CARSON, Calif. – The goal for Nonito Donaire has always been to go out on top.
Don’t mistake his most recent win as a pathway to an exit strategy, however. There remains more work to be done and more belts to collect.
“My goal is to become undisputed champion at bantamweight,” Donaire told BoxingScene.com following his 4th round victory of Nordine Oubaali to win the WBC bantamweight title. “I’ve won championships in four divisions. I’m a nine-time world champion. I was Fighter of the Year. The one thing I haven’t done in my career is to win the undisputed championship and that’s the plan.”
Donaire took a major step in that direction this past Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The 38-year-old Fil-Am star from San Leandro, California by way of the Philippines—who is now based out of Las Vegas—offered a throwback performance, dropping the previously unbeaten Oubaali (17-1, 12KOs) three times en route to the title win.
The feat was an historic moment for Donaire (41-6, 27KOs), who—at 38—broke his own record as the oldest fighter in boxing history to win the bantamweight title. He also becomes just the 11th fighter in history to win a major title in three separate decades.
Donaire claimed 2012 Fighter of the Year honors, a year where he won four fights and established himself as the lineal junior featherweight champion. He was the man at flyweight and bantamweight as well, along with winning an alphabet title at featherweight more than seven years ago, though never an undisputed champ at any weight.
"It's why I wanted this fight," stated Donaire. "That's my next goal."
With that comes the intention of pursuing a rematch with WBA/IBF titlist and pound-for-pound entrant Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17KOs), against whom he proved valiant in defeat in their Nov. 2019 unification bout. Also on his radar is WBO bantamweight titlist and countryman John Riel Casimero (30-4, 2KOs). Both have upcoming fights, with Inoue first up in a June 19 mandatory title defense versus Michael Dasmarinas on June 19 in Las Vegas. Casimero defends his belt versus reigning lineal junior featherweight champ Guillermo Rigondeaux, who owns a secondary belt at bantamweight along with a win over Donaire back in April 2013.
“This is all about checking off all of the boxes,” notes Donaire. “Beat Oubaali, done. Get the rematch with Inoue, check that one off. Get that WBO belt, mission accomplished. It doesn’t matter what order it happens. The goal is to become undisputed champion.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox