After nearly two months’ worth of negotiations—and at points, lack thereof—finally comes resolution for Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire.
TGB Promotions secured the rights to the aforementioned bantamweight title fight through a purse bid hearing held Tuesday at World Boxing Council (WBC) headquarters in Mexico City. TGB submitted a winning bid of $401,000.
As per an incentive policy adopted in 2016 by the WBC, 10% ($40,100) of the total purse will be held in escrow and awarded to the winner.
“This innovation gives greater incentive for both fighters to win the fight,” Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC declared after the purse bid results.
As the defending titlist, France’s Oubaali is entitled to the favorable end of a 60/40 split of the remaining amount, or $216,540. The balance—$144,360—will go to Donaire, whose appointment as mandatory challenger came courtesy of a unanimous vote by the WBC Board of Governors, with his elevated and past championship status entitling him to larger share of the purse than normally afforded such a contender.
The surprisingly modest winning bid ends seven weeks of talks between Oubaali’s team—represented by MTK Global—and Ringstar Promotions, who has promoted Donaire for the past two years.
Oubaali (17-0, 12KOs) will attempt the 3rd defense of the WBC title he claimed in a 12-round win over former amateur rival Rau’Shee Warren in their battle of multi-tour Olympians last January in Las Vegas. The feat was followed by a 6th round knockout of Philippines’ Arthur Villanueva last July before Oubaali—whom represented France in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London—outpointed Japan’s Takuma Inoue in their title consolidation clash last November.
It was hoped by the unbeaten titlist to next face the winner of that evening’s main event, where Takuma’s older brother Naoya Inoue outlasted Donaire (40-6, 26KOs) over 12 rounds. The win earned the elder Inoue top honors in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament, along with unifying two bantamweight titles and Oubaali prepared to enter a three-belt unification clash next.
Instead, it was decided that he would next face Donaire, who landed in the right place at the right time. The Fil-Am superstar and former four-division titlist was elevated to mandatory challenger in the wake of unbeaten former titlist Luis Nery missing weight for his eventually canceled clash with fellow former title claimant Emmanuel Rodriguez last November. The infraction marked the second time in less than two years where Nery outright missed weight in a WBC-sanctioned event, adding to his troubled history which also includes having tested positive for a banned substance.
All told, the latest folly was enough for the WBC to drop the undefeated Mexican knockout artist from its 118-pound rankings along with strong encouragement for him to compete at junior featherweight or higher.
Meanwhile, Donaire—who has won major titles at flyweight, bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, along with an interim junior bantamweight reign—has decided to stick it out at 118 pounds, where he has enjoyed two title reigns.
Through the WBC orders last December came the opportunity for Donaire to pursue a third reign.
The brass at Ringstar and MTK Global spent weeks attempting to come to terms, with the purse bid hearing twice delayed—once to allow more time due to the holidays, another in hopes of the additional time providing enough room to close the deal.
By Monday, WBC officials acknowledged that talks reached an impasse, thus confirming the purse bid hearing was in fact on as scheduled for Tuesday.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox