Earlier today the head of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaiman took to twitter to announce that the purse bid for the WBC Bantamweight title bout between WBC champion Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12) and Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) had been done.
The winning bid was $401,000 for the bout and will be promoted by TGB Promotions.
This bout will be Oubaali's third defense of the title, which he won in December 2019, when he beat Rau'shee Warren. His last two bouts have seen him stopping Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva and taking a decision over Takuma Inoue, in a bout that was much closer than two of the judges had it.
As for Donaire this will be his first bout since losing in the WBSS final to Naoya Inoue. Incidentally that came on the same show as Oubaali's defense against Takuma.
An announcement in regards to the when and where of this bout is expect to be made in the coming days.
Through 2019 we had some truly amazing fights, at the very top of the sport and right through to domestic level fights. The short list for fight of the year was genuinely an extensive one, and fights like Gennadiy Golovkin Vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko, or Hiroto Kyoguchi Vs Tetsuya Hisada were fantastic fights worthy of a rematch, as was Moruti Mthalane Vs Masayuki Kuroda, though sadly we've yet to stumble on a copy of the fight to rewatch.
Despite the deep list of great fights we had in 2019 there was one fight that stood out as the clear Fight of the Year, and that was the WBSS Bantamweight final dubbed the "Drama in Saitama". The bout pit Japanese star Naoya Inoue against a resurgent Nonito Donaire and delivered the WBSS final that we deserved, even if it wasn't the one many had pegged at the beginning of the tournament.
Inoue got to the final in destructive fashion. He had taken care of Juan Carlos Payano in just 70 seconds before creating history in 2019 by becoming the first Japanese fighter to ever win a world title bout in Europe, stopping Emmanuel Rodriguez in Scotland. Donaire's route to the final was a little more interesting, taking an injury related win over Ryan Burnett in an upset then flattening Stephon Young, a late replacement for Zolani Tete, in 6 rounds.
Whilst many anticipated a blow out for Inoue what we got was proof that Donaire, at Bantamweight, is still a dangerous fighter, a heavy handed and tough fighter with the experience to see out some real danger. We also saw just how big of a Bantamweight he was, as he looked a division bigger than the local star, and unlike anyone we've seen he walked through huge shots from Inoue, at least until round 11 when he was finally sent down.
The bout had everything. We saw both men hurt, we saw Inoue fight through adversity, as he suffered double vision and a fractured orbital early on, we saw Donaire fight through some serious punishment himself, and some how pulled himself off the canvas in round 11 following a body shot that would have stopped anyone else in the division.
The only sour points in the entire fight was the odd decision from referee Ernie Sharif to essentially jump in front of Inoue in round 11, and the poor scorecard of Robert Hoyle, who had the bout decided on the basis of the knockdown. But they were minor complaints and did little to mar a bout that deserves all the plaudits it's been getting ever since.
Back in November a WBC Bantamweight title eliminator between Luis Nery and Emmanuel Rodriguez fell through when Nery failed weight, again. The bout was supposed to decide the next mandatory challenger for WBC champion Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12).
Typically when a fighter misses weight for an eliminator the fighter who made weight gets the shot. After all they did what was asked, they were professional, and they did what they were supposed to do.
A recent example of this comes from 2016 when Ryosuke Iwasa [岩佐 亮佑] became the mandatory challenger for the IBF Super Bantamweight title after Luis Rosa failed to make weight. Fair enough, that was the IBF and not the WBC, but it doesn't make sense to make an innocent fight a double victim, missing out on a pay day and their world title shot.
Here however the WBC have taken a different choice, and instead of giving Rodriguez the shot they have decided to instead make Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) their new mandatory for Oubaali, as they explained below:
The WBC Board of Governors has voted unanimously to appoint Nonito Donaire as the WBC mandatory contender in the bantamweight division.
Whilst we are certainly not against a Donaire Vs Oubaali bout, and it is genuinely a good bout, we do need to question why the WBC have essentially punished Rodriguez for saying no to Nery. We suspect it's down to the fact they missed out on their sanctioning fees, but still makes it feel very much like they are the deck against certain fighters, fighters who are perhaps less financially rewarding than others.
Whilst we're going to enjoy the eventual bout between Oubaali and Donaire, and it gives our recent prediction (20 Predictions for 2020: PREDICTION number 10 - Nonito Donaire to win another world title!) a real boost it does seem unfair.
attendance at today's show in the Korakuen Hall, where he was sat next to former WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Despite the injuries and damage he really didn't look too banged up, bar the bandage over his right eye which was cut against Donaire.
Talking about WOWOW Inoue Vs Donaire was replayed on WOWOW today, which is what he was doing work for, and it really has been a hectic few days for the WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion, who has seemingly spoken to every part of the Japanese media since the bout on Thursday.
Yesterday's sensational bout between Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) has been widely described as one of the best fights of the year. The WBSS final that many though was going to be a mismatch, including ourselves, ended up being something very special, and that was shown not only in the ring but outside of it too.
It was, as previously reported, the first fight ever shown live in 8K and it was also a bout that did incredible numbers on terrestrial TV.
At the time of writing numbers for the second biggest region in Japan, the Kansai region who had the bout on Kansai TV, haven't been made available but the Fuji TV figures, for the Kanto region, have been released and they are impressive to say the least.
The average viewing figure from the Kanto region was 15.2% whilst the peak number from the region was 20.5%.
To put those numbers into estimates of the population, the average figure was around 6.5 million with a peak of approximately 8.7 million.
When Kansai's figures are added in, and Kansai's viewing rates do tend to be higher than that of Kanto, we would expect the average to be bumped to over 8 million and the peak to have been pushed over 12 million, though of course no numbers have been reported for the region, which includes Osaka.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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