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Nonito Donaire knocks out Nordine Oubaali and Father Time Saturday

Written By | May 30, 2021
Nonito Donaire (left) became a world banntamweight champion for the third time with his defeat of Nordine Oubaali. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Boxing

Nonito Donaire (left) became a world banntamweight champion for the third time with his defeat of Nordine Oubaali. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Boxing

SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 29, 2021 –  Nonito Donaire is giving Father Time the fight of his life. The 38-year-old veteran delivered his best performance in years, knocking down Nordine Oubaali of France (17-1, 12 KOs) three times en route to a fourth-round knockout victory. Donaire (41-26, 27 KOs) wins the WBC World Bantamweight title.

“The King has returned!” laughed Donaire, thanking the fans in Carson for providing an appreciative audience at a familiar venue.

"The King has returned!" said Nonito Donaire after his victory. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

“The King has returned!” said Nonito Donaire after his victory. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

“Father Time is on my side and will always be. The human body is an incredible machine if we take care of it. Taking care of our body allows us to be as strong as our minds can be,” said Donaire. No one’s going to argue with him after watching his performance.

Donaire didn’t appear to lose a step in the 18 months since he gave Naoya Inoue the fight of his life in the 2019 Fight of the Year. It now seems ridiculous to have doubted him. Confident and composed from the opening bell against the jittery Oubaali, the outcome nearly seemed inevitable. His veteran eye sized up Oubaali after the first round, and Donaire put on a counterpunching clinic.

The counter left hook could not miss for Nonito Donaire. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

The counter left hook could not miss for Nonito Donaire. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

The first knockdown came with 45 seconds left in the third round from a hard left hook. Oubaali beat the count, only to get hit with the same punch a second time. It came right at the bell. Oubaali fell forward. Referee Jack Reiss correctly cleared the ring, counted Ouballi down, and let him return to his corner.

Donaire made it stick with a left uppercut to end the fight on his terms at 1:54 of round four. There was no doubt Oubaali wouldn’t get up this time.

“Being at this age is really not the question. It’s my performance. It’s my ability to grow,” said Donaire. “It matters not what your age is, but how strong you are mentally. What I learned from Inoue is I’m back, because I was competitive with him. I’m ready for the next one.

“I know what his pattern was,” explained Donaire. “I knew exactly what he was going to do. He was showing his disadvantage in terms of his weakness, so I could counter him properly with the left hook.” It was the first loss of Oubaali’s career and the first knockdowns. Donaire admitted after the fight he injured his hand, but he didn’t care with the win in his sights.

Nonito Donaire says his next goal is to unify titles in the bantamweight division. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

Donaire says he now has one final goal before closing out his boxing career: unifying the bantamweight division. “That’s my next goal. The only thing I have not accomplished is becoming undisputed. I’m going to get there,” declared Donaire, which could put him on a collision course toward a rematch with current champion Naoya Inoue.

Donaire used the platform to issue a message against Asian-American racism, wearing a “Stop Asian Hate” t-shirt into the ring.

“My father is very afraid to go out. I want to make that statement. We can help each other. Let’s stop the hate,” said Donaire. Amen.

READ MORE: Devin Haney gets hard-won victory over Jorge Linares

Matias vs Jukembayev delivers a Carson classic

Subriel Matias didn't let up until Batyr Jukembayev's corner was forced to stop the bout. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

Subriel Matias didn’t let up until Batyr Jukembayev’s corner was forced to stop the bout. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

In the co-main event, Subriel Matias of Puerto Rico (17-1, 17 KOs) battled Batar Jukembayev of Kazakhstan (18-1, 14 KOs) in a Carson classic, forcing trainer Manny Robles to ask the fight be stopped after the eighth round giving Matias the TKO win in the IBF junior welterweight title eliminator.

No one expected this fight to reach the final bell, including the two combatants. Matias had the edge on speed and volume punching, with Jukembayev leaning on accuracy and power. Matias gained steam on his shots as the fight progressed, and it was a classic of center canvas offense.

Matias caught Jukembayev halfway into the fourth round, landing a hard left hook behind a lead right, sitting the Kazakh down hard to the canvas. Matias let it rip to the delight of the Carson fans. Jukembayev remained dangerous with the left hand, but the work rate of Matias defined offense as defense. He was relentless, teeing off when he could pin Jukembayev to the ropes. Jukembayev wasn’t going to give up his undefeated record without a battle, but his chances began fading quickly in the second half of the fight.

“He knew he had nothing to lose. He came in and was doing everything strong. He knew that all he could do was knock me out to win. I would have done the same thing. That’s a warrior’s heart and he has all my respect,” said Matias.

“After that fourth round, he’s a very competitive fighter. It turned into a war. Hands up for him, too,” said Matias. “This one is the one that scared me the most with the battle. After the speed comes, I dominated the fight.”

Matias is coming off an impressive victory over previously undefeated Malik Hawkins, and he has rebounded well from the unfortunate fight with Maxim Dadashev in 2019, which resulted in Dadashev’s death. Matias has both the skills and the mental toughness to win.

Russell rolls over Santiago

Gary Antuanne Russell remained undefeated with his win over Jovanie Santiago. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

Gary Antuanne Russell of Maryland (14-0, 14 KOs) remained undefeated and maintained his 100% knockout rate in the Showtime opener, delivering a nonstop assault against a tough but outgunned Jovanie Santiago of Puerto Rico (14-2-1. 10 KOs). Santiago’s corner stopped the bout after the sixth round to save their man from any more punishment.

Russell, age 24, the younger brother of WBC World Featherweight champion Gary Russell Junior, had big brother and father/trainer Gary Senior in his corner directing the effort. Santiago, who lost a narrow decision to Adrien Broner in February, had all the toughness in the world but lacked the firepower to hold off Russell.

Russell caught Santiago early in the fourth round, dropping him with a body shot followed by a right hook to the chin. He couldn’t make it stick, Santiago couldn’t slow down the jab, and the power punches pouring in behind it. Russell said he’d now like his own crack at Broner.

Undercard results from Carson

Bantamweight Alejandro Santiago Barrios of Tijuana (24-2-5, 12 KOs) got the quick win courtesy of a second-round knockout over Juan Gabriel Medina of the Dominican Republic (12-7, 11 KOs).

Luis David Salazar of the Dominican Republic (15-1, 3 KOs) had his unbeaten record marred, losing his U.S. debut by an upset 8th round TKO win courtesy of Kevin Johnson of Las Vegas (9-2, 5 KOs). It was a Carson special, with four knockdowns, including two in the third, one in the seventh, and the final at 17 seconds of round eight.

Cruiserweight prospect Atif Oberlton of Philadelphia (1-0, 1 KOs) took out Larry Pryor of Frederick, Maryland (14-23, 8 KOs). At 39, Pryor was old enough to be the 22-year-old winner’s father.

Rey Diaz of Las Vegas (5-0, 2 KOs) survived a fourth-round knockdown to win the narrowest possible decision over Sergio Antonio Gonzalez of Compton (3-5, 2 KOs) in their four-round lightweight bout. All scorecards read 38-37.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2021 by Falcon Valley Group


Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.