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Body Talk with Nonito Donaire Jr.

Named Boxer of the Year by ESPN, ‘The Filipino Flash’ talks about his diet and workout, and how ‘intimacy’ with his wife actually relaxes him before a major bout

For setting the highest standard as a fighter in the ring in 2012, ESPN named Nonito Donaire Jr. as its Boxer of the Year.

Dubbed as “The Filipino Flash,” Donaire began the year having vacated his bantamweight belts and preparing to move up to junior featherweight. Four fights later, in an exceptionally busy year by modern standards for an elite champion, the quick-fisted and powerful Donaire stands atop the 122-pound division and was the easy pick for 2012 ESPN.com Boxer of the Year.

Donaire, 30, thus regained the ESPN award for the Philippines last won by Manny Pacquiao back-to-back from 2008. Sergio Martinez and Andre Ward were the last two recipients of the top boxing award. — News item, The Philippine STAR, Dec. 26, 2012

Barely two days after what news reports described as his “masterful demolition” of Mexican Jorge Arce, a victory deemed to have “boosted the pride of a country suffering from the shock of Pacquiao’s loss to arch rival (also Mexican) Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last Nov. 8,” Donaire came home to share that triumph with his kababayan.

“It was a quick trip,” Donaire’s new manager, Shirley Kuan, told Funfare, “so quick that his wife Rachel wasn’t able to come with him.”

He didn’t say if Rachel is expecting. Asked what kind of father he would be, Donaire said, “Being a father is what I wish for and if that comes true, the feeling would be something that words could never ever describe.”

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Donaire stayed just long enough to bring holiday cheers to the Filipinos but, thanks to Shirley, he managed to do a “Body Talk” for the benefit of his fans.

A Scorpion (Nov. 16), Donaire is 5’6” tall; weighs 133 lbs.; and wears small-sized shirt, medium-sized briefs and size-9 shoes.

How do you usually prepare for a fight?

“I usually start my training camps ideally around 10 weeks before the fight date. I drive from Las Vegas to San Carlos, California, with all my training gear and settle in a hotel for two months. My manager sends me sparring partners around the end of the first month.”

Do you have a special diet in preparation for a fight? What is your regular diet?

“Now that I’ve moved up in weight I am allowed to be not as strict in preparation for the fight. I can eat steak, rice, sushi, and pretty much whatever, but I try to stay away from junk food. I don’t really have a regular diet. I just eat what I’m craving for because most of the time, being health-conscious is no fun.”

What was the toughest part of your recent fight?

“The toughest part of the last fight vs. Arce was to stay mentally focused. A lot of fighters do not fight four times a year, some not even three times a year. It was great for my body because I was consistently in shape. The problem was mentally I was tired of being in training camp and wanted to be able to just put my feet up and not talk about boxing.”

You said you are going to “rest, rest, rest.” How will you celebrate Christmas after all your victories this year? (Note: Interview done before Christmas Day.)

“I’m spending it with my wife definitely. I will fly back to Las Vegas on Christmas Eve and will be able to have a nice dinner. We are keeping it pretty close and simple, but celebrate the end of 2012 and welcome the New Year with a big party.”

What’s usually for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

“If I had my way, breakfast would be longganisa, lunch would be lechon and dinner would be kobe steak and rice.”

What food do you always crave for, what food do you avoid?

“I always crave for lechon bulaklak and sisig…really, really bad food. But since I only get to eat them during my breaks, I let myself eat. I try to avoid salty food.”

Any snacks between meals?

“Sometimes I’ll have a banana between meals or, if I’m not training, chips.”

How much water do you take per day (soda, coffee, tea or energy drinks)?

“I drink A LOT of water every day, especially during camp. I probably drink six liters in addition to recovery drinks. I sweat so much that if I don’t keep hydrated, I get headaches and cramps. Soda, I save for after the fight. Something about soda after a fight makes it so satisfying.”

What vitamins do you take?

