NONITO Donaire vowed in the past to take on the best super-bantamweight fighters in the world.
On Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time) he’ll exactly wage war with one of them.
The 'Filipino Flash' stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) 122-lb. title belts against Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan in a 12-round fight at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California pitting two of the marquee fighters in the division.
Donaire is making the first defense of the championship he unified just three months ago with a methodical 12-round unanimous decision of South African Jeffrey Mathebula at the same California fight venue.
He hopes to do the same thing – and even more – this time as he ups the ante against a veteran fighter who gave up the World Boxing Council (WBC) version of the belt just to make this fight with the 29-year-old California-based Filipino happen.
"He (Nishioka) was still on top after all these years," Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) said of his Japanese foe.
“I believe he has the credibility to be No. 1 (in the division), and that's the guy I wanted to fight to take that spot. He was my aim from the beginning. When I went to 118, (Fernando) Montiel was the guy I aimed to fight. In this division, [Nishioka] was the guy I aimed to fight."
The feeling is mutual as far as Nishioka, 35, is concerned.
Holder of a 39-4-3 record, with 24 KOs, the Japanese challenger gave up his WBC belt after outpointing Mexican Rafael Marquez last year just to be able to set up a fight with Donaire.
He has only eyes for the three-time world champion that Nishioka doesn’t want any mandatory defense - or any title defense for that matter - of his super-bantamweight crown.
“I was waiting for Donaire. I didn't have any interest in any other fight. I’ve been wanting to fight Donaire since my last fight. I’ve been training since January for this fight,” Nishioka said as translated by Nobu Ikushima.
Both fighters had no problem making the limit in Saturday’s official weigh-in. Donaire came at 121.6 lbs. while Nishioka was at 121.8 lbs.
Raul Caiz Sr. will be the third man on the ring, while the three judges scoring the bout are Adelaide Byrd, Tony Crebs, and Fritz Werner.
Donaire is on an incredible 11-year winning streak, a stretch that saw him win 28 of his last 29 fights. The Filipino’s first and only loss came against Rosendo Sanchez in a five-round unanimous decision in March of 2001.
But just as impressive is Nishioka, who is currently on a 16-fight win streak that dates back to 2004. His last loss was a 12-round unanimous decision against Thai Veeraphol Sahaprom as the Japanese failed to retain his WBC bantamweight crown.
Nishioka also fought mostly in Japan, and had just five fights outside of his country, including three in the US, the last of which was the Marquez fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas a year ago.
He won’t have any problem with that as Nishioka said, “I'm very comfortable fighting overseas."