Last week, The Ring’s Ryan Songalia reported that 23-year-old Filipino puncher Reymart Gaballo “will be in a very meaningful fight” this month. This past Saturday, ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez reported that Gaballo would face former champion Juan Carlos Payano on PBC’s July 18th Showtime event headlined by Luis Nery vs. Aaron Alameda, Today, Sean Gibbons appeared to confirm the news to Steve Kim, saying Gaballo-Payano would happen “soon” and be for a WBA bantamweight title.
As a reminder, the WBA are cretins.
Gaballo (23-0, 20 KO) made his U.S. debut in August, stopping Yeison Vargas in three on the Erislandy Lara-Ramon Alvarez undercard. The only person he’s failed to finish in his last 16 fights is Stephon Young, whom Gaballo still managed to drop in the third round.
The promise definitely looks like it’s there, but Payano (21-3, 9 KO) figures to be a notable step up in competition. Though the Dominican veteran is 1-2 in his last three, those two knockout defeats came against the division’s scariest knockouts artists in Naoya Inoue and the aforementioned Nery, and he lasted longer against “Pantera” than anyone since 2016. Payano boasts notable wins over Anselmo Moreno, Rau’Shee Warren, and Gaballo countryman Mike Plania, whose recent dominance of Joshua Greer makes Payano’s accomplishment even more impressive in hindsight.
Even if the main event doesn’t figure to be competitive, this could be a fun little PBC doubleheader.