The waiting game is over for Nordine Oubaali
After several months of wondering and waiting, big-punching Nordine Oubaali finally gets his opportunity to fight for the vacant WBC bantamweight title when he meets former WBA bantamweight titlist Rau’shee Warren, in support of Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas on Saturday.
Oubaali, who is ranked No. 9 by The Ring Magazine at 118 pounds, had been due to face Petch Sor Chitpattana for the vacant strap as far back as last June. However for myriad reasons, the fight didn’t take place and now instead the Frenchman looks to end his country’s barren spell without a world title against Warren.
Even Oubaali is unsure of exactly what kept the title on ice for so long, though he isn’t too disappointed that he will have to travel for his world title opportunity.
“The opponent and dates have been changed a couple of times,” Oubaali (14-0, 11 knockouts) told RingTV.com. “To be honest I don’t know what happened and it is really not my job to look into it. I am here to beat anyone that is being put in front of me and it doesn’t matter what their names are.
“It has been annoying that it got postponed again and again. I believe everything happens for a reason and I feel at home everywhere because the ring is my house and that is where we will meet.”
Oubaali continued, “I am the current WBC number one-ranked fighter in the world and have been waiting for my opportunity for quite some time now. On January 19th, the day has finally come and I am ready to take that world championship to France.”
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, both men fought each other, adding an extra layer to this fight. Oubaali narrowly edged matters 19-18, though he isn’t taking too much from that meeting six-and-a-half years ago.
“Warren is a good fighter and I will adjust to what he brings that day,” he said. “He will discover my strategy inside the ring and I will beat him.”
Warren (16-2, 4 KOs) enjoyed a long and distinguished amateur career prior to turning professional in the fall of 2012. The Cincinnati native represented his country at three Olympic Games, without medaling. He had considerably more success at the World Championships, winning two bronze and a gold medal.
The 31-year-old spent much of his early professional years in the shadow of teammate Adrien Broner before winning the WBA 118-pound strap in 2016, edging Juan Carlos Payano in their rematch. However Warren lost it in his first defense in early 2017. He has won his two most recent fights.
The opportunity to fight on a Manny Pacquiao undercard doesn’t come every day and it’s one the French fighter is happy to take advantage of.
“I feel proud to fight on the same event with Pacquiao because he is a superstar and a perfect example of a great fighter,” he said. “He is 40 years old and an inspiration to all upcoming fighters.”
The French-born fighter of Moroccan decent has focused his mind training at home in Paris before switching the MTK Gym in Marbella, Spain, before arriving in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Oubaali’s career is handled by his elder brother Ali, who believes his sibling will return home as champion.
“Warren is definitely a good fighter but not one of the best,” said the manager. “I believe come January 19th Nordine will be in the best shape of his life and it will show in the ring.
“We respect him but Nordine is much better than him and he will prove it in the ring.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.
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