It’s all systems go for major boxing’s bantamweight division.

Bantamweight champions Nonito Donaire of WBC, John Riel Casimero of WBO, and Naoya Inoue of WBA, IBF, and The Ring (PBC / AFP / Top Rank)

WBC champion Nonito Donaire and WBO titlist John Riel Casimero will be returning to the ring against different opponents on the same set date, Dec. 11.

Donaire will defend his belt against compatriot Reymart Gaballo in the main event tripleheader hosted by Showtime while Casimero’s bout against English foe Paul Butler was earlier announced to be held by new promotion Probellum.

Interestingly, the two Filipino champions had a series of heated conversations, misunderstandings, and reconciliation between their camps but ended with different opponents on their comeback fights.

While Donaire will square off Gaballo at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Probellum has yet to decide whether to hold the Casimero-Butler match in Liverpool, England or in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) is fresh from victory after knocking out Nordine Oubaali to capture the WBC title in May while the undefeated Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs) became the mandatory challenger after winning the vacant interim bantamweight crown with a split decision win against Emmanuel Rodriguez last December.

For Casimero, this will be his third straight title defense after scoring a split decision win over Guillermo Rigondeaux in August.

Meanwhile, in an unexpected turn of events, unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue will be headlining a show of his own in Japan for the first time since squaring off with Donaire there — a bout that earned the “Fight of the Year” honors.

It will be held at the famed Olympic venue Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on Dec. 14, three days after Donaire and Casimero’s respective title defense, as the reigning Japanese champion faces off Thai foe Aran Dipaen (12-2, 11 KOs).

Inoue, who owns the super WBA, IBF, and The Ring belts, remains unbeaten in 21 matches with 18 KOs.

READ: Inoue stops Dasmariñas, defends super WBA, IBF bantamweight titles

Despite the early hype and whatnots, boxing fans would have to wait for next year before seeing the three current bantamweight kings clash against each other.

Source: Manila Bulletin (