EVEN at this stage in his boxing career, Nonito Donaire Jr never loses sight of his main goal.
The ageless Filipino took the first step in his determined bid to become the world undisputed bantamweight champion when he wrested the World Boxing Council (WBC) version of the 118-pound division from Nordine Oubaali of France with an impressive knockout victory on Sunday (Manila time).
Shortly after, the newly-crowned champion didn’t mince words about his desire to have a rematch with unified Japanese champion Naoya Inoue, who beat Donaire by unanimous decision in a thrilling fight two years ago in Saitama, Japan.
But with boxing during this pandemic gravitating towards crowning one true champion per division, the Donaire camp disclosed the main goal is not just to get back against Inoue but to become the undisputed champion at bantamweight.
“That’s right, that’s the goal,” said the oldest fighter to win the 118-pound crown at 38-years-old said during the post-fight presser at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
His promoter Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports said Donaire will take one crown at a time, but with the eyes on the ultimate prize.
“This was more than just a win, this was a statement for the division. It’s putting the division on notice,” said Schaefer, formerly the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
The year 2021 saw fighters unifying world titles in different divisions like Canelo Alvarez at super middleweight and just last week Josh Taylor at light-welterweight.
Schaefer sees Donaire (47-6, 27 KOs) capable of doing it at bantamweight, referring to the ‘Filipino Flash’ as the biggest name in the division.
“Fighters are daring to be great, and Nonito is one of them who dares to be great,” said the boxing executive.
“And so you could go and look at the rankings and who else is the world champion there. That’s who Nonito would want to go after. One after the other. Oubaali, check mark. Next one, check mark. Next one, check mark. And then, undisputed.”
Doing so definitely means going through the 28-year-old Inoue, dubbed ‘The Monster,’ who holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) title belts.
Donaire definitely doesn’t mind it because that’s exactly what he wants.
“That is why I came to fight and win this one because I want to make that happen,” he said of a rematch with Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs).
“That’s what I want, and I know Richard and my promotion would make that happen.”