“I take a lot of supplements. I take multivitamins, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B, electrolytes, ZMA for recovery when I sleep, Aerobitine, Hypoxygen, vitalize, and then recovery drinks like Proglycosyn.”

What workout do you do?

“I’m one of those people who have adapted to the science of today. I rarely run long distance. I would say I run only three or four times a camp and only four miles maximum but that’s usually for me to bring down my weight not for training. I do stay at the boxing gym for about three hours a day and depending on what day, I spar, do mitts, bag work, plyometrics, and core. Once to twice a week, I run sprints.”

What part of your body needs improvement?

“LOL. What doesn’t need improvement? I am constantly trying to train my body to be stronger. I want to move higher in weight, which means I need to grow more muscle. I want my arms to be stronger to stabilize my punches, I want my hands and bones to be stronger for impact, I want my skin to be tougher to avoid bruising, I want my legs stronger to be able to move quick at the higher weights, and I want my brain to keep learning and evolving.”

What part of your body is most vulnerable?

“I would say my heart. I am very protective of the people who are close to me and when they hurt I’d rather be the one to go through the pain for them.” 

What part of your body is your favorite?

“My eyes. I am gifted to be able to see punches and analyze fighters. But it also allowed me to find what I was missing... my partner for life, my best friend, Rachel.”

Manny Pacquiao said that he abstains from sex three weeks before a fight. Other athletes said it doesn’t matter. What about you?

“I think it varies from person to person because it’s a mental thing. It’s been proven that sex doesn’t lower ability to perform but it’s such an old school mentality that it got engrained in a lot of us. For me, sex is not a chore so it doesn’t drain my body. Making love with  my wife actually relaxes me. Heck, sometimes it helps me sleep faster! LMAO.”

How do you relax, cope with stress (meditation, massage, music, etc.)?

“Depending on what the stress is... I have plenty of ways to cope. Of course, the best way is making love. LOL. Okay, seriously, massage is always a relief. If I am too wound up, I might go firing with my friends.”

What’s your favorite hideaway?

“Going to a bed-and-breakfast in Bohol (Where he hails from. — RFL) or Kauai.” 

Do you have any hobby? What other sport do you dabble in?

“It’s hard to say what my hobby is because I change it so often. It drives Rachel nuts because I might be into something now but not six   months from now and because I pick up stuff so fast I get easily bored. But right now, I’m still into photography and shooting.”

Do you have a night life?

“Only after fights. When I can, I do try to go out and enjoy with my friends who come to town because I don’t get to see them during training camp. I miss a lot of their celebrations so I try to hang out with them when I can.”

How much sleep do you get per night?

“On a good night, eight. On a great night, 10.”

Favorite sleepwear?

“Underwear or naked.”

Do you snore?

“No. Except when I’m really, really, really exhausted.”

Do you talk in your sleep?

“I don’t talk in my sleep but I do talk in my head and half out loud when I’m falling asleep. Sometimes I think I’m asking Rachel something and then after she doesn’t answer I finally say, ‘Did you hear my question?’ And she’s like, ‘Uh, you haven’t said anything until now.’ So I guess I was asking her in my head? I don’t know but it has happened more than once when I’m really tired. LOL.”

Do you sleepwalk?


How many pillows do you sleep with?

“At the least, three.”

Last thing that you do before you go to sleep?

“Thank God for His guidance, apologize if I did anything to offend Him, thank Him for the day He granted. Say, ‘I love you’ to Rachel.”

First thing that you do as soon as you wake up?

“Ask God for guidance and patience throughout the day. Ask Him to keep us safe from harm. Kiss Rachel if I’m getting out of bed so she knows I’m leaving.”

Name your three favorite boxers (and why).

“Sugar Ray Leonard…my style was based on his style growing up; Roy Jones was the biggest boxer during my amateur days; and Manny Pacquiao…he opened so many doors for Filipinos worldwide. He broke down barriers and made us all believe in ourselves.” 

And three women that you think have nice bodies.

“My wife, of course, is my No. 1 pick; Kate Upton; and Salma Hayek when she was younger.”

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)


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