By CARLO ANOLIN
Four-division world boxing champion Nonito Donaire is banking on his power punches against the technical approach of WBC bantamweight titleholder Nordine Oubaali when they clash Saturday (Sunday Manila time) at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Though Donaire is quite confident with his training over the past few months, he believes that there’s no room for complacency against the undefeated Frenchman, who already dominated 17 matches on top of 12 knockouts.
“He’s a good fighter. You don’t become a world champion for nothing. I’m not underestimating him in any way…,” Donaire told the PBC Podcast. “Oubaali is very technical. He’s intelligent. But he’s never fought a guy who could hit as hard as I can.”
The 38-year-old Donaire admitted that there has been pent-up frustration over the year he went on hiatus, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Filipino boxing icon, who holds a 40-6 record with 26 KOs, saw a silver lining with the postponed negotiations and said it gave him more time to strategize and prepare for Oubaali.
Donaire is gunning for his third bantamweight title win following a crushing defeat to unified IBF and WBA super champion Naoya Inoue of Japan last November 2019 at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan,
Prior to his clash with the Japanese star, Donaire took down the likes of Ryan Burnett and Stephon Young in November 2018 and April 2019, respectively.
“I’m very, very excited y’know. I trained very hard for it. It’s been almost two years y’know. You can’t imagine how much excitement it is to be able to fight again,” said Donaire.
Oubaali, 34, for his part, also last saw action in the same event that hosted the Donaire-Inoue title bout, scoring a unanimous decision win over Naoya’s younger brother Takuma.
This will Oubaali’s third bantamweight title defense since capturing the vacant belt over American Rau’shee Warren in January 2019.