FOUR-time world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. is set for a December comeback as he challenges reigning title holder Nordine Oubaali of France for the World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight championship.
The world title bout is tentatively set at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and pencilled for a Dec. 12 date, headlining the Showtime Sports and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) presentation two weeks before Christmas.
Donaire, 37, and formerly the world's top fighter pound-for-pound, will be seeing action for the first time in more than a year or, since losing by unanimous decision to Naoya Inoue of Japan in their bantamweight unification match. The highly-competitive showdown was later adjudged as the 2019 Fight of the Year.
Oubaali, four years younger than the challenger, will be making the third defense of his 118-lb crown following a unanimous decision win over Takuma Inoue, younger brother of Naoya. The two fought as the main undercard in the Donaire-Inoue face-off in Saitama, Japan, last November.
The Frenchman successfully retained his WBC belt against another Filipino in Arthur Villanueva, scoring a seventh-round TKO win in Kazakhstan last year.
The Donaire-Oubaali world title fight is one among several fights announced by Showtime and PBC on Thursday (Manila time) when they officially heralded their return to the ring.
The boxing events will feature 18 undefeated fighters, nine world champions, and eight world title fights, including one unification bout.
Everything kicks off on August 1 with the Stephen Fulton Jr. taking on fellow undefeated Angelo Leo for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior featherweight championship.
The full schedule from August to December however, doesn’t include a Manny Pacquiao fight. The Filipino legendary warrior also fights under the PBC stable.
“We’re thrilled to announce what we believe is the strongest and most comprehensive schedule in all of boxing. Meaningful fights, competitive matchups. This is what boxing fans have been waiting for ever since the sport shut down in March,” said Stephen Espinoza, president sports and event programming of Showtime Networks Inc., in a virtual Zoom conference announcing the scheduled fights.
“This is a really high-quality schedule with five months of meaningful fights, competitive fights, and fights that are really going to determine champions and challengers for the foreseeable future.”