This past weekend we saw Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27) show, at the age of 38, that he is still one of the heaviest handed fighters in the sport as he dominated Nordine Oubaali, dropping him 3 times in 4 rounds to claim the WBC Bantamweight title. The win saw him prove he wasn't shot, and whilst he is certainly old for a Bantamweight, he looked in great condition and bounced back really well form his 2019 loss to Naoya Inoue in the WBSS final.
With the win under his belt we thought it was a chance to focus on Donaire and consider what might be next for him, as we take a look at Five for... Nonito Donaire.
1 - Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai (51-1-1, 41)
We begin with a pretty likely bout, even if it's not a hugely attractive one, and that would be a defense against leading WBC challenger Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai, also known as Nawaphon Kaikanha or Nawaphon Por Chokchai, from Thailand. This is certainly not a big fight for Donaire, but we can hardly complain at him having an easy first defense after reclaiming the WBC Bantamweight title. And potentially even having it in the Philippines, where he's not fought since his 2016 win over Zsolt Bedak, in what was actually his first defense of the WBO Super Bantamweight title. Nawaphon would offer very little in terms of a threat to Donaire, but if the "Filipino Flash" wanted to fight in the Philippines once more before he retired Nawaphon would be the ideal safe opponent for such a fight. Nawaphon is also an opponent who would look good on paper, even if his record is awfully padded.
2 - Charlie Edwards (16-1, 6)
Whilst there are super fights out there for Donaire, which we'll get on to shortly, there are other options for him, and one of those is a return to the UK, where he fought twice in 2018. If the UK is somewhere that he wants to return the obvious choice for a UK fight is former WBC Flyweight champion Charlie Edwards, who is ranked very highly by the WBC still. Edwards, who previously faced Johnriel Casimero, would not only serve as a potential UK opponent for Donaire but would also give him a chance to have a head to head rival with Casimero, ahead of a potential all Filipino world title unification bout down the line. Edwards has a style that could pose questions for Donaire, but it seems likely that Donaire's power would land, at some point, and take out the Englishman.
3 - Johnriel Casimero (30-4, 21) / Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1-0-1, 13) winner
The first super obvious potential match up for Donaire is a clash with the winner of the upcoming WBO world title fight between Johnriel Casimero and Guillermo Rigondeaux. It's only #3 on this list because we don't really like including opponents who are tied up with bouts in these lists, but sadly we've got to do it a couple of times in this particularly list.
If Casimero beats Rigondeaux when the two clash in August we'd have the potential for an all Filipino unification bout between the WBC and WBO world champion, something that would be massive for not just the Bantamweight division but also Filipino boxing. It would give us a unified champion, and set us up with a clear front runner for a potential Naoya Inoue bout. A bout between Casimero and Donaire would be incredible, and would see both men taking on a huge puncher, with the bout not just being an all Filipino clash, but also one that could end at any second.
If Rigondeaux beats Casimero it sets up a really, really interesting rematch. Back in 2013 Donaire lost to Rigondeaux, in a bout that stands out as Rigondeaux best win as a professional. By a long way. For Donaire a rematch would be a chance to avenge that loss, and get some sense of revenge for a defeat that really harmed his career. As for Rigondeaux it would be a chance to him to get a second major win over the Filipino icon, and add a lot more to his career, which has promises so much but regularly failed to deliver.
Either of these potential options is good with us!
4 - Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) / Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20) winner
Another 2 for 1 is the winner of the upcoming bout between Naoya Inoue and Michael Dasmarinas. Sure Inoue is the VERY clear betting favourite, but both of these men would make for interesting bouts with Donaire, as long as they win here.
Firstly the potential Inoue bout would be a rematch of the WBSS final from 2019, and would see Donaire get a chance to avenge his only loss as a Bantamweight. Their first bout was a brilliant contest, and a rematch would be expected to be another fantastic fight. As well as the history between the two men the bout would also see 3 titles being unified, as we see the Bantamweight division take a step towards having a unified champion. A rematch between these two would also, potentially, allow fans in the US a chance to see the bout in person, after their first fight was in Japan. Given the choice of all the possible bouts for both men, this is probably the one we most want to see, and we suspect most fans also want to see.
Of course if Inoue loses to Dasmarinas a bout between Donaire and Dasmarinas becomes a huge fight for Filipino boxing, and would see the two men battling for 3 titles in the biggest all Filipino bout in living memory. This would be massive for boxing and would, in some ways, be even bigger than the potential Casimero bout. Especially given that for this one to take place Dasmarinas would need to have upset Inoue, in one of the biggest upsets in recent years. If this one comes about it would be for 3 titles, and would be on the back of big wins for both guys.
