Nonito Donaire: I'm hungry, extra motivated

Published June 3, 2021, 3:17 PM

by Carlo Anolin

WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (AFP)

Filipino boxing icon Nonito Donaire recognized that he has still a lot to offer on the table at age 38.

And there are plenty of factors on why being a veteran on sport comes in handy when one is seeking another crack at the belt.

Last week, Donaire showed that he is still a force to reckon with after a fourth-round stoppage win against Frenchman Nordine Oubaali at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California to capture the WBC bantamweight title.

“I think the difference between me and before was I started to relearn what I’ve already forgotten and got excited all over. And I think that’s the biggest key,” Donaire said in an interview posted by the WBC. “For experienced fighter [it] is that we lose interest, y’know, and so when we — when I get up in the morning and I’m excited to be in the gym and you know I’m coming after everybody.”

It seemed that the fountain of youth has blessed Donaire in such a way that he is still able to throw dangerous punches and swing around the boxing ring quickly.

This was what the Boholano champion showed when he unleashed two lethal lefts hook on the third round before knocking out Oubaali with 1:15 left in the fourth frame.

Oubaali got a taste of his own medicine after suffering the first knockdown — knockdowns in his case — and loss of his boxing career since 2014.

“That’s what I am mentally and that is why I’m victorious Saturday — because I’m hungry again, I’m excited again, and I’m motivated to beat everybody,” said Donaire.

After taking enough rest, Donaire vowed to get back to the gym as quickly as possible to prepare for an all-out war with the top bantamweight boxers.

His main goal is to lock a rematch with unified super WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue of Japan, who beat him last November 2019 at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan in a unification bout that earned the 2019 Fight of the Year.

The unbeaten Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) will put his titles at stake against 28-year-old Filipino Michael Dasmarinas (30-2, 20 KOs) on June 19 for a mandatory challenge, Filipino pug John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) is set to defend his WBO belt against Cuban foe Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs), the regular WBA champion, on August 14, while the WBC ordered the undefeated Reymart Gaballo of the Philippines (24-0), 20 KOs), the interim WBC titleholder, to have a rematch with Puerto Rican opponent Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) with the date to be announced.