MANILA, Philippines – For now, it’s still a go for Nonito Donaire and his challenge to wrest the World Boxing Council bantamweight crown from Nordine Oubaali on Saturday, May 16 (Sunday, May 17, Philippine time) at the United States West Coast.
That’s because the scheduled 12-rounder is outside of the canceled March to April bouts by both the Premier Boxing Champions and Top Rank. (READ: Ancajas, Casimero title defenses in Vegas postponed)
Though he lost to Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue by unanimous decision in their unification last November 7 in Saitama, Japan, Donaire got elevated to mandatory challenger after fracturing the Japanese’s nose and orbital bone in a slugfest dubbed as 2019 Fight of the Year.
The unbeaten Oubaali, who’ll be making his third defense of the 118-pound title, will be the upside against Donaire, a 37-year-old four-division world champion still hoping for another crack at Inoue.
Oubaali, 33, totes a 17-0 record with 12 knockouts for a higher knockout clip of 71% against Donaire’s 65% (40-6 with 26 knockouts).
Clearly, however, Donaire has the edge as far as experience is concerned, having fought a total of 289 rounds against only 94 for the French champion.
In his first defense of the WBC belt on July 6, 2019, Oubaali disposed of Filipino Arthur Villanueva after 6 rounds in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Oubaali then defended it again in the undercard of Inoue-Donaire, beating Takuma Inoue, Naoya’s younger brother, by unanimous decision.
Of course, Takuma isn’t in the mold of Naoya or Donaire for that matter.
At 5-foot-6, Donaire is two inches taller than Oubaali and enjoys a two-inch edge in reach as well.
According to ring pundits, if Donaire shows up in the same form as the one that fought Inoue, the ‘Filipino Flash’ stands a good chance of claiming yet another world crown. – Rappler.com