Now that his first-choice opponent has bailed, Filipino champion Nonito Donaire Jr. must now temporarily shelve his title unification plans as he defends his WBA (super) bantamweight crown against Stephon Young in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series in Lafayette, Louisiana on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).
Donaire was supposed to figure in a title unification bout with his WBO counterpart, Zolani Tete, but a shoulder injury forced the South African to sit the bout out.
Donaire only learned of the news after Tete did not show up for the media workout.
"People were saying a lot of stuff, but I didn't pay attention and the fight was good — until when we had a team meeting and my wife (Rachel) broke the news to me," Donaire said in ESPN.com.
Rachel Donaire serves as her husband's manager.
"He wants all the belts and now this one is gone. So now he's going to have to chase it later, but Nonito understands everything happens for a reason. If I were Tete, would I [take the] chance fighting Nonito Donaire with an injury? Hell no," she said.
Whoever wins will take on the victor between titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez and secondary titlist Naoya Inoue in a unification bout in the finals.
Young said he plan to make the most of the opportunity.
"It's a real dream come true to be in this position. It doesn't matter who I fight. I'm coming in to win versus anyone I step in there with," he said.
Donaire said he doesn't want to look past the replacement fighter.
"I have not heard of him, but you can't underestimate anyone. Right now we're just gathering information and video to see what he does," said the Filipino.
"I know he's a southpaw, which is easier for me because we've been training for that since November because Tete is a southpaw. But Young is not as tall and rangy as Tete."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.