Donaire given hero’s welcome in Carson City

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 06 2012 04:22 PM | Updated as of Jul 07 2012 12:22 AM

Arum eyes future Donaire fight at MOA Arena

CARSON CITY, California -- It was a hero's welcome for Top 4 pound-for-pound fighter Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr.

Donaire, along with wife Rachel and Top Rank's Bob Arum, paid a courtesy visit with Carson city officials.

“This is the first city in the United States that I have the honor to visit and to be welcomed and I'm honored. I'm truly honored,” said Donaire.

Donaire will be fighting against another champion, South African Jeffrey Mathebula, at the Home Depot Center in Carson this weekend.

US census data show that about 19% of Carson is Filipino making the town just outside of Los Angeles a good place for Arum to showcase the 4-division champion.

“They have a tremendous number of Filipinos living in the area so we took his advice and that’s why we put it here. One thing we made it a point is tickets are not LA's Vegas prices. They're very affordable. Tickets 25, 50 some are 100,” said Arum.

Donaire and Arum received certificates of recognition from the City as well as gifts from the community.

Donaire met with the youth, hoping to inspire them by sharing stories of how he was bullied as a child.

“I'm really touched because growing up I was bullied growing up. I didn't have anything I can rely on and anything that present to my heart so S had to do something and I somehow managed to make it myself with the positive people and that's what you gotta be positive do your best,” he said.

“This is nothing but pure excitement to the Fil-Am community that we are visited by a superstar, super bantamweight champion,” said Lito Santarina, Carson City councilman.

After his visit in the council chambers, Donaire signed autographs for a few dozen fans outside a near by shopping center.

His visit with the Filipino community comes a day after his Spanish interview with sports network's ESPN Spanish language channel, which he relived while in the mayors office.

“ESPN Deportes was really amazing. They had a great cast there, I had fun I didn't understand much of what they were saying but I had a great time. Everybody was looking forward to this fight. It was fun overall. My Spanish needs to be touched up it's something I want to learn in the future,” said Donaire.

On Friday, more Filipino fans are expected to visit as he and Mathubela will weigh in before their title unification bout on Saturday.

After a warm welcome from the local community, Arum hinted the Filipino Flash may soon fight in front of a bigger Filipino crowd. He's considering hosting a fight at the Mall of Asia.

The Donaire-Mathebula fight card will be aired by ABS-CBN Channel 2 on Sunday starting 10 a.m.