Sunday, September 24, 2023  |


Donaire wants top fighters at 122 pounds, including Rigondeaux

Fighters Network
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions

Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions


MANILA, Philippines – Newly-crowned WBO junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire Jr. has returned to his country of birth, the Philippines, to spend the holiday season with family. The 33-year-old says he wants to settle matters at 122 pounds when he returns to action in 2016.

“You know me; I’m here to conquer the division. Every division I go to, I always want to conquer it,” Donaire (36-3, 23 knockouts) said.

Donaire, who is coming off a life-and-death struggle in a unanimous decision win over Cesar Juarez earlier this month in Puerto Rico, had the stitches removed from a cut near his right eye over the weekend, and says, other than normal inflammation in his body from the strain of a 12-round fight, he feels fine.

“It’s pretty much equivalent to getting in a car wreck. That’s what fighting 12 rounds does to your body.”

Donaire voiced his interest in fighting the best in the division – even a rematch with RING magazine champ Guillermo Rigondeaux.

“I’m always open for that. Again, I always said this to everybody else. In order for him to convince me that he’s better than me, he has to do it twice,” he says of the 35-year-old unbeaten Cuban, who won a decision over Donaire in April 2013. “I will most likely give him the same option, so I’m always down for that.”

Donaire, a winner of three straight following an Oct. 2014 technical knockout loss to Nicholas Walters at featherweight, says he had developed “bad habits” leading into that fight, including an over-reliance on his left hook, which made him one-dimensional.

‘I didn’t train as hard as I should; I didn’t study any fights as I should. In the fight, I’ve seen so many mistakes that I should’ve capitalized on but the reason that I couldn’t is that the muscle memory that I created in training was just the left hook and that’s the only thing that I knew how to throw.

“Now, I’m throwing combinations, all kinds of punches. We’ve gotten back most of our old ways of fighting but there are still lots of bad habits that came out in that last fight, which was a great learning experience for me to see.”

Donaire also voiced an interest in facing the winner of the IBF title bout between beltholder Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg on Feb. 27. He’ll be an interested observer but admits he hasn’t seen enough of them to offer a pick.

“I can’t really make any assessment on it because I haven’t really watched their fights. I’ve heard words that Quigg is strong but then, Frampton is also technical and strong but I can’t really say because I haven’t seen their fights.”

Donaire says he is aware of media reports of promoter Bob Arum discussing possible bouts between he and former gym mate/IBF featherweight champ Evgeny Gradovich, plus unbeaten contender Jessie Magdaleno, but says he hasn’t discussed anything yet with the Top Rank Promotions boss yet.

“I’m always welcome to it. That’s up to the guys to make it happen.”