NONITO Donaire Jr. doesn’t think the long layoff would work against his bid to regain a piece of the world bantamweight championship.
Instead, the five-division world champion felt the rest recharged his 38-year-old body ahead of his fight against Nordine Oubaali of France on Sunday (Manila time) for the World Boxing Council (WBC) 118-lb title belt.
Donaire, 38, last fought in November of 2019 when he lost via unanimous decision to unbeaten Japanese Naoya Inoue in a highly-competitive unification bout,
“The layoff will not be a factor at all. The time off helped me out,” he said during the final presser for the 12-round title bout on Thursday in Carson, California.
“Just being out of the ring helped my body recover. And the eagerness and the hunger is there more than ever. It was a blessing for me.”
But while Oubaali, parading a perfect record of 17-0 (12 KOs), respects what the Filipino previously achieved inside the ring, he insisted all that is in the past.
Oubaali said the present belongs to him.
“He’s a good boxer, but I’m the world champion, and on Saturday, I’m going to show the world who is the best. I know I am the best,” said the 34-year-old Frenchman, who will be defending his title for the third time.
“I respect Nonito. He’s had a good career, but I’m the best in the division.”
Like Donaire, Oubaali last saw action in November 2019 in the undercard actually of the Donaire-Inoue unification match in Saitama, Japan.
Unlike the Filipino though, the Frenchman came out victorious via unanimous decision against Takuma Inoue, younger brother of Naoya.