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Donaire promises to be 'smarter, more powerful' in featherweight return

Nonito Donaire Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – Nonito Donaire Jr. vowed to bring the best version of himself when he tries to rejuvenate his boxing career against Mexico City’s Ruben Hernandez at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday (Sunday Manila time).

In a conference call Friday, Donaire said weight problems are a thing of the past as he will now fight again as a featherweight, a division he claimed to be most comfortable at.

“It's a tremendous feeling right now. I just need to gain a couple of pounds in muscle mass. I’m excited (to return to featherweight),” said the former four-division world champion.

Donaire will shoot for the vacant WBC silver featherweight title against Hernandez, who is coming off a seven-fight winning streak. He said he likes what he has seen in the 24-year-old Mexican so far.

“I saw one of his fights on YouTube. He comes in to fight,” he said.

It will be Donaire’s first fight since yielding the WBO super bantamweight championship to Jessie Magdaleno in November 2016 in Las Vegas – a controversial decision loss which Donaire still disputes to this day.

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Asked if he’s fed up of letting fights go the judges’ scorecards, Donaire said he will try to knock Hernandez out this time.

“One of my trades is to go for a knockout, but I’ll be comfortable with taking my time in trying to get the win,” he added.

“Expect a smarter, more powerful Nonito Donaire going out there for a victory,” said Donaire.

Donaire and Hernandez will duke it out in the undercard of WBA cruiserweight champion Yunier Dorticos’s title defense against Dmitry Kudryashov – which is part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.

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