Donaire to continue chasing Inoue, will plot fight plan with wife | Inquirer Sports
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OLDEST BANTAM CHAMP

Donaire to continue chasing Inoue, will plot fight plan with wife

/ 04:06 AM January 03, 2022
Nonito Donaire Nordine Oubaali

Nonito Donaire celebrates his fourth round KO win against Nordine Oubaali last year. —AFP

If and when he finally gets a another go at Japanese top draw Naoya Inoue, Filipino world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. feels he just might have the best weapon for the job: his new-found—if highly unusual—on-ring partnership with his wife and trainer Rachel.

Trying to bookend a sterling career that most certainly would land him a place in the Hall of Fame, Donaire has his sights on a rematch against Inoue sometime this year for the world bantamweight unification title.

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And in a fight that is expected to match the all-out action of their 2019 encounter, Donaire said he’s counting on his tried and tested chemistry with his wife, who for the past two bouts has taken the role once held by the likes of Robert Garcia and even that of Nonito Donaire Sr.

“Our tandem is really great, and that’s something I didn’t have in the fight with Inoue. That’s something that will be a key factor this time around,” Donaire told the boxingscene.com.

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Filipino victim

Nonito Donaire Jr. (right) consoles Reymart Gaballo after knocking him out in the fourth round of their bantamweight title clash. —AFP

That seamless interaction between Nonito and Rachel, rarely seen in the hugely macho world of boxing, worked wonders in his sensational fourth-round knockout triumph over fellow Filipino Reymart Gaballo last Dec. 11.

“We create the strategy looking at foot placement,” said Donaire of his wife who is a former Philippine taekwondo team member. “That’s what [Rachel] kept telling me. Nullify his foot, square him up, then look at the upper body and counter.”

And that’s exactly what happened in the cold evening at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California: A counter left to the liver section of erstwhile unbeaten Gaballo which extended Donaire’s reign as the oldest bantamweight champion in history.

“My wife and my dad were telling me to go to the body,” said Donaire after the fight. “I had to set it up by bouncing up and down to open up that shot. I was throwing the right hand in the earlier round so he didn’t expect the left hook to the body.”

Defying Father Time

The 39-year-old Donaire, the World Boxing Council champ in the 118-pound division, had held titles in three other weight divisions and even attempted to mingle with the big boys at 126 lbs, where he suffered his one and only KO defeat at the hands of Nicholas Walters in 2014.

It has since been a long road back to glory for the 2012 Fighter of Year, but Donaire has proven he’s the finest boxer from the Philippines not named Manny Pacquiao, scoring highlight reel victories over younger fighters like Nordine Oubaali, the French champ from whom he wrested the crown from.

“I don’t even look at the age. The guys I’m sparring with are younger than me and I’m doing a pretty good job with them,” Donaire told the boxing website. “I don’t see age. If I crack you with one punch and it’s gonna hit. I don’t care if I’m 50 years old. You’re going down.”

People said in boxing, power is that last thing to go, with Donaire, he still has his swag as well.

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