Even with more than a month to reach terms and a willingness to face one another, Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire and their respective handlers didn’t manage to get very far.
The World Boxing Council (WBC)-ordered bantamweight title fight is now subject to a purse bid hearing. BoxingScene.com has been informed that the session will take place Tuesday, January 21 at WBC headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico. It will serve as one of two major title fights to be made available to the highest bidder on that day, as a lightweight title fight between top-rated contenders Javier Fortuna and Luke Campbell is also up for grabs.
France’s Oubaali (17-0, 12KOs) and Fil-Am superstar Donaire (40-6, 26KOs) both appeared in separate bouts on the same show last November in Saitama, Japan. Oubaali capped a three-win campaign in 2019 with a 12-round nod over previously unbeaten Takuma Inoue, in the chief support to Takuma’s older brother Naoya Inoue claiming top honors in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament with a spirited decision victory over Donaire (40-6, 26KOs), unifying two major bantamweight titles along the way in their main event.
Oubaali—a two-time Olympian who celebrates one full year as a WBC titlist on Sunday, having outpointed three-time Olympian and former 118-pound titlist Rau’Shee Warren last 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 Donaire, who was installed as the WBC’s mandatory challenger shortly after his loss to Inoue. The ranking came through a unanimous vote by the WBC Board of Governors, 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.
The two sides had 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. As was the case with the aforementioned Fortuna vs. Campbell matchup, handlers for the pair of bantamweights—Oubaali is represented by MTK Global, while Donaire is promoted by Richard Schaefer’s Ringstar Promotions—were granted an additional two weeks given the holiday season, although the extra time didn’t help advance talks.
The winning accepted purse bid will be split 60/40 in Oubaali’s favor.