by Dennis U. Eroa
World Boxing Council bantamweight champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. believes that his title defense against fellow Filipino Reymart “Assasin” Gaballo is a positive note for the Philippine boxing scene.
Donaire, one of the big names to appear in the 3rd Philippine Sports Summit spearheaded by the Games and Amusements Board headed by Baham Mitra said he will soon start training camp under the watchful eyes of wife Rachel Donaire, who was picked Trainer of the Year by the WBC.
“It’s a positive light, win-win situation,” Donaire said. The title defense is scheduled for December this year.
Against all odds, Donaire, now a three-time world bantamweight titleholder, wrested the WBC crown with a stunning fourth-round knockout of Frenchman Nordine Oubaali last May 19 in Carson, California. Donaire (40 wins, 6 losses including 27 knockouts) is the oldest world bantamweight champion at 38 years old. Previously, he held multiple world championships also as a flyweight and featherweight.
A staunch anti-doping advocate, Donaire said the biggest part of his success is Rachel. “All in all, I wouldn’t be what I am without my wife,” said Donaire via Zoom in responses to a question by Summit moderator and popular columnist Quinito Henson.
“It is important that we are all clean in boxing because we put our lives on the line everytime we fight,” said Donaire. Drug testing is a major issue in what was hyped as the reunification bout between another Filipino fighter John Riel Casimero. Casimero, who is not a fan favorite, due to his trash-talking habits, defeated via split-decision Cuban has-been Guillermo Rigondeaux in a boring bout to keep his WBO diadem last Aug. 14 also in Carson, California.
Presently, Gaballo is the WBC Interim champ with a perfect 24-0 record, including 20 knockouts. He escaped with a split decision win against Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez last December 19 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, USA.
Donaire lauded the GAB for holding the summit and its genuine concern for boxers. “I praised the GAB for its compassion in making sure that the boxers are healthy before and after the fight. What is doing for boxing in the face of pandemic is a feat in itself.”
Donaire said that he would like to fight in front of Filipino ring fans.
“I fought at Araneta and Cebu before, hopefully I can fight again in the Philippines,” Donaire said. “Even if I’m in the US, I fully support Philippine boxing.” He encourages Filipino ring enthusiasts to look into his YouTube channel to gain tips and tricks on sweet science.
While saying that the pandemic is a huge challenge for the sporting world, Donaire said boxers must stay in shape, keep focus and avoid falling into complacency.
“Most of all it is important that you believe in God,” Donaire concluded.
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