Nonito Donaire Jr.
WBC resets deadline to fix Donaire bout
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The deadline to negotiate WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali’s title defense against mandatory No. 1 challenger Nonito Donaire Jr. has been reset from Jan. 3 to Jan. 17 and if both parties fail to reach an agreement, a purse bid will be held to settle the issue.

Donaire’s wife Rachel said yesterday the deadline was moved because of the holidays. The WBC earlier announced a 30-day period within which the contending parties could agree in “free negotiations” where and when to stage the fight and how much the protagonists would earn. If the promoters representing the fighters are unable to come to terms by Friday, the WBC will summon both sides to a purse bid hearing at its headquarters in Mexico City.

Oubaali’s promoter is MTK Global while Richard Schaefer’s Ringstar represents Donaire. Mexico’s Luis Nery would’ve been the mandatory challenger but was dislodged from the top spot in the WBC ratings after missing weight for a WBC-sanctioned fight scheduled last Nov. 23. It was Nery’s second infraction at the scales in two years and the Mexican has been advised to move up to the superbantamweight division.

Donaire and Oubaali fought separate opponents on the same card in Saitama, Japan, last November. Donaire battled Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series final, losing a decision in what was the consensus Fight of the Year and Oubaali defeated Inoue’s younger brother Takuma to retain his WBC crown on points.

Oubaali, 33, fought thrice last year, beating Rau’shee Warren to win the vacant WBC title in Las Vegas in January, retained the crown by retiring Filipino Arthur Villanueva after six rounds in Astana, Kazakhstan, in July and made a second defense against Inoue. He turned pro in 2014 at 27 and has compiled a 17-0 record, with 12 KOs. Oubaali, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, has stopped two Filipinos, Villanueva and Mark Anthony Geraldo. He’s a two-time Olympian who took the bronze medal as a lightflyweight at the 2007 AIBA World Championships.

Oubaali has fought 13 of his 17 fights in France where his promoter will likely bid to host the defense against Donaire. Two warriors whom Oubaali knocked out were former WBO flyweight champion Julio Cesar Miranda of Mexico and Colombian Luis Melendez who was 38 and a veteran of 60 fights when he fought the Frenchman.

Donaire, 37, gets the chance to win another world title despite coming off a loss. Although he was outpointed by Inoue, Donaire gave the unbeaten Japanese his toughest test. Donaire has held the IBF/IBO flyweight, interim WBA superflyweight, super WBA/WBC/WBO bantamweight, super WBA/IBF/WBO superbantamweight and super WBA featherweight championships. Donaire has also won the WBC silver featherweight crown and been awarded the WBC diamond belt in the bantamweight and superbantamweight divisions. The WBC diamond belt was created in 2009 and given to Manny Pacquiao after he halted Miguel Cotto that year.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman personally awarded the diamond bantamweight belt to Donaire in a turnover ceremony at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles in 2018. If Donaire dethrones Oubaali, it will be his second WBC title after wresting the bantamweight crown from Fernando Montiel in 2011.    

Donaire’s experience will be a factor in the fight against Oubaali. His record is 40-6, with 26 KOs. Donaire has logged 29 more fights than Oubaali and also enjoys a 3 1/2 inch height advantage and a 1 1/2 inch edge in reach. It’s unlikely that Oubaali has faced anyone as powerful as Donaire.

NONITO DONAIRE JR.
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