Boxing: Donaire confident Inoue rematch will push through

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2021 11:28 PM

Nonito Donaire is still looking to become the unified bantamweight champion. File photo. Sean Michael Ham, TGB Promotions
Nonito Donaire is still looking to become the unified bantamweight champion. File photo / Sean Michael Ham, TGB Promotions

MANILA, Philippines -- Unifying all the belts in the bantamweight division remains Nonito Donaire's ultimate goal.

"The Filipino Flash" took care of business on Saturday in California (Sunday in Manila), as he dispatched mandatory challenger Reymart Gaballo via fourth round knockout to retain his WBC bantamweight championship.

Afterward, he immediately switched his attention to his aim of winning the other bantamweight belts -- a goal he set for himself after stopping France's Nordine Oubaali to become a world champion once again.

"Unified, that's what we're looking for," Donaire declared. "That's what we're going for -- unification. Unified champion of the world."

Two other men hold bantamweight titles -- another Filipino in JohnRiel Casimero, who has held the WBO title since November 2019. Japan's unbeaten Naoya Inoue, meanwhile, holds the WBA, IBF, and The RING bantamweight titles. "The Monster" is also widely acknowledged as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, with 18 of his 21 wins coming by knockout.

A proposed Casimero-Donaire title unification fight fell apart earlier this year, with Donaire pulling the plug on the bout over concerns about drug testing.

Donaire also has history with Inoue, having given the Japanese champion all he could handle when they fought in November 2019, in a bout that earned Fight of the Year honors from The RING Magazine. Donaire took Inoue to the distance, eventually losing via unanimous decision after having been knocked down in the 11th round. 

Asked about a possible rematch against Inoue, Donaire expressed confidence that his new promoter, Richard Schaefer of Probellum, can get the deal done.

"You know, that's Richard Schaefer, my promoter's job to do. You know me and Inoue have respect for each other, and all the other champions," said Donaire.

"I believe that Richard is gonna make it happen, no doubt," he added.

The 28-year-old Inoue appears receptive to a possible rematch, though he first has to take care of business on Tuesday, when he defends his belts against Aran Dipaen in Tokyo.

"First of all, concentrate on the match... Donaire 2 will definitely be realized," Inoue tweeted.

Donaire was quick to wish his rival luck on social media.

As for a Casimero bout, it remains to be seen what the next steps are for the brash Filipino fighter after he was forced to withdraw from his title defense against Paul Butler in Dubai this weekend.