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Nonito Donaire becomes boxing’s oldest bantamweight champion

At 38 years old, Nonito Donaire once again becomes a world champion.

Donaire made history by winning the World Boxing Council World Bantamweight Championship after a sensational fourth round knockout win against previously-unbeaten Nordine Oubaali, Sunday afternoon (Manila time) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

After a dominant third round, the fighter known as the “Filipino Flash” went for the finish. Connecting on crisp combinations, Ouballi tried to weather the storm, but to no avail.

A left hook onto a falling and cornered Ouballi with 1:14 left in the fourth stanza forced referee Jack Reiss to wave off the bout.

Nonito-Donaire-def-Nordine-Oubaali-2 Nonito Donaire becomes boxing's oldest bantamweight champion Boxing News  - philippine sports news

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

“I believe that it matters not what your age is; it matters how you are mentally, how strong you are mentally,” said Donaire, who erased compatriot Gerry Penalosa’s record in the division.

Penalosa was previously the oldest bantamweight to win a world title. He defeated Jhonny González to win the WBO belt at the age of 35 back in August of 2007.

Donaire was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Naoya Inoue back in November of 2019. He reclaimed the bantamweight belt he last wore back in 2011.

The Filipino living legend went up to 41-6 while scoring his 27th career knockout.

Oubaali, who went undefeated in his first 17 career bouts, found early success during a cerebral opening round.

Donaire found his footing in the second round, though, evening things out courtesy of his counter punching.

Come the third round, Donaire targetted Oubaali’s body capped by a stinging left hook that crumbled the champion. Another left hook after Oubaali recovered stunned him, while a clock-beating shot knocked the Frenchman down once more.

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An all-Filipino bout between interim WBC champion Reymart Gaballo is now a possibility for Donaire. Also in the mix are compatriot and WBO counterpart Johnriel Casimero or another match-up against WBA/IBF/The Ring champion Inoue.

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