MANILA, Philippines – World super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire promised boxing fans that they will see a different “Filipino Flash” when he takes on South African boxer Jeffrey Mathebula this Saturday in a title unification bout in California.
Donaire, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight champion, will battle Mathebula, who holds the International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt in an effort to unify the two titles.
Donaire, widely recognized as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, is a massive favorite against the South African, but the Filipino star warns that Mathebula is a "tough opponent."
“This is the hardest I’ve trained,” Donaire told Dennis Guillermo of Examiner. “Mathebula is a tough opponent, and I’ve re-dedicated myself in camp.”
“You’ll see a different Filipino Flash this time around,” he promised.
Donaire is in need of a spectacular performance after his recent bouts failed to live up to their promise. Last October, Donaire defeated Argentina’s Omar Narvaez via unanimous decision in what was universally regarded as a dull fight.
In February, he won the vacant WBO super bantamweight title over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., beating the Puerto Rican via split decision. Although he was able to knock down Vazquez in the ninth round, he was unable to put him away for good.
But Donaire told Guillermo that he has been training harder than ever to prepare for Mathebula, especially as the South African holds a significant height and reach advantage against him.
“This is going to be the first fight that I really, truly worked hard. Usually, I’d go two or three times a week,” he admitted.
“This time, I’m there every day. I’m taking this fight seriously and see how I feel, and hopefully I carry it on for the remainder of my career,” Donaire added.
Donaire hopes that he can add Mathebula to his highlight reel, which includes stunning knockout victories over Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel.
A win over Mathebula also bodes well for Donaire’s future plans, which include moving up further in boxing’s weight divisions.
The WBO and IBF super bantamweight championship bout between Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire and Jeffrey Mathebula will be shown on July 8, Sunday at 10 a.m. on ABS-CBN Channel 2.