Who is next for the 'Filipino Flash'?

Published May 31, 2021, 7:52 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Nonito Donaire (left) punches Nordine Oubaali in the fourth round during their WBC World Bantamweight Championship bout at Dignity Health Sports Park on May 29, 2021 in Carson, California. (AFP)

Newly crowned WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire shocked the world by turning back time with a vintage performance against Frenchman Nordine Oubaali.

The “Filipino Flash” stunned Oubaali, 34, in four rounds to win the WBC belt, which he first captured along with the WBO title against Fernando Montiel of Mexico back in February 2011.

Donaire left the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on a high note, earning the right to challenge Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue, who is the unified super WBA and IBF bantamweight king.

And after becoming the oldest bantamweight champion in history, Donaire dares to defy Father Time anew by conquering the bantamweight division against much younger rivals.

READ: Donaire: Age is just a number

In the post-match and even in earlier interviews, Donaire, 38, has been vocal about how he’s eager for a rematch against the “Japanese Monster.”

“This is why I wanted to win this fight because that (rematch) is my next goal. The only thing that I have not accomplished in boxing is becoming undisputed and that is my goal this year,” said Donaire, who improved to a 41-6 record on top of 27 knockouts. “That is my goal until I get there. I’m gonna make it happen and the next phase is getting the rematch.”

READ: After Oubaali, Donaire targets Inoue rematch

In separate tweets, it seemed that the 28-year-old Japanese icon is also hyped up with Donaire’s comeback win.

“Donaire is strong!” Inoue said in the first tweet as translated from Japanese while a follow-up tweet read, “Donaire’s victory is the motivation!”

The bantamweight stars clashed in November 2019 at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, a title unification bout that earned the 2019 Fight of the Year.

Inoue defeated Donaire via unanimous decision for the WBA and IBF titles along with the Muhammad Ali Trophy as part of the World Boxing Super Series.

Aside from Donaire and Inoue, Filipino boxers John Riel Casimero and Reymart Gaballo, Cuban pug Guillermo Rigondeaux are the top bantamweights today.

Casimero, 31, holds the WBO belt while Gaballo, 24, owns the WBC interim title. Rigondeaux, 40, the regular WBA champion would be the only exception as far as age is concerned.

Donaire is likely to pursue a rematch against Inoue but there are several options that might float in the next few months as the bantamweight division prepares for an all-out war.

The undefeated Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) will put his super WBA and IBF titles at stake against 28-year-old Filipino Michael Dasmarinas (30-2, 20 KOs) on June 19 for a mandatory challenge, Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) is set to defend his WBO belt against Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) on August 14, while the WBC ordered the unbeaten Gaballo (24-0), 20 KOs) to have a rematch with Puerto Rican foe Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) but additional details have yet to be announced.

Donaire has enough time as he enters the waiting game and knowing his mentality, the “Filipino Flash” might be back in the gym anytime soon.