Boxing: Donaire targets Inoue rematch, bantamweight domination

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2021 04:34 PM

Boxing: Donaire targets Inoue rematch, bantamweight domination 1
Nonito Donaire knocks down French boxer Nordine Oubaali in their WBC bantamweight title bout. Sean Michael Ham, TGB Promotions

MANILA - Nonito Donaire boosted his already glittering boxing resume on Saturday when "The Filipino Flash" became the oldest fighter to win a bantamweight championship.

It was an impressive performance for the 38-year-old Donaire, who thrice knocked down France's Nordine Oubaali en route to a fourth round stoppage victory.

The thrilling victory gave Donaire the WBC bantamweight championship, ten years after he first won a title at the 118-pound division. Donaire would hold the WBC and WBO bantamweight belts simultaneously after knocking out Fernando Montiel in February 2011.

Having already won titles at super bantamweight and featherweight, Donaire is back in the 118-pound division where he looks to achieve something that he feels is missing from his resume.

"The only thing I have not accomplished in boxing is becoming undisputed," he declared after his win over Oubaali.

"That is my goal this year. That is my goal until I get there, I'm gonna make it happen," Donaire guaranteed.

Having already won the WBC belt, the next phase for Donaire is a rematch against Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue, who holds the WBA and IBF versions of the bantamweight title.

Donaire is greatly familiar with Inoue: they faced off in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series in November 2019, where they put together a classic that later earned Fight of the Year honors. Inoue entered the bout having won eight consecutive matches via stoppage, but found that he could not put away the Filipino veteran.

Instead, Donaire bravely fought until the final bell, but still lost via decision. For the "Filipino Flash," however, his gallant stand against Inoue proved what he already knew -- that he can still fight at an elite level against the most dangerous boxers in the world.

"What I learned from Inoue is, I'm back. Because I knew I could compete with him, I know that I got it with me. So the whole time that I was not fighting, I was learning," he said.

He made it clear afterwards that he has his sights set on another showdown against the man known as "Monster."

"This is why I wanted to win this fight, because that's my next goal," Donaire said when asked about an Inoue rematch.

Before that can happen, however, Inoue must first take care of business against his next challenger -- Filipino boxer Michael Dasmarinas. He defends his belt on June 19 in Las Vegas, with Donaire certain to keep an eye on the bout.

If Dasmarinas pulls off a massive upset of Inoue, that would mean that all four bantamweight belts are in possession of Filipino boxers. Johnriel Casimero, the brash and outspoken Ormoc native, currently holds the WBO belt.

Casimero will defend his title against another former Donaire foe, Cuban veteran Guillermo Rigondeaux, in August.


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