by Chris Cella
Next Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, super bantamweight champion of the world and top-five pound for pound fighter Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire will be putting his WBO and IBF titles on the line as he goes to battle with WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion and veteran Toshiaki Nishioka.
Together, neither pugilist has felt the taste of defeat in nearly 19 years, and combined, both warriors carry a 44–bout win streak into the ring; fans can expect to see fireworks upon the commencement of the first round.
Coming into this fight fresh off a unanimous decision over Jeffrey Mathebula in July in which he dominated every round of the fight and sent his opponent to the canvas once in the fourth, Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) will be looking to use his fast hands and ability to counter to keep Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) off-balance and unable to set up his straight left.
“Training camp was excellent, we have had a lot of good sparring, and we feel great, mentally and physically,” said Donaire about preparing for his title defense against Nishioka. “We are ready for a big fight next week. We are expecting to put our game plan into work for next week and come out victorious. He (Nishioka) is a tough guy, but I think we got a great plan for this fight.”
Donaire has not experienced a loss within the squared circle since he lost a unanimous decision in only his second trip between the ropes, dating back to 2001, and although he is coming in the younger, more active fighter, he has no doubts that Nishioka will be at the top of his game next Saturday night.
“I think being older and a veteran, his record is never as bad as it seems,” Donaire commented on Nishioka’s lack of activity in recent years. “He knows how to come out and fight his fight. We won’t take any chances. At this level, even if he hasn’t fought in a while, he can fall back on experience. For this fight we are going to show that we can’t let our guard down, and are going back to old style Nonito.”
Understanding the power Nishioka possesses in his straight left, Donaire’s camp has been training to work around it and focusing on utilizing his ability to counterpunch as a key to victory.
“We come with the proper game plan; my power will be more dominant when it comes to being set up,” said Donaire. “That’s what I’m known for: lightning fast counters that knock people out because they don’t see it coming. If they can see it, they can brace for it.”
Although fans have come to love his exciting knockouts, Donaire will have his hands full with ending the night early, as Nishioka hasn’t been stopped since his second professional fight back in 1995, where he suffered a knockout loss in the last round of his four-round fight.
Donaire and his team have their game plan set in place, and next Saturday night will be about stepping between the ropes and executing against an unrelenting hard-nosed southpaw.
Going forward, Donaire admitted that his camp has discussed his moving up to the 126 pound weight class in the next year or so, though right now they are comfortable fighting at 122.
“We are going to prepare my body for it,” said Donaire. “We are looking to stay around 122 for a bit, but I can work my body to be comfortable at 126. But right now I’d fight anybody who I haven’t faced at 122 pounds at this point.”