by Ronnie Nathanielsz
2012 “Fighter of the Year” Nonito “The Filipino Flash” wants a title shot at WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters and not IBF champion and stablemate Evgeny Gradovich (18-0, 9 KO’s). Donaire wants the fight either in late April or sometime in May.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he had spoken to Donaire’s manager Cameron Duncan who informed him that Donaire would be ready by late April but indicated he didn’t know whether it was so and added “at worst it would be May” to give time for his fractured cheekbone to heal. He suffered the injury in his 9th round TKO of Vic Darchinyan.
Donaire told us that Gradovich who is coming off an impressive 9th round TKO over former champion Billy Dib to retain his IBF crown last November 24 - “are on the same team and are both trained by Robert Garcia. We are friends and have a sort of brotherhood feeling and I wouldn’t even call him out.”
He said this was the answer he gave the manager of Gradovich who spoke to him when he was watching a fight in Las Vegas. He recalled that Gradovich’s manager - "came up to me and said what do you think of a Gradovich fight?”
Donaire said - “I have respect for Gradoivich and all these guys on the same team” which includes WBO junior lightweight champion Mikey Garcia and Brandon Rios among others.
At the same time he said “Nicholas Walters isn’t a problem at all.”
Walters won the WBA title with a 7th round TKO over Daulis Prescott on December 8, 2012 and retained the title with a 4th round TKO of Alberto Garza in his first title defense last November 9 to remain undefeated with a record of 23-0 with 19 knockouts.
While his fractured cheekbone is “healing well but it takes time because its not the muscle, it’s the bone."
Donaire told us he would be “ready in late April but it would be better in May.”