On August 5th we'll see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) [赤穂 亮] defending his title against #1 contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7) [齊藤 裕太]. Today, ahead of that bout, Akaho was able to train with a modern day boxing icon as he took part in a training session, and spar, with 4-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24).
Donaire, who has been out of the ring since last November when he came up short against Deigo Magdaleno, wasn't in Japan to just play and left Akaho with a bloodied nose following their spar. It was obvious that he was in good shape, though not quite fighting shape, and was preparing to return to the ring, even if a date and opponent haven't yet been set for the "Filipino Flash".
Although the visit to Japan was to train there was mention in soem Japanese boxing circles that Donaire may be looking, down the line, to get a world title fight against a Japanese fighter. That could mean bouts with either WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) [久保隼] or IBF champion Yukinori Oguni (19-1-1, 7) [小國 以載], both of whom would see a bout with Donaire as a chance to really increase their profile.
An announcement on Donaire's ring return is expected before the end of 2017, and given how he looked today it wouldn't take long for him to be ready for a bout, even if his return to the ring will be a straight forward bout to shake some rust rather than to become a world champion once again.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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