The four-division world champion cements his Hall of Fame credentials with a sensational knockout victory to become champion once more Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.
The wars have caused the skin around Nonito Donaire’s eyes to be paper thin. A good wind could open a cut. “The Filipino Flash” is a little fleshy around the middle. He’s 38, it’s what gradually happens through time. But nothing can ever scratch his heart.
Nothing ever has.
So, on Saturday night, Donaire became a bantamweight world champion for a third time when he stopped Nordine Oubaali at 1:52 of the fourth round to win the WBC World Bantamweight belt on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing presented by Premier Boxing Champions from the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson, California.
Fighting for the first time in 18 months since his heroic loss to Naoya Inoue, Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) knocked down Oubaali (17-1, 12 KOs) twice in the third round and ended the fight in the fourth on the third knockdown with a devastating left uppercut. In winning, the future Hall of Famer broke his own record by becoming the oldest fighter to ever win a world bantamweight champion.
“The king has returned,” the triumphant Donaire said. “Being at this age is really not the question, it’s my performance. It’s the ability to grow. It doesn’t matter what your age is, it’s how strong you are mentally. What I learned from [Naoya] Inoue is I’m back, because I know I can compete with him.
“The time I wasn’t fighting, I was learning. Father Time has been on my side. Mentally, we’re only as strong as our mind can be. I knew what his pattern was. I knew exactly what he was going to do. I was countering him, and I was able to counter him with the left hook.”
Oubaali had no idea where he was in the third round. Referee Jack Reiss kept directing the WBC bantamweight champion where to go—and he Oubaali kept looking towards Donaire’s corner. That’s because with :44 left in the third, Donaire caught Oubaali with his calling card, a short counter left hook, sending the Frenchman down for the third time in his career.
With :13 left, Donaire tagged Oubaali again with the left hook, sending him sputtering. As the bell appeared to sound to end the round, Donaire smashed him crushed Oubaali with another left hook that basically finished him.
Oubaali was an easy target in the fourth, setting up Donaire to make more history. He lined Oubaali up for a perfect uppercut while the Frenchman lay on the ropes. The bout was called moments after Oubaali hit the canvas.
“My next goal is to become undisputed,” Donaire declared. “The only thing I have not accomplished in boxing is I have been undisputed. The next phase is getting the rematch (with Inoue).”
Subriel Matias stops Batyr Jukembayev in eight
In what was a great give-and-take fight, Subriel Matias broke out in the fourth round with a knockdown, set up by a pair of rights, followed by a left hook to Batyrzhan Jukembayev’s temple with 1:41 left in the round. The Kazakhstani southpaw was lucky to get out of the round.
Four rounds later, Jukembayev didn’t when he failed to answer the bell for the ninth.
“I think this is what everybody expected,” Matias said. “Everybody knew it was going to be a great war. This was going to end by knockout whether I was going to get knocked out or Jukembayev was going to get knocked out. I’m just glad it was me who knocked him out.”
Matias (17-1, 17 KOs) established himself in the fourth with the knockdown. He dominated the fifth and sixth, landing at a high volume and causing both of Jukembayev’s eyes to swell.
“After the knockdown, to be honest with you I could see that he was still strong,” said Matias. “He was throwing punches that were still strong. I thought the fight was going to go a little bit further. But after the sixth round, that’s when I knew that I had him hurt .”
With :22 left in the seventh, Jukembayev came alive, bouncing a left off of Matias’ jaw which almost twisting him around like a top. But Matias never went down. The climatic round ended with the two of them pounding away at each other.
Now filled with confidence, Jukembayev (18-1, 14 KOs) went right back at Matias with right hooks. However, Matias poured it on, landing an assortment of punishing shots throughout the eighth. Jukembayev’s corner, led by new trainer Manny Robles, did not feel Jukembayev could continue without defending himself properly. It was a wise decision.
At the time of the stoppage, Matias had landed 234/608 (38%) total punches to Jukembayev’s 134/409 (33%).
Gary Antuanne Russell scores impressive KO win over Jovanie Santiago
Talented 24-year-old southpaw Gary Antuanne Russell (14-0, 14 KOs) went beyond four rounds for the first time in his young pro boxing career, snapping one streak. But the Capitol Heights, Maryland, native kept alive another streak by stopping the game Jovanie Santiago (14-2-1, 10 KOs) after the sixth round in what was a scheduled 10-round super lightweight match.
Russell’s skill, speed and power were evident from the opening bell. At 2:30 of the fourth, he connected with a perfect, textbook right hook on Santiago’s chin. Santiago barely survived the round, although it appeared it was a matter of time before Russell would finish him. Russell followed up in the sixth with a sledgehammer left uppercut, and again with a right hook, hurting Santiago again. Santiago’s corner wisely ended it after that round.
It was the first time Santiago had been stopped.
“The objective is to get the man out as soon as possible and come out unscathed,” Russell said. “I just want to say that Santiago was a class-A opponent. A lot of people think he beat Adrien Broner. I want Adrien Broner now.
“The importance to me is to execute round-by-round and round-by-round, I was executing more and more. My father told me to go to the body, right hook upstairs. He was open to that.”
On the undercard, junior welterweight Kevin Johnson (9-2, 5 KOs) ruined the U.S. debut of Luis Salazar (15-1, 3 KOs) with an eight-round knockout at :17. Fighting out of the Dominican Republic for the first time, Salazar was knocked down four times. Johnson won for the second-straight time. Bantamweight Alejandro Barrios (24-2-5, 13 KOs) stopped Juan Gabriel Medina (12-7, 11 KOs) at 2:59 of the second round in a scheduled eight-rounder. Philadelphia light heavyweight Atif Oberlton (2-0, 2 KOs) remained undefeated by knocking out Larry Pryor (14-24, 8 KOs) at :49 of the third round of a scheduled six-rounder. Lightweight Rey Diaz (5-0, 2 KOs) beat Sergio Gonzalez (3-5, 2 KOs) by four-round decision.
For a closer look at Oubaali vs Donaire, check out our fight night page.