had, I’m gonna represent it to the best of my ability with respect, honor, and integrity,” Donaire said.
After fighting Inoue in 2019, Donaire revealed that he realized that there’s so much bigger fights waiting for him instead of retiring.
“I think for me after the Inoue fight, a purpose brought me. Before I fought Inoue, I was up and down, kind of floating in fights. But after that fight, I felt like I can do this, I think there’s a new purpose,” he said.
“This is why I came in really strong with Ouballi and being confident today is because I have a purpose. That purpose (of) becoming an undisputed champion of the world,” said Donaire.
On the other hand, the 25-year-old Gaballo, the pride of Sanman Boxing Gym in General Santos City, said that it’s a huge honor for him to fight his childhood idol.
“I’m very excited. It’s an honor to fight my idol in the ring,” said Gaballo.
When asked what improvement he did after his close decision victory against Emmanuel Rodriguez to win the WBC interim title, Gaballo said that he improved his head movements and volume of punches.
For Donaire, facing a fellow Filipino in the ring is a good sign that his countrymen are already at the top of the sport.
He said that Filipinos were becoming better like the Mexicans, and a testament to it was his fight with Gaballo.
“I’m actually, I’m proud there’s a Filipino, like the Mexicans have been doing for years. I’m actually proud that there’s another Filipino at this type of level, at this type of stage sharing the ring with me,” Donaire said.
“I know Reymart is very hungry, he has a big dream. Anybody that comes from the Philippines, we have a dream. I know he will be at his best, so I prepare to be at my best as well,” he said.
Gaballo replied that he’s been training hard in the gym and formulating a game plan against Donaire and how to avoid the latter’s killer left hook.
However, he already knows that his idol won’t just rely on the same punch.
“Everytime we train in the gym, they always use the same punches Nonito throws, I told them that it’s not the only punches Nonito throws,” Gaballo said in Bisaya which Donaire gamely translated.
“Age is just a number, his movement is still there, same as before. I would be very happy if I become the new world champion. That’s been my long time dream,” Gaballo said.
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