Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Nordine Oubaali Reinstated By WBC as Bantamweight World Champion

The WBC has reinstated Nordine Oubaali as its bantamweight world champion, eliminating the “champion in recess” tag it had given him in mid-November after he came down with Covid-19 and was forced to drop out of a title defense against former champion and mandatory challenger Nonito Donaire.

Initially, the WBC made Oubaali a “champion in recess” and approved former four-division world titlist Donaire to take on former bantamweight titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez, who was willing to step in on short notice, for the vacant title in the main event of a Showtime-televised card on Dec. 19 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

However, Donaire also tested positive for Covid-19 a little more than a week before the bout and although he claimed the test result was a false positive he was nonetheless dropped from the fight with Rodriguez. At that point, the WBC approved a fight between Rodriguez and Reymart Gaballo for the vacant interim WBC bantamweight belt. The fight headlined the card on Dec. 19 and Gaballo won a disputed split decision.


But with Oubaali and Donaire having both dropped out of the title bout due to Covid-19, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman recently sent a letter to the various parties involved notifying them of the change in status of Oubaali’s title and outlining other aspects of the situation.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by, the WBC said it would “remove the Champion In-Recess designation from WBC Bantamweight World Champion Nordine Oubaali.” Also, the letter reiterated a previous pronouncement that the interim champion would not automatically be the mandatory challenger without the organization issuing a specific order saying so.

“The WBC will continue to monitor Champion Oubaali’s and Nonito Donaire’s condition with views of determining when they will be medically cleared and fit to return to the ring,” the WBC letter continued. “The WBC will allow Champion Oubaali to make a voluntary defense of his World Title in February of 2021, based on the WBC’s determination that he is medically cleared and fit to do so. Based on the availability and medical clearance of the WBC World Champion, WBC Interim Champion and Nonito Donaire, the WBC will reassess the overall situation of the division and will issue a more definitive order (later this month).

“Given the uncertainties associated with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the WBC shall have the sole right and option under our Rules & Regulations to issue additional orders concerning the Bantamweight Division, as it becomes necessary.”

Oubaali and Donaire have both said they still want to fight and their teams are working on whether the bout will be immediately rescheduled, a source with knowledge of the situation told BoxingScene.

The 34-year-old Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs), a southpaw and 2008 and 2012 Olympian from France, has defended his 118-pound world title twice since winning the vacant belt by unanimous decision over Rau’shee Warren in January 2019 on the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

In his first defense, Oubaali scored a sixth-round knockout of Arthur Villanueva in July 2019 and then unanimously outpointed Takuma Inoue – the younger brother of unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue – in his second defense in November 2019.

“The Filipino Flash” Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs), 38, of Las Vegas, who has won world titles at flyweight, bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, is seeking a third bantamweight world title reign. He has not boxed since November 2019, when he participated in the fight of the year, a hard-fought decision loss in a bantamweight title unification fight with Naoya Inoue in the final of the World Boxing Super Series. Oubaali’s win over Takuma Inoue was on that undercard.

Dan Rafael was's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by slimPickings on 01-11-2021

[QUOTE=GodfatherIV;21010414]More WBC bull****. Why do all this ruling. If Oubaali and Donaire were going to fight with the title on the line but got cancelled due to Covid, [B]just redo that fight[/B] and be done with it. [B]Its simple no…

Comment by The Skywalker on 01-11-2021

More WBC nonsense.. they've sunk lower than the WBA

Comment by _Rexy_ on 01-11-2021

[QUOTE=Mick Higgs;21011330]What I don't get is how a guy who lost his last fight can just walk into another World title fight.[/QUOTE] He was ranked #2 and the guy #1 (Nery) Moved up in weight.

Comment by Squ□redCircle34 on 01-11-2021

[QUOTE=Mick Higgs;21011330]What I don't get is how a guy who lost his last fight can just walk into another World title fight.[/QUOTE] Donaire is a legend and first ballot hall of famer and deserves at this stage of his career…

Comment by Mick Higgs on 01-11-2021

What I don't get is how a guy who lost his last fight can just walk into another World title fight.

Top Headlines
Bob Arum: Golden Boy Wouldn't Put Ryan Garcia In With Teofimo Lopez; Easy Work Angelo Leo: Always Wanted To Celebrate Title Win With A Crowd, More Motivation To Stay Champion Thurman To Arum: Stop Talking Sh-t! Not My Fault You Can’t Afford Fight For Crawford Michel Rivera: Ryan Garcia Has a Great Punch But a Glass Chin Hearn Says Boxing Events Must Continue or Sport Could Fizzle Out McGirt Was Unaware of Kovalev's Doping Test, Felt Camp Was Going Well Manager: Pacquiao or McGregor Would Beat Mayweather in Rematch Dominic Breazeale Vows To Blast Out Otto Wallin With Huge Knockout Fred Levin: An Appreciation (1937-2021) Sergio Martinez Working For April Return, Eyes Murata Shot By Year's End Thunderdome Boxing Series Returns on February 26 in Perth Arum on Lopez's Options: Haney Doesn't Mean Much, Not an Attraction Like Davis, Garcia Talks Progress For Canelo Alvarez To Move Forward With Matchroom/DAZN Ivan Golub, Melissa Oddessa, Joe Williams Back on February 20 Inoue-Dasmarinas: Date, Site Of Fight Depends On COVID-19 Restrictions In Japan Junior Cruzat To Fight For WBA Regional Title on February 26 Joshua-Fury: Hearn Wants Second Fight in Cardiff, But Says Pressure May Stop It Buddy McGirt Predicts Shakur Stevenson Gets KO'ed by Teofimo Lopez, Starts Heated Squabble Artur Beterbiev Co-Trainer: Bivol Is The Most Important Fight At 175 Plant: At Some Point, Me And Canelo Are Gonna Get In There And Do Our Thing Josh Warrington May Vacate IBF Title, Fight Gary Russell Jr. Bruno Tarimo Cracks IBF's Top Ten, Inches Closer To Title Shot Terri Harper's Manager Hopes To Achieve Undisputed Goal in Two Fights Teofimo Lopez: If No Kambosos - Then I Want Haney, Garcia, Davis Chris Eubank Jr. Has Golovkin as #1 Target on List, Says Promoter Carlos Ocampo Destroys Abraham Juarez in One Round Gervonta Davis on Sparring Teofimo, Haney - Pushing For Fight With Ryan Garcia Robeisy Ramirez: If Not This Year - By 2022 I'll Be Fighting For a World Title David Morrell Aims To Fight Four Times By The End of 2021 Bjornsson Drops Ward, Who Rallies in Third: Both React To Exhibition Hearn: If Both Win Their Fights, Expect Josh Kelly vs. Conor Benn in 2021 Berchelt: Valdez Motivated By Those That Say He Has No Chance; It's Going To Be A War Ryan Garcia: Can Only Become Greater Learning From Reynoso, Canelo Joseph Diaz Eager To End 130-Pound Title Unification Drought Daily Bread Mailbag: Sonny Liston, Ryan Garcia, Heavyweights, More David Benavidez Demands Caleb Plant Fight, Eyes Canelo Alvarez Demetrius Andrade: I Never Ducked Charlo, That's Crazy! Povetkin-Whyte Rematch Could Go To Gibraltar, Monaco or Middle East Victor Pasillas Grinding Hard For Ra'eese Aleem Clash Chantelle Cameron: Let's See if Melissa Hernandez Backs Up Her Talk
Latest Forum Threads