5 - Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15)
A bit of an outlandish one to finish with, but one we'd love to see, would be Donaire taking on Japanese star Kazuto Ioka, who would have to move up from Super Flyweight to Bantamweight. It's well known that Ioka wants to only have big fights, and fighting at Super Flyweight his options are rather limited, with the only readily available name being Jerwin Ancajas or a mandatory defenses against Francisco Rodriguez Jr. Decent fights, surely, but not legacy defining ones. A move up to Bantamweight to face Donaire however, would be a career defining bout, and a chance for him to become the first man from Japan to win world titles in 5 weight classes. As for Donaire it'd be a huge chance to get a win over Inoue's country man and a brilliant name to add to his record. This might seem an outlandish bout to think about, but it would be a compelling contest that would test Donaire's power and timing against the skills and boxing IQ of Ioka. It would be high level stuff, and it would be a very, very intriguing bout. It would be a battle of left hooks, and it could be the bout we didn't know we wanted!
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire to former world champion Takashi Uchiyama.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Way back on July 7th 2007 we saw the then unknown Nonito Donaire announce himself on the boxing world with a huge upset win over the then IBF Flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan. The win was a massive shock and put the unheralded Donaire on the boxing map. On the very same card fans in the venue also saw the previously unbeaten Bermane Stiverne suffer a shock himself, losing to Demetrice King.
2-Prior to beginning his professional career Bermane Stiverne was a solid amateur and scored a very notable win in the 2004 Tammer Tournament in Tampere, Finland. In that tournament he stopped British fighter David Price, in what was regarded as a notable amateur upset.
3-After losing to Stiverne in 2004 David Price would go on to make his mark as one of the most notable British amateurs of his time. That was, in part, helped by an Olympic bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing at Super Heavyweight. In the Olympics that followed, both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, Kazakh fighter Ivan Dychko went on to claim bronze.
4-Although Ivan Dychko's professional career was a very slow burn he turned professional with a lot of expectations on his shoulders. Interestingly the big man from Kazakhstan appears to have made his professional debut on the same date as Thai hope Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, with both men kicking off their professional career's on August 9th 2017*.
5-Within just a few years of his professional debut Thailand's Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart moved through the rankings and secured a world title fight with Japan's Hiroto Kyoguchi. Although Kyoguchi won that bout it's fair to say that Satanmuanglek impressed, getting a lot of credit for his performance, in even in defeat. Interestingly that win was Kyoguchi's second defense of the WBA Light Flyweight "Super" title.
6-Talented and exciting Japanese fighter Hiroto Kyoguchi made his debut in 2016, and by the and of the year he was 5-0 (5). His final bout of the year saw him defeat Junel Lacar in 3 rounds. In the headline bout of that card was Kyoguchi's then stablemate Takashi Uchiyama, who fought his final professional bout, losing to Jezzrel Corrales in their second meeting.
*Given the way Thai records can be misleading it should be noted that we are going on how BoxRec has Satanmuanglek's record at the time of writing.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect former multi-weight world champion Koki Kameda to fellow multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Japanese star Koki Kameda was born in November 17th 1986 on that very same day Tomohiro Kiyuna defeated Katsumi Komiyama, in what was Kiyuna's first bout since losing in a WBA world title fight to Myung Woo Yuh in South Korea.
2-Although a very solid fighter Tomohiro Kiyuna was never able to win a world title. He did however become a multi-time Japanese Light Flyweight champion, winning that title 3 times during his career. That's actually a record for that particular title and only Kiyuna, his former foe Hideyuki Ohashi and Kenichi Horikawa have held that title more than once.
3-Japanese fighter Kenichi Horikawa will never go down in the history books are one of the Japanese greats, but there is no doubting his role in Japanese boxing, and he's one of the very, very few Japanese fighters in the modern era with more than 40 wins. His career saw him face a genuine who's who of not just the Japanese scene but also the Asian scene. His opponents included hard hitting Filipino Florante Condes in 2010.
4-The hard hitting Florante Condes was the IBF Minimumweight world champion for almost a full year, though sadly never managed a single successful defense of the title. He won the belt on July 7th 2007, on the same day as Condes's world title win we also had the professional debut of Carlos Linares, who stopped Mosa Chatchawan at Korakuen Hall.
