NONITO Donaire Jr. remains highly-motivated despite facing a late substitute when he stakes his World Boxing Association bantamweight title on the line against Stephon Young on Saturday in Lafayette, Louisiana (Sunday, Manila time).
Donaire quickly hurdled one obstacle out of his way on Saturday when he tipped the scale at 117.6 lbs. during the official weigh-in .
Young, a last-minute replacement for the injured Zolanie Tete, came in at 117.3 lbs.
“We got a fight,” said the 36-year-old Filipino shortly after making weight.
Donaire (39-5, with 25 KOs ) got the surprise of his life when he was told about Tete withdrawing four days before their semifinal bout, part of the World Boxing Super Series.
The showdown would have been a title unification match as Tete, the 31-year-old southpaw from South Africa, is the holder of the World Boxing Organization version of the 118-lbs title.
Now the ‘Filipino Flash’ has to contend with the 30-year-old Young (18-1, with 7 KOs), a virtual unknown who was originally scheduled to fight in the undercard until the last-minute call-up came for him to challenge for a world title.
The challenger vows to give his all.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight. I’m coming in to win versus anyone I step in there win,” said Young, ranked No. 5 by the WBA.
“I have the utmost respect for Nonito. He is a great fighter, and from what I see, he’s a classy fighter outside the ring as well. I feel I will handle the big stage quite well and I rate my chances very, very good.”
Winner of the fight advances to the WBSS final against the winner of the other semifinal pairing pitting Naoya Inoue against Emmanuel Rodriguez for the International Boxing Federation championship.