Reymart Gaballo of the Philippines scored a stunning split decision win against Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico to claim the interim World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The 24-year old Gaballo, a fighter from Polomolok, South Cotabato, had scores of 115-113 and 116-112 from two judges, while a third judge scored it 118-110 for Rodriguez, who was more aggressive during the fight.

Nevertheless, the win improved Gaballo’s perfect record to 24-0. It was his first triumph since he scored a TKO win against Chaiwat Buatkrathok of Thailand last December 12, 2019.

Gaballo was selected as replacement after compatriot and four-time world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire tested positive for COVID-19 at least a week before the fight.

Aside from the WBC title, Gaballo also holds the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight belt, which he won via Unanimous Decision against Stephon Young of the US.

As for the former champion Rodriguez, it was his second straight loss in 21 fights after losing the International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight belt in a knockout defeat to Japanese Naoya Inoue in May 2019.

Rodriguez was likewise a substitute for France’s Nordine Oubaali, who also tested positive for COVID-19 a month back.

Source: Manila Bulletin (