5-Although not as well known as his brother Jorge, Carlos Linares is a very notable figure in Japanese boxing. Fans will likely know him best for his incredible Japanese Middleweight title fight with Tadashi Yuba in 2012, or maybe even know him as the trainer for Ryota Murata. Incidentally he actually made his US debut in 2011 on a show that was headlined by Toshiaki Nishioka, who defeated Rafael Marquez at the MGM Grand.
6-Sadly by the time the wider boxing world was aware of Toshiaki Nishioka he already had a foot out of the door This meant many Western fans weren't aware of the great career Nishioka had had. These had included a brilliant 4 fight series with Thai legend Veeraphol Sahaprom and wins against the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez. As a result many fans in the West only saw a handful, if that, of Nishioka bouts including his final career bout, in 2013, against Filipino great Nonito Donaire.
(Images courtesy of JPBA and Boxmob)
When we talk about some of the most eye catching KO's in recent years many of them have involved a Filipino. Whether it was the Filipino fighter scoring them, or receiving them it's hard to ignore how many great KO's have come when a bout has featured a Filipino. Today we take a look at one of the best finishes of 2007 and it was a finish that helped put one rising Filipino fighter on the global boxing map.
Nonito Donaire (17-1, 10) Vs Vic Darchinyan (28-0, 22) I
In one corner was 24 year Nonito Donaire, at the time he was rather unknown and was lacking not just a world title but a win of any note. In the other corner was hard punching IBF Flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan.
At the time Donaire really was an unknown, unless you followed the amateur boxing scene as Donaire was a very solid amateur. He had fought 18 times a professional but hadn't done anything to make a name for himself. His biggest wins weren't big and at this point his brother, Glenn Donaire, was a more well known fighter. Whilst his brother was more well known Nonito was the better boxer, the more rounded fighter and the more intelligent boxer, rather than the hard nosed, aggressive fighter that his older brother was.
Darchinyan on the other hand had won the IBF Flyweight title, made numerous defenses and had defeated Donaire's older brother. At this point in time he was starting to creep into the random pound of pound lists and was feared as one of the sports most destructive little men. He had been talking about unification bouts at Flyweight and the hope was for him to get past Donaire and move into bigger bouts. Bouts that could attract a more notable slot on the card and get more eyes on his contests.
Although not a polished fighter Darchinyan was exciting, hard hitting, willing to take one to land one, loud, brash and and grabbing a lot of attention. Going in this was seen as his next step towards something big.
From the off Donaire was surprising everyone, taking the fight to Darchinyan and showing no fear at all of the champion. Darchinyan had moments, but looked like he was regularly coming off second best against the younger, faster, fresher fighter. Through the first 4 rounds Donaire was doing more than enough to establish himself, and had done more than most had expected.
Despite Donaire looking in control the finish however a bit out of nowhere. Darchinyan rushed Donaire, looking to land a left hand. Donaire countered however, with a brutal and incredibly quick fire left hook. Donaire's shot landed clean, and sent Darchinyan crashing to the canvas.
To his credit Darchinyan got up, but had no idea where he was as the referee waved the bout off, with Darchinyan falling into the ropes.
The bout was regarded by many as the Upset of the Year and the finish was seen as the KO of the Year. It was brilliant, unexpected and helped make Donaire a star.
The shot put Donaire on the map, saw him win the IBF Flyweight title and begin his surge through the sport. Surprisingly it didn't finish off Darchinyan's career, with the Australian based Armenian bouncing back to unify titles at Super Flyweight and being a contender at Bantamweight in the years that followed.
Shocks in boxing can be strange things when we look back on them. Today we look at a bout that, at the time, was a monstrous upset but now, more than a decade on, the newer fans to the sport may not even realise this bout was an upset. In fact many new fans will look back on this and think it little more than a coming out performance, when the reality is that it was a massive upset that helped put a previously rather unknown fighter on the map. Big time. This bout, from 2007, was a huge upset, but on reflection that can be easily forgotten.
July 7th 2007
Harbour Yard Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
Nonito Donaire (17-1, 10) Vs Vic Darchinyan (28-0, 22)
In one corner was the "Raging Bull" Vic Darchinyan, an unbeaten Australian based Armenian fighter who had been ripping up the Flyweight division. The Darchinyan wasn't just 28-0 but had been destroying his competition. He had claimed the IBF title in 2004, when he stopped the then 30-0 Irene Pacheco and had made 6 defenses of the title. From those 6 defenses 5 were by stoppage with the one decision being a technical decision over Donaire's brother Glenn Donaire. The 31 year old was aggressive, strong, tough and in great form with some even ranking him in the pound for pound rankings.
