The show on which Nordine Oubaali made his latest title defense came with the expectation of next challenging a bantamweight in the evening’s headlining act.
Such a scenario has in fact played out, even if not exactly as scripted.
The unbeaten two-time Olympian and reigning bantamweight titlist has been ordered by the World Boxing Council (WBC) to next defend his title versus former four-division champion Nonito Donaire. The ruling was announced on Monday by the Mexico City-based sanctioning body.
“The WBC Board of Governors has voted unanimously to appoint Nonito Donaire as the WBC mandatory contender in the bantamweight division,” read a statement from the WBC’s office.
France’s Oubaali (17-0, 12KOs) capped a three-fight campaign in 2019 with a title-defending 12-round win over Takuma Inoue in their title consolidation clash this past November in Saitama, Japan. The bout served in supporting capacity to Inoue’s older brother, Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16KOs) claiming top honors in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament with a spirited decision victory over Fil-Am superstar Donaire (40-6, 26KOs), unifying two major bantamweight titles along the way.
Oubaali—who claimed his WBC belt in a points win over past Olympic rival and former bantamweight titlist Rau’Shee Warren in January—was hoping for his next fight to come in a unification bout versus Inoue, a bout which would have carried several subplots.
Instead, he will face the other side of the Nov. 7 bracket, with Donaire installed as the WBC’s mandatory challenger.
The ruling comes shortly after the removal of Luis Nery from its top spot, after the unbeaten Mexican missed weight for a planned Nov. 23 clash versus former titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez. The infraction marked the second time in less than two years where Nery has missed weight for a WBC-sanctioned bout, having struggled at the scales on at least two other occasions (though officially making weight on the second try on those two nights) and to where it was decided that his next fight needs to take place at 122 pounds or any higher division where he can safely make weight.
It also comes in part to Donaire’s spirited effort put forth versus Inoue, along with the legacy he’s enjoyed over the course of a career now approaching 19 years in service. The 37-year old has claimed titles in four weight divisions, including a second tour as a bantamweight titlist following an injury stoppage win over previously unbeaten Ryan Burnett last November.
With the ordered fight comes a 30-day free negotiations period. The two sides will have until January 3, 2020 to come to terms for the ordered title fight, or else will be subject to a purse bid hearing at WBC headquarters in Mexico City. Either side can call for a purse bid at any time during the negotiation period.
Oubaali is represented by MTK Global, while Donaire is promoted by Richard Schaefer’s Ringstar Promotions.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox