The projected unification title bout between compatriots-turned bitter rivals John Riehl Casimero and Nonito Donaire Jr. is threatened anew following the recent pronouncement of the World Boxing Council ordering the latter to defend his crown against another Filipino.
Donaire, a four-division champion and current WBC bantamweight king, and World Boxing Organization titlist Casimero, have resumed their word war on social media even as their handlers are negotiating for their showdown.
But the WBC on Tuesday posted on its official Twitter page the list of mandatory fights, including Donaire versus unbeaten interim world champion and fellow Filipino Reymart “Assassin” Gaballo.
Donaire, however, is hoping that his mandatory defense could give way to the unification bout with Casimero.
“Puwede naman siguro ‘yun, depende na lang sa negotiation,” said Donaire in an interview with Powcast Sports. “Ganu’n pa rin ‘yung goal ko na maging undisputed champion na Filipino. Kahit sino diyan, hindi ako aatras.”
Nevertheless, Donaire said he has started preparing for a December fight, whoever he may be pitted against.
“It’s December daw, kung sino man ‘yun, it’s my date. I’m preparing for it,” he added.
Meanwhile, in the same tweet by the WBC, it also announced the mandatory defense by WBC featherweight champ Gary Russell Jr. against Filipino Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo.
Before the WBC tweet came out, Donaire and Casimero exchanged harsh words on social media, with the former claiming that a contract has already been sent to the camp of the latter, urging him to sign the contract.
Donaire also said that his manager Richard Schaefer told him that Casimero “rejected “ the contract. But Casimero’s manager Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions denied the claims.
It is clear though that Casimero and Donaire are both willing to make the fight happen.
Until their live face-to-face interview on Tuesday, Casimero still claimed that he has not received a contract.
If Donaire will have to face Gaballo in the mandatory bout, he will be up against someone 13 years younger, who has an unbeaten record of 24 wins, 20 by knockout.
The 38-year-old Donaire has a record of 41-6 (win-loss) with 27 knockouts.
Gaballo earned the WBC interim world bantamweight title by beating Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico via split decision in Connecticut in December 2020.