Not only was Darchinyan destructive but he was lout, brash, arrogant and getting the Flyweight division a lot of attention outside of the usual markets for the little men, Asia and Latin America.
Whilst Darchinyan was seen as a star of the lower weights not too much was known about the 24 year old Nonito Donaire. He had mostly been fighting as a Super Flyweight but dropped the extra 3lbs to face off with Darchinyan and had lost once, early in his career. Although Donaire was a Filipino he had fought most of his career in the US, but had done so against some relatively weak opposition. In his first 18 bouts the most noteworthy opponent he had faced was probably Ilido Julio, a one time fringe contender, or Kaichon Sor Vorapin, who had fought for a world title in 2005. Neither of whom were particularly notable.
Donaire was seen as the next victim for Darchinyan. The next man for him to chew up and spit out as he continued to steamroll his way into the bigger money fights. Despite that being the view going in no one had managed to convince Donaire that he was there to lose.
From the opening round it was clear Donaire was full of confidence, starting fairly fast and letting his shots go early. It was an unexpected tactic from Donaire, but one that seemed to make a statement of intent. Darchinyan might be the man with the reputation as the danger man but Donaire was going to try to bully the bully. Dachinyan had moments in the first round, but it was a much better round for Donaire than the unbeaten champion.
Despite the good opening round from Donaire we saw Darchinyan start to work his way into the bout. Donaire continued to punish Darchinyan in the second round, though it was a competitive bout as Darchinyan started to find something of a groove. Round 3 however was a very comfortable one from Donaire who was landing big counters when Darchinyan rushed in and controlled the tempo at range without taking the risks he had in the early rounds. The most notable thing about round 3 however was that we saw Darchinyan rocked, hard, by a left hook.
Sporting a cut from round 3 Darchinyan was in a hole as we entered round 4, and unfortunately for the champion he was being timed and countered over and over. Worryingly for Darchinyan his much relied upon left hand was landing but having no effect at all on Donaire, who was taking things with no issue at all.
Darchinyan continued to struggle in round 5, being picked off by some very solid shots. Despite them landing clean Darchinyan was taking them well. And then he didn't.
Midway through round 5 Darchinyan rushed in and was caught by an absolute beauty of a left hook. He hit the canvas hard but managed to get back to his feet just as the referee counted 7, stumbling head first into the ropes as he did so. Moments later Darchinyan was flat back on his back. Although he had got to his feet he hadn't been able to remain on them. Soon afterwards he had his team around him whilst Donaire and his team celebrated.
Amazing since this bout both men have done great things. Donaire is still a relevant fighter today, reaching the WBSS Bantamweight more than 12 years after this win. By the time he had that WBSS final had won world titles up to Featherweight and almost certainly booked a place in the Hall of Fame.
As for Darchinyan he went on to unify the 3 major titles at Super Flyweight, and was a notable contender at Bantamweight. His last fight came in 2017, when he was 41 and although perhaps not a popular choice, he certainly deserves to find his name on the ballot, in the future, for the Hall of Fame.
Over the last few days we've worked our way through the top 10 rankings for the Asian scene at Minimumweight through to Super Flyweight and today we add the Bantamweight rankings, and this is one of the divisions with incredible depth. We feel the #1 is a consensus pick, #2 and #3 are interchangeable and then the other 7 are a mix of really talented fighters in one of the most packed top 10's that we'll be covering. There could be some debate about the placements, but in reality there's not a lot separating some of these guys. However, that's not a bad thing, and it helps show the competitive nature of the division right now.
1-Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16)
The current WBA "Super" and IBF unified champion champion is arguably the face of Asian boxing right now, Naoya Inoue. The heavy handed 27 year old from Kanagawa is already a 3 weight world champion and within just 19 fights is one of the sports genuine stars. After winning world titles at Light Flyweight and Super Flyweight Inoue moved to Bantamweight and decimated Jamie McDonnell, Juan Carlos Payano and Emmanuel Rodriguez, before working hard to defeat Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Finale last November. The bout against Donaire saw Inoue needing to prove his toughness, chin and will to win and proving them in the way he did really boosted his standing in our eyes, and he answered some real questions. Having now shown he can fight through adversity we know Inoue is much, much more than just an offensive "Monster".
2-Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26)
Having given Inoue such a tough bout in the WBSS final it's fair to suggest that Nonito Donaire is #2, or at worst #3, in division in regards to Asian fighters. The 37 year old Filipino veteran is a physical monster at the weight, with huge size advantages over almost everyone else at 118lbs. He's not just big but he's also strong, very powerful, incredibly tough and a nightmare to fight. He's not as quick as he once was, though as he's lost speed he has adapted and certainly throws fewer wild shots than he once did. There is a case of father time being on his back, but the "Filipino Flash", is experienced, skilled, strong, and has become a more intelligent fighter as the years have gone on. We don't imagine he'll have a Bernard Hopkins-esque career, but he did show there is more than just a bit of life left in his career.
3-John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20)
We mentioned that Donaire was either #2 or #3, the man he is potentially interchangeable with is WBO champion John Riel Casimero. Casimero is a 3-weight world champion, and is someone who has long been over-looked by fans of the sport. He's won titles at at 108lbs, 112lbs and now Bantameight. Blessed with confidence, speed and power Casimero is nightmare to face when he's on song. He is however rather unpredictable and he can look both amazing and terrible in the same fight. He won the WBO title last year, stopping Zolani Tete, and seems to be enjoying a good run of form, though that could change at any moment. Originally the plan had been for Casimero to face off with Inoue in April though that bout was cancelled by on going global situation. Now it appears the two men could end up going in different directions with Casimero now looking likely to face Joshua Greer Jr, in a mandatory title defense instead.
4-Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13)
After the top 3 we end up with 4 or 5 guys who are very tricky to split, and matching any of them would give some compelling bouts. Among those "chasing group" is OPBF champion Keita Kurihara, a hard hitting 27 year from Japan. On paper Kurihara shouldn't be here, with 5 losses from his 20 bouts, however those losses don't tell the full story of where Kurihara is now. In fact 4 of his losses came in his first 7 bouts and he has only been beaten once in his last 13, with that coming to Hiroaki Teshigawara. In that time he has beaten Ryan Lumacad, Yuki Strong Kobayashi, Warlito Parrenas and Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. He's not the most talented of the ones in this area of the rankings, through he is very much among the most dangerous.
5-Reymart Gaballo (23-0, 20)
The most overlooked man in the division, by some margin, is 23 year old Filipino Reymart Gaballo. Gaballo is a joy to watch, but also a freakishly good fighter with some absolutely terrifying traits. He's lightning quick, tall and rangy, with frightening power, very confident and despite look a bit raw around the edges appears to take a good shot, and throw and even better one. His best win to date is probably over Stephon Young, more than 2 years ago, and since then has been supposedly decent opponents. We're really looking forward to seeing the leash being off Gaballo and allowing him to back up our high ranking of him as he looks like the sort of fighter who really could stamp his authority on the division.
6-Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3)
Naoya Inoue's little brother, Takuma Inoue, is pretty much the opposite of Keita Kurihara. Whilst Kurihara is all about power Inoue at the cost of skills Takuma Inoue is very much about skills and movement, at the expense of his power. He's a smart boxer-mover, with under-defense, very good movement and sharp punches, but a lack of punching power a strange lack of physical strength, despite visibly looking strong. His 2019 loss to Nordine Oubaali saw him being bullied for much of the fight, though his will to win shined through late on and he pushed Oubaali hard late on, answer questions about his heart and his stamina. We do wonder whether he could drop back down to Super Flyweight, where he fought earlier in his career. If he could he would a great addition there, but instead might find his success being a bit limited at Bantamweight. Saying that however he's only 24 and is still a boxing baby, despite being a pro since 2013. He might not be the generational talent that his older brother is, but don't write him off at after just a single loss.
7-Nawaphon Por Chokchai (48-1-1, 38)
Former Flyweight world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai, also known by various other names, has reeled off 12 wins since being stopped by Juan Hernandez back in 2017. Whilst his competition hasn't been the best he has scored notable victories over Amnat Ruenrroeng, Richard Claveras, Sonny Boy Jaro and Ryan Lumacad since his sole defeat, putting him back among the contenders looking for a shot. His record is padded, but watching him, you know he can step it up and would be a nightmare for many of the divisional elite. Some how he's only 28 at the moment, and right bang in his prime, despite already having 50 bouts to his name. Another fighter we can't right off for just having a loss against his name.
8-Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20)
There's an argument that 27 year Filipino Michael Dasmarinas should be much higher up this list, and we do appreciate those arguments. Wins over Karim Guerfi and Kenny Demecillo are very good wins. Sadly however we can't the gift he got against Manyo Plange out of our head, and his win over Demecillo was certainly not the clear cut win that many would have expected for a supposed top divisional talent. He's skilled and talented, but we do wonder if he has maybe hit an early peak and is now, perhaps, heading the wrong way. He's been a sparring partner for both of the Inoue brothers, and is technically a mandatory for the IBF title, but we do wonder whether he'd last long with the Monster if, or when, they fight.
9-Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7)
Japanese national champion Yusuke Suzuki is another fighter with a record looks out of place in this top 10, but he certainly belongs here. He would also be an absolute nightmare for many in the rankings. The 31 year old southpaw is a solid puncher, teak tough, with an insane work rate and excellent will to win. He can be out boxed, and he cant be out manoeuvred, but but he's a dark horse in the division and certainly deserves a mention. Last time out he over-came some awful facial swelling to out point Yuta Saito. To date he has only lost once at the weight, and that was a split decision in the Philippines to the touted Jeffrey Francisco. Since then he has reeled off 5 wins and come back from a nasty injury. He's not in the mix for the higher positions but is pretty much interchangeable with the man ranked #9.
10-Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9)
Another fight who's record doesn't scream "top 10" is Yuki Strong Kobayashi, who is in the list due to his recent results. In the last 60 months he had gone 6-1 (3) with his only loss being a close one to Keita Kurihara. In that same time he has beaten Satoshi Ozawa, Vicent Astrolabio and Ben Mananquil. The win over Mananquil saw him net the WBO Asia Pacific title and score a recent big surprise last year over the talented Filipino. Kobayashi has improved from the fighter he once was, and when he was 10-7 (5) his career very much seemed like it was going nowhere but the 28 year old is now an experienced regional champion and with Muto gym well and truly behind him his future is bright. He's not near the top of this list, but certainly belongs on it. A rematch between him and Kurihara would be good, as would a bout with Suzuki.
On the Bubble:
Ben Mananquil, Kenny Demecillo, Renz Rosia, Yelshat Nikhemttolla, Petch Sor Chitpatttana, and Carl Jammes Martin
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Kazakhstan's first world champion Vasily Jirov....and Filipino great Manny Pacquiao.
1-As the IBF Cruiserweight champion Vasily Jirov was the first Kazakh to win a world title, but he isn't the only world champion from Kazakhstan, another is Middleweight great Gennady Golovkin.
2-On April 25th 2009 Gennady Golovkin recorded his 16th professional win, stopping Anthony Greenidge in 5 rounds. The main event of that card saw Felix Sturm retain the WBA Middleweight title as he stopped Japanese challenger Koji Sato, who had entered the bout 14-0 (13)
3-Not many Japanese fighters fighters make their debut in the US, though Koji Sato did actually did begin on US soil when he made his debut in 2005, stopping Francisco Valdez in Las Vegas on his debut. Another Japanese fighter who debuted on US soil was Yasutsune Uehara, who debuted in Honolulu in 1972, in fact his first 5 professional bouts were all fought at the Honolulu International Center.
4-In 1980 Yasutsune Uehara claimed the WBA Super Featherweight title for Japan by defeating Samuel Serrano with a 6th round KO win in Detroit. The win was the Ring Magazine Upset of the Year for 1980
5-Another Ring Magazine Upset of the Year saw a then unbeaten Vic Darchinyan being stopped in 5 rounds by a then unknown Nonito Donaire, who put himself on the map with this win, in a big way, and claimed the 2007 Upset of the Year.
6-Nonito's Donaire's win over Darchinyan wasn't just the Upset of the Year, in the eyes of Ring Magazine, but also KO of the year. With that KO Donaire become the second Filipino to win the KO of the Year award, following on from Morris East who win it in 1992 when he stopped Akinobu Hiranaka. The only other Filipino to hold the award is the legendary Manny Pacquiao taking us all the way through to the iconic Pacman.
As an aside Pacquiao has been on both sides of the of KO of the Year. His KO over Ricky Hatton saw Pacquiao win the KO of the Year award, whilst his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth bout saw him on the receiving end of the KO of the Year.
Following his win this past weekend the big question now is, what is next for WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). Obviously he called out Naoya Inoue, but that certainly isn't the only for the hard hitting Filipino, who has a lot of potential fighters looking in his direction.
With that in mind we will look at Five For... John Riel Casimero, with Inoue being one of the 5 fighters we'll look at, alongside the WBO mandatory challenger and other interesting potential foes.
1-Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16)
The obvious choice for Casimero is, Naoya Inoue, the man he called out after his win over Tete. The bout would be a huge all-Asian unification bout that could take either side of the Pacific. In Japan the bout would be a huge follow up to Inoue's win over Donaire in the WBSS final, whilst in the US it would be a monster introduction for US fans to the winner in Inoue's Top Rank debut. Obviously Inoue would be the favourite, but Casimero has regularly been the under-dog and hasn't cared about his opponent being the favourite. This could be mouth watering, but really depends on which Casimero turns up.
2-Joshua Greer, Jr (22-1-1, 12)
Loud, brash and confident American Joshua Greer is the #1 contender to Casimero and the WBO title, and is the Inoue bout can't come off, for whatever, then Gree is the man Casimero should be looking to face as quickly as possible. A win over Greer would get rid of him as the mandatory challenger and help to further enhance Casimero's reputation as a road warrior. If we're being completely honest we don't see Gree being competitive over a half focused Casimero, though of course seeing Casimero fighting at less than half of his best is never a surprise. Gree has managed to create plenty of hype with his pillow gimmick, and we suspect that if he got in the ring with Casimero he'd need the pillow himself, rather early on.
3-Jason Moloney (20-1, 17)
The well travelled Casimero has genuinely fought all over the place, but has yet to pick up a stamp from Australia on his well used passport. A trip "down under" to face the talented and heavy handed Jason Moloney would certainly be an interesting assignment, and would come against a legit top level opponent. Moloney proved his ability in 2018, when he beat Kohei Kono and the lost a hotly contested bout with Emmanuel Rodriguez, and would make for a fantastic opponent for Casimero. This wouldn't be as high profile as Inoue or Greer, but from a neutral point of view this would be a brilliant match up between heavy handed and talented fighters.
4-Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26)
One thing we still don't get enough of is All-Filipino world title bouts, and yet we have to truly top level Filipino Bantamweights, both of which are at an interesting cross roads and both are seemingly interested in a future showdown with the same man. Why not have them face off? Both Casimero and Nonito Donaire have made it clear they want to face Inoue down the line, and whilst Donaire has just faced the Monster he wants to go again, and Casimero has made his intention clear. A bout between the two wouldn't just be an Inoue eliminator but would also be a potentially explosive clash between two very heavy handed fighters. This could be made in either the Philippines, in what could be sold as Donaire's last bout, or in the US, with Casimero looking to boost his profile and Donaire being seen as the perfect foil. It would be a potential passing of the torch for Casimero, or one more final hurrah for the Filipino Flash.
5-Jonas Sultan (16-5, 10) II
A left of field choice, but maybe a more personal one for Casimero, would be a rematch with fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan. In 2017 Casimero was out pointed by Sultan in a Super Flyweight world title eliminator, and suffered his first, and only, loss to a fellow Filipino fighter. The bout saw Casimero look totally off, and the cards of Carl Zappia and Glenn Trowbridge really were both kind to Casimero who never looked good at any point against Sultan. Since then Sultan has gone 2-2 and looks like a fighter who has peaked and is on his way down, whilst Casimero looks to be having an Indian summer of sorts. The loss is one that looks wrong on Casimero's record, and the only one which has come to someone who has never won a world title. He has a chance to avenge it, and why wait? Yes this is much less high profile and big name, but we certainly see the appeal of this bout, if Casimero wants to get revenge for what happened in their first bout.
Just over a week ago we saw Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) put in one of the best performances of his career, despite suffering a loss to Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue. The Filipino icon, even in his mid 30's, proved that he could hang with the very, very best in the sport and showed that he was still a sensational fighter, who is durable, has an incredible will to win, and can bang with the best of them with both the right hand and the left hook.
Given Donaire's performance it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him continue his career, even at age when most Bantamweights would be hanging them up and enjoying retirement. With that in mind it seems a perfect time to look at Five For...Nonito Donaire
1-Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3)
Having just lost to Takuma Inoue's older brother, Naoya Inoue, in the WBSS final what better bout than to take on Takuma Inoue, and try to get revenge over the Inoue family. Interestingly these two are next to each other in the recent WBC rankings, with Donaire being #4 and Inoue being #5, and both men will be looking to rebound from a loss with a big win to remain in the title mix. This would obviously be a massive ask for Inoue, though after the damage Donaire took against the "Monster" it may be the perfect time to take him on.
2-Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21)
Whilst Donaire might be wanting to secure a win against a big name on his return to the ring a bout with Aston Palicte would have more than enough intrigue, and would also be a very winnable all-Filipino clash for Donaire. The "Filipino Flash" would have the edge in almost every area, though Palicte is a big, solid Super Flyweight and could well end up suiting the Bantamweight division better than the 115lbs weight class. For "Mighty" the need to get a major bout is certainly there, and a fight with Donaire ticks that box.
3-Rau'shee Warren (16-3-0-1, 4)
After going in with one of the hard hitters in the sport, pound for pound, Donaire doesn't need to face another killer, and instead could look at facing a known name who is also looking for a big win. There's few better choices for that than 3-time Olympian Rau'shee Warren. Stylistically this could be a very tough one for Donaire, but it's not one where he's going to end up being banged up. Warren, now 32 years old, hasn't fought since losing to Nordine Oubaali in January and perhaps now, as he heads to his 33rd birthday, would be the perfect time for Donaire to strike.
4-Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) II
Hey we loved it the first time so why not do it again, on US soil! A rematch between Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue might not be great for either man's health, but Inoue Vs Donaire II would do great business, no matter where it was held. On the back of a 2019 Fight of the Year contender the two men both have things to prove against each other. With Donaire knowing he can hurt Inoue the Filipino would likely love to test himself against the "Monster" again whilst Inoue will look to stop the man he regards to highly. From a fan perspective this his as high profile a bout as either man will get, but is one that is perhaps seen as being unneeded punishment for both men.
5-Prince Patel (21-1-1, 16)
As one of the true good guys of boxing we doubt anyone would ever complain about Nonito Donaire riding into the sunset of retirement on the back of a rare easy fight. If anyone deserves one it's Donaire? So a bout between the sport's classiest act an one of boxing's most unlikeable fighters would make for a compelling dynamic, and there are few people in the sport who rub up people in the same was as Englishman Prince Patel. Patel is a read loud mouth, a man who's mouth writes cheque's that everyone know he lacks the skills to back up, and seeing him go up against the Filipino Flash would just give us an another sub-story to what could be Donaire's final bout.
On November 7th Nonito Donaire will have one of, if not the, biggest fight of his career as he takes on Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue in Japan. The bout, the WBSS Bantamweight final, is expected to have more than 10,000,000 tuning in on TV in Japan alone, and more than 20,000 people in attendance.
Of course, with Donaire being such a big name, and such a well known boxing figure we seem to think that fans know a lot about the "Filipino Flash". Despite that, we've tried to come up with 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Nonito Donaire.
1-Donaire comes from a real boxing family. His brother is Glenn Donaire and his cousin is Richard Donaire, both of whom were professional fighters and his father, Nonito Donaire Sr, was an amateur boxer in the 1990's
2-He attended the same school as Manny Pacquiao
3-Although not well known for his amateur career Donaire actually went 68-8 in the unpaid ranks. Nonito and his brother Glenn Donaire, both took part in the 2000 US Olympic Trials at 48KG's and both were beaten by Karoz Norman and Brian Viloria. Notably they didn't actually face each other though.
4-One other note about his amateur career comes from 1999, when he competed at the Junior Olympic International Tournament. At the tournament Donaire would go on to win the 48KG tournament, among other winners at this competition was Andre Ward, who won the 67KG tournament and the once touted Francisco Bojado, who was victorious at 57KG.
5-With Donaire now set to face Naoya Inoue, in what will be Donaire's Japanese debut, it's interesting to note that he has often visited Japan and is a manga and anime fan. Although his fight with Inoue will be his first bout in Japan he has trained in the country a number of times, and is well regarded in Japanese boxing circles. He's also known to read Hajime No Ippo and has met it's creator George Morikawa, who actually did the second Naoya Inoue Ring Magazine cover!
6-Donaire was the first Asian fighter to claim a world title from all 4 major world title bodies. He won his first IBF title in 2007, his first WBO in 2011, along with his first WBC, and would add a WBA title in 2014. In fact to date Donaire has won 2 IBF titles, 3 WBO, 1 WBC and 2 WBA titles!
7-Donaire featured in an energy drink advert for Cobra Energy Drink in the Philippines, in which he beat up a robot, and an advert for a water product too
8-Donaire also has an acting credit from a movie to his name for his role in "Palad ta ang nagbuot", where he plays a major part. We've included a trailer from this movie below, where you can see Donaire's acting at work.
9-Fellow Filipino-American Nump, recorded a song "Filipino Flash" about Donaire, who was in the music video for the track. As with the trailer for the movie we mentioned, this can also be seen below.
10-As well as being a world class boxer and his acting credit, Donaire is also a talented photographer, and has been known to take ringside photographs for publications in the past.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).