By Ryan Burton
On Tuesday, the news broke that former four-division champion Nonito Donaire (37-4) signed a promotional agreement with Richard Schaefer's Ringstar Sports. Donaire amicably broke ties with his long time promoter Top Rank Inc. after his November decision loss to Jessie Magdaleno.
After leaving Top Rank, Team Donaire went to work immediately to begin the next phase of Nonito's career.
Schaefer has a very close relationship with Al Haymon, who is the adviser to several fighters who Donaire could face - like Abner Mares, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr. and Lee Selby.
"Ever since we decided mutually with Top Rank to go our separate ways - we were grinding and talking with different promoters and going over all of the paperwork. It took a good two to three months to go through everything," Donaire's manager and wife, Rachel, told BoxingScene.com.
"We didn't just look at the past but we also looked to the future and we just didn't see too many opportunities anymore in (Top Rank's) stable and of course Nonito always wanted to fight Mares, Santa Cruz and Frampton and for whatever reason the Frampton fight was the closest to happening but it fell through and at the time Frampton fought (Scott) Quigg instead."
Rachel mentioned that the only contract they have signed is with Schaefer and that after a September tune up fight, the goal is to get one of Haymon's top featherweights in the ring.
"One of the things that led Nonito to go to Richard is that we always felt like a promoter and a fighter relationship has to be like a marriage in that you have to go down the same path and have the same goals," Donaire told BoxingScene.com from the Philippines.
"He didn't want to leave the sport not having fought everyone and he wanted to fight guys like Mares, Frampton and Santa Cruz before he leaves and Schaefer promoted Mares' fight against (Jesus) Cuellar and he works with Haymon who has a good stable. He feels that Richard has his best interests at heart and they can discuss who to fight and when. What I love about (the promotional agreement) is Nonito can reach out to Richard at any point and there is a lot of transparency which is really hard to get in boxing where you don't have to talk through someone else. Richard is very open."
The 34-year-old fighter is currently training in Japan where he has sparred against former title challengers Ryo Akaho and Ryosuke Iwasa and super featherweight Taiki Minamoto.
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