Donaire positive for COVID-19, withdraws from title bout
MANILA, Philippines—Nonito Donaire has tested positive for COVID-19 and has withdrawn from his WBC World bantamweight title fight against Emmanuel Rodriguez, according to reports, said in a report in BoxingScene.
This was the second time that Donaire featured in a canceled fight due to COVID-19 after his original foe Nordine Oubaali, WBC’s champion in recess, also withdrew from the bout after testing positive for the virus.
Donaire and Rodriguez were supposed to fight for the WBC 118-pound title on December 19 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut in Showtime’s card.
The 38-year-old Donaire (40-6, 26 knockouts) is coming off a decision loss against no.2 pound-for-pound fighter Naoya Inoue in November 2019 in what was seen as one of the best fights for the Filipino in the latter part of his storied career.
A four-division World champion, Donaire is on a bit of a career resurgence and he’s held the WBA Super World bantamweight title before losing to Inoue in WBA-WBC championship unification bout.
Showtime could move forward with the card, as per Boxing Scene, with Rodriguez in the main event against Filipino Reymart Gaballo.
The undefeated Gaballo (23-0, 20 KOs) was originally scheduled to fight Jose Velasquez (28-6-2, 19 KOs) of Chile but he could be bumped to the main event of the triple-header.
It’s still unclear if WBC will sanction the Rodriguez-Gaballo bout as a title fight since the Filipino is ranked 26th in the sanctioning body’s bantamweight rankings and, according to those listings, won’t be eligible for its 118-lb title.
Oubaali, who never lost the WBC title, was named as the sanctioning body’s champion in recess when he pulled out of his fight against Donaire but he will have the option to make a title defense by February or face the winner between Donaire and Rodriguez in his next fight.
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