by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who moves up in weight to battle former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr for the WBO super bantamweight title at the Alamadome in San Antonio, Texas on February 4 is back in the US after brief training stints in Manila and Tokyo and says he feels great about the upcoming title fight..
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard yesterday morning, Donaire said that they had received the fight contract from Top Rank president Todd duBeof two days ago and added “I feel great about the fight against Vazquez Jr . It’s a fight I’ve been looking forward to and they finalized everything, it's great. We are very, very happy about it.”
Vazquez is the same fighter who scored a 4th round knockout of “Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona to win the 122 pound crown on February 27, 2010 in Puerto Rico.
Donaire said that he’s been “really good” in managing his weight and “feels a lot better.” He said “I’m actually light this time because usually I am about 140 but this time I’m really light and my weight is really good. Its just the travel that makes me a little exhausted but by the time we get it going, we’ll make everything flow.”
Donaire said he will be training with Robert Garcia who was named “Trainer of the Year” by Sports Illustrated which pleased Nonito a great deal. “That’s fantastic” he added..
Donaire’s wife, Rachael earlier informed the Manila Standard that Donaire had sparred at the Wild Card Gym of Rommel Nazario in Sucat, Paranaque for three days before flying to Tokyo where he sparred twice at the famous Teiken Gym of well-known Japanese businessman-promoter Akihiko Honda.
Ms. Donaire said her husband was quickly getting into shape and weighed around 127-128 pounds while in Tokyo which is just five pounds above the super bantamweight limit. Besides training while in Manila, Donaire also shot a television commercial which is likely to be launched soon.
Rachael disclosed said that while he was in Manila, Nonito also had dinner with Filipino star Allan Pineda who is known as Apl.de.Ap of the extremely popular pop group Black Eyed Peas.
Well known TV boxing analyst Moy Lainez said Donaire sparred “as early as 7:30 a.m. against Vergel Poton who is a featherweight” at the Wild Card Gym and predicted “the fight against Vasquez will be a good one.”
Donaire said he was accompanied by former WBA world light welterweight champion Morris East who won the WBA junior welterweight title with an 11th round TKO over Japan’s Akinobu Hiranaka on September 9, 1992.
East worked the punch-mitts with the WBC/WBO bantamweight champion who relinquished his title to move up in weight and challenge for the super bantam crown after winning the WBC/WBO 118 pound title with a spectacular 2nd round knockout of Mexican champion Fernando “Cochulito”Montiel which earned Donaire the accolade of “Knockout of the Year.”
Donaire said he sparred on two occasions with Yasutaka Ishimoto (19-5, 3 KO’s) who we were informed by Koji Ishizuka of the Japan Boxing Commission is ranked No. 1 super bantamweight in Japan. After the sparring session Donaire worked on the punch-mitts and heavy bag.
Donaire who went a total of nine rounds on the two days said “I really had good sparring wth him (Ishimoto) because he kind of reminded me of Vazquez. He was tall and was moving a lot. He is good, really good.”
Donaire met with Panamanian Celestino Caballero who trains at the same gym in preparation for his WBA featherweight title defense against Satoshi Hosono on December 31.
Donaire also met Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera, WBC super bantamweight champion Takahiro Aoh who at one time was Barrera’s sparring partner when the Mexican was preparing for his fight against Ring Magazine pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao and WBA super bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda.