Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) is champion once again, after dethroning Nordine Oubaali (17-1, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California in the Premier Boxing Champions main event on Showtime.
Coming off of a close decision loss to the unbeaten Nayoa Inoue in November 2019 at super bantamweight, Donaire dropped back down to bantamweight for the first time since 2011 to take on Oubaali as a slight underdog.
After a feel-out first round, Donaire began landing hard left hooks and established control of the action in the second round. Then in the third round, Donaire stunned Oubaali and scored the first knockdown early in the round.
“Being at this age is not the question, it’s about my performance,” said Donaire. “About my ability to grow. I believe it matters not what your age is, but how mentally strong you are. What I learned from the [Naoya] Inoue fight is that I’m back. I can still compete at this level. The whole time I was not fighting, I was learning. I’m ready for the next one.”
As Donaire dominated the defending champion, a crushing left hook right as the bell rang, sent Oubaali down and nearly out. While Oubaali got to his feet, he was visibly in bad shape. As the fourth round began, Donaire immediately went on the attack and while Oubaali’s back was along the ropes, Donaire connected with a brutal uppercut that sent Oubaali crumbling to the canvas.
Referee Jack Reiss wasted no time in waiving it off at 1:52 of the fourth round, netting Donaire the WBC 118-pound title and making history by becoming the oldest fighter to win a world title at bantamweight.
“Three decades of being world champion. Nine-time world champion. That’s amazing,” said Donaire. “I came in here and I felt really good. Today I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew exactly what I was going to do. I think I was just very focused in the gym. I was very, very focused. I just felt really good coming in and I was grateful to get this opportunity.
“Tonight was something that I had to prove to the world that I’m back and I’m stronger than ever. He was a very tough guy. I think ultimately for me, there was a level of should I be more patient? Or should I go for it? Something I learned in the Inoue fight was to go for the kill. And that’s exactly what I did. I was patient, but I knew he was hurt enough that I could take him out.”