WORLD Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. showed compatriot and challenger Reymart Gaballo on Sunday what it’s like to fight at the world-title level despite his age.

Oozing with confidence and unleashing tremendous body shots, the 39-year-old Donaire blasted the 25-year-old Gaballo with a killer body shot in the left kidney for a fourth-round knockout victory to defend his belt at the Dignity Health Park in Carson City, California, on Sunday.

Donaire, who improved to 42-6 win-loss record with 28 knockouts, bombarded Gaballo with a flurry of punches to the head in the third round and early fourth that allowed the boxer from Sanman Promotions of JC Mananquil to put his guard up that left his body open.

Donaire didn’t let the opportunity go and unleashed the finishing left hook in the fourth round, dropping Gaballo to his knees and forcing referee Ray Corona to make the mandatory count. Gaballo stood but went down again after feeling the pain. The time was two minutes and 59 seconds of the fourth round.

“He [Gaballo] came out differently than I thought he would. He tried to nullify my left hook, but I just had to have no mercy,” said Donaire, noting that his corner composed of his wife Rachel and father Nonito Sr. urged him to “go to the body.”

“I had to set it up by bouncing up and down to open up that shot. He didn’t expect that left hook to the body after I was throwing the right hand in the early rounds.”

Donaire, the oldest 118-pound world champion, said. “I thought he was going to get up because I knew he has a lot of heart, but that was a tremendous punch.”

It was the same signature left hook that Donaire used in dethroning erstwhile WBC champion Nordine Oubaali last May, winning the belt also with a fourth round knockout but with his punch targeting the Frenchman’s head.

Donaire immediately comforted Gaballo, who suffered his first defeat in 25 fights with 20 knockouts, after the bout.

“I just told him after the fight not to be down. Because he’s a great fighter. I had trouble figuring him out and I’m here to help him with anything he needs the rest of his career,” said the four-division champion, who is now gunning for a rematch with unified world champion Naoya Inoue of Japan next year.

The International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association bantamweight champion defeated Donaire in Japan via unanimous decision in November 2019.

Former world champion Marlon Tapales (35-3 with 18 knockouts) scored a second-round knockout win over Japanese Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-3-2 record with 15 knockouts) in their IBF super bantamweight world title eliminator also on Sunday.

At the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, Donnie Nietes and Dominican Republic’s Norbelto Jimenez settled for a split draw in their super flyweight bout after two judges gave each fighter a 96-94 score and the third judge 95-all for the draw.

Nietes kept his World Boxing Organization (WBO) international title though.

Jayson Mama, however, was unfortunate as he lost to reigning champion Sunny Edwards of Great Britain in an IBF flyweight title fight.

WBO bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero, meanwhile, was given a 10-day show cause order by the WBO to explain why he shouldn’t be stripped of his belt. His camp claimed that he suffered from gastritis and was forced to withdraw from his fight with Englishman Paul Butler.

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