Donaire a cinch for WBO Fighter of the YearBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — He has one more tough rival to hurdle, but Nonito Donaire Jr. is already a cinch for WBO Fighter of the Year honors.
The Filipino Flash, fresh off a methodical ninth-round stoppage of Japanese Toshiaki Noshiaki last week in Carson, California, relayed the good news himself during a lunch tendered in his honor by ABS-CBN Saturday.
Donaire, however, was in for another surprise as ABS-CBN Sports head Peter Musngi informed him that a Dec. 15 showdown with veteran Mexican warrior Jorge Arce in Mexico City has been sealed by promoter Bob Arum.
According to Musngi, the formal announcement will be made by Arum on Monday.
It will be Donaire’s fourth fight this year after beating Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. (split decision), South African Jeffrey Mathebula (unanimous decision) and Nishioka in succession.
Donaire, who arrived yesterday morning with wife Rachel to serve as commentator of the AJ Banal-Pungluang Sor Singyu battle for the WBO bantamweight title, headliner of Pinoy Pride XVII being held at presstime at Mall of Asia Arena, dominated the highly touted Nishioka to earn the nod of WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel.
Reiterating his intention to reign supreme in the 122-pound division, Donaire said “Arce is tailor-made for my style.”
According to Donaire, he’s been cleared to fight by his doctor after a thorough examination of his left hand knuckle, which bled when his hand wraps were removed during the Noshiaki bout.
Donaire said he’d been instructed to rest the knuckle for a month for the wound, which required eight stitches to close, to heal.
Still in tiptop shape, Donaire, who also earned Most Outstanding Fighter honors in 2007 for his fifth round knockout of the then unbeaten Vic Darchinyan, said six weeks would be enough preparation for the 33-year-old Arce, a four-division champion like him.
Donaire’s likely foes next year include Mexican Abner Mares, Cuban Guillero Rigondeaux and Panamanian Anselmo Moreno.