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Reymart Gaballo and Mark Magsayo named mandatory challengers to Nonito Donaire and Gary Russell

Mark Magsayo is now the WBC's mandatory challenger to featherweight champion Gary Russell. AP Photo/John Locher

Two young undefeated Filipino boxers are slated to get cracks at World Boxing Council (WBC) championships as Reymart Gaballo (24-0-0, 20 knockouts) and Mark Magsayo (23-0-0, 16 KOs) are now mandatory challengers to bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (41-6-0, 27 KOs) and featherweight king Gary Russell (31-1-0, 18 KOs), as announced through Twitter Tuesday.

Gaballo currently holds the interim WBC bantamweight title, which he picked up with a controversial split decision against Emmanuel Rodriguez in December 2020. In that match, two judges scored 115-113 and 116-112 for Gaballo while the third judge had it as a lopsided 118-110 for Rodriguez.

A month later, the WBC ordered a rematch. However, Rodriguez instead moved on to a bout opposite Gary Antonio Russell last month which wound up as a no-decision as he suffered a nasty cut off a headbutt in the opening seconds.

Fighting fellow Filipino Donaire will be a huge step up for Gaballo, the 25-year-old from Sanman Promotions. The biggest win of his career thus far was in 2018 when he decisioned erstwhile undefeated Stephon Young for the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight title.

A year later, Donaire knocked out Young with a single left hook. The 38-year-old champion is currently engaged in an online spat with World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero, another compatriot, while also having an eye out for WBA and International Boxing Federation champion Naoya Inoue for a unification bout.

If Donaire doesn't get a chance to fight Casimero or Inoue, then Gaballo is the next man up for the first title defense of the championship he won against Nordine Oubaali last May.

In the featherweight division, the announcement of Magsayo's upcoming title shot was a mere formality as he was engaged in a WBC title eliminator in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas last August. There, he picked up the biggest win of his career with a come-from-behind knockout of Julio Ceja.

Magsayo's target is now Russell, who has been undefeated since dropping a majority decision loss to Vasyl Lomachenko in 2014. The American fighter won the WBC featherweight belt against Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015 and defended it successfully year-by-year from 2016-20.

Russell has not fought since February 2020 when he decisioned Tugstsogt Nyambayar of Mongolia and there have been rumors that he plans to move up in weight. Nonetheless, the Filipino is undeterred at getting his shot whoever the boxer standing opposite him will be.

"The plan is to fight Russell," shared Magsayo, who is training under the watchful eyes of Freddie Roach, with the assistance of Filipino trainer Marvin Somodio. "But if he moves up in weight, it's also okay for me to fight for a vacant title against anyone."