NONITO Donaire Jr. believes he’s not yet through with boxing.
Even at 38 years old, the Filipino bantamweight still dreams big and one of his ambitions is to unify the entire 118-lb division.
“I have a dream which is to be the undisputed bantamweight champion, and at 38-years-old, I think I am capable of doing it,” said Donaire as quoted by BoxingScene.
Donaire takes the first step towards that goal when he challenges reigning champion Nordine Oubaali on Sunday (Manila time) for the World Boxing Council (WBC) title belt in Carson, California.
The 12-round bout will be the first for the ‘Filipino Flash’ in almost two years, or since losing a unanimous decision in a unification match against unbeaten Japanese title holder Naoya Inoue for the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight crowns.
While Donaire lost, he gave Inoue his toughest battle yet, engaging the Japanese in a booth war and toe-to-toe exchanges that earned the match the 2019 Fight of the Year honor.
Inoue walked away from the bout with a fractured right orbital bone that kept him away from the ring for almost six months.
That was enough to convince Donaire he can still be at par with or better than today’s young crop of fighters, a belief he will bring with him when he faces Oubaali at the Dignity Health Sports Park.
Donaire sees the unbeaten Oubaali, a Frenchman who boasts of a 17-0 record (12 KOs), as a good fighter.
“But he’s never faced an opponent like me,” the four-weight division champion was quick to add.
“We are ready to give a great fight and show that I am better than Oubaali,” said Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs). “Without a doubt, I believe that I am capable of knocking him out.”
And Donaire has it all figured out.
“We are definitely going to pursue a rematch with Inoue and gather the rest of the belts,” he said.
It’s not that he’s looking past Oubaali, but Donaire just like his chances right now.
“I feel good. At 38 years old, I have had to change some things, take good care of my diet, train much better, but if I continue to feel this way, I will be able to fight for five to 10 more years,” he stressed.
“I want to achieve many things, but first I have to show what I can do on May 29.”