Donaire’s circuitous road back as world-title challenger

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2021 08:00 AM | Updated as of Jan 23 2021 10:15 AM

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Just like that France's Nordine Oubaali has been reinstated as the WBC bantamweight champion with the Philippines' very own Nonito Donaire Jr. as his mandatory challenger.

But fight analyst Ed Tolentino said this would not have been possible if it were not for another Filipino boxer: Michael Dasmariñas.

Donaire was supposed to take on the Frenchman back in December 2020, but months before the fight, a host of reasons prevented Oubaali from taking on Donaire.

"Biglang sinabi ni Oubaali kay Donaire ayaw ko munang lumaban. May visa issues ako . . . Then a few days later, sinabi ng adviser niya may COVID-19 pala. So parang Donaire is being eased out," said longtime fight analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino.

Tolentino said it coincided with the victory of Japan's Naoya Inoue over Australia's Jason Moloney in October. He said Inoue — who holds the WBA (Super), IBF and Ring magazine — was interested fighting for the WBC crown.

"Sinabi ni Inoue gusto ko ang WBC dahil mas prestigious . . . Ang anggulo kasi dito, Oubaali, the WBC champion, defeated Takoma Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya. Makikita mo ang anggulong revenge at magandang ibenta ang laban," he said.

But where did Dasmariñas fit into this story?

Tolentino said the Bicolano fighter is the mandatory challenger to Inoue's IBF crown.

"Nakialam na tuloy ang IBF. 'Hoy Inoue, kalimutan mo ang WBC title, you have to defend the IBF crown,'" he said.

Apparently, Dasmariñas is long overdue for a title shot. He won that right when he defeated fellow Pinoy Kenny Demecillo in March 2019.

"Right now, Inoue is forced to negotiate with Dasmariñas. Last we heard inaayos na lang ang petsa at lugar," said Tolentino.

Without that Inoue fight, Oubaali has no other choice but to take on Donaire, who became his mandatory challenger after the Filipino's bruising match with Inoue in November 2019.