STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART LII: NONITO DONAIRE WINS WORLD FLYWEIGHT TITLE VIA RING'S 2007 KNOCKOUT AND UPSET OF THE YEAR
By Maloney L. Samaco
Tue, 23 Jun 2020
Nonito Donaire, Jr. was born November 16, 1982 (now age 37) in Talibon, Bohol, the third of four children to Nonito Donaire, Sr. from South Cotabato and Imelda Gonzales from Talibon. His brother Glenn Donaire is also a flyweight boxer. Donaire's cousin, Richard Donaire, is likewise a professional boxer who fought in the superflyweight division.
When he was six years old, Donaire lived in General Santos City, South Cotabato and was enrolled in the same elementary school of eight weight division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Donaire's father Nonito Sr. was also an amateur fighter who boxed in the United States in the early 1990s. His paternal grandfather was born in Hawaii and this entitled Donaire to acquire his US citizenship. But he still uses the moniker "The Filipino Flash".
Donaire joined his father in 1993, at the age of eleven in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. They transferred residence to San Leandro, California then to San Mateo County, California.
When he enrolled at the San Lorenzo High School in San Lorenzo, California, Donaire won several regional and district amateur boxing championships.
In the amateur ranks, Donaire won three U.S. national championships, the 1998 National Silver Gloves, the 1999 National Junior Olympics and the 2000 National USA Tournament. He also won the 1999 International Junior Olympics gold medal. Donaire complied an amateur record of 68 - 8 with 5 stoppages.
In 2001, Donaire and his brother Glenn became professional boxers. In his professional debut, he defeated Mexico's Jose Lazaro by 1st round KO at 1:46 mark on February 22, 2001 at the Hollywood Park Racetrack, Inglewood, California.
On March 10 2001, via a controversial unanimous decision, Donaire lost his second fight against American Rosendo Sanchez at the Pacific Sports Center, Vallejo, California.
In his third fight, he outpointed Saul Santoyo of USA by unanimous decision on June 8, 2001, at the Hollywood Park Racetrack, Inglewood, California.
Mexico's Jose Luis Torres was his next victim whom he stopped by an impressive 1st round TKO on July 3, 2001 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Monterey, California.
After four professional bouts, Donaire and his brother left their contracts with Kallen and returned to Manila and then to San Leandro, where there were fewer distractions.
In his first professional fight in his native land, he stopped Noel Alma by 2nd round TKO on May 31, 2002 at the Elorde Sports Complex, Parañaque.
On September 9, 2002 at the University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam, Donaire won his first regional title, the vacant WBO Asia Pacific flyweight title, knocking out Kaichon Sor Vorapin in the second round.
On November 2, 2002, he defeated Mark Sales by UD in 8 rounds at the Joe Cantada Boxing Arena, Taguig City.
Donaire's next victim was Mexico's Jorge Lopez by a devastating TKO at 1:43 of the 1st round on June 27, 2003 at the Mare Island Sports Center, Vallejo, California.
Another Mexican Ricardo Barrera fell at the hands of "The Filipino Flash" by 4th round TKO on June 18, 2004 at Quiet Cannon, Montebello, California.
He followed this up by a unanimous decision win over Mexico's Gilberto Bolanos on November 12, 2004 on the same venue.
Another KO victim was Paulino Villalobos of Mexico by 6th round TKO on May 13, 2005 at the Civic Auditorium, San Jose, California.
He decisioned American Larry Olveraby UD on July 2, 2005 at the Events Center, Reno, Nevada.
On October 1, 2005 he knocked out Mexico's Daniel Gonzalez at 2:19 of the 1st round also at the Events Center, Reno, Nevada.
Nonito's 13th win was a UD victory over Colombia's Ilido Julio on November 5, 2005 at the Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada.
On January 20, 2006, Donaire won his second regional title, the NABF super flyweight title, by defeating Kahren Harutyunyan of Armenia by a split decision. The scores were Mexican Jose Cobian saw it 97–92 and Jose Cobian of USA scored it 97–92 for Donaire while American Tony Castellano had it 95–94 for Harutyunan who went down in the 2nd round.
On October 7, 2006, Donaire defeated Oscar Andrade of Mexico by 118–109, 116–112, and 116–112 unanimous decision at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada.
Then he annihilated American Kevin Hudgins at 2:29 of the 1st round in a scheduled eight rounder on May 12, 2007 at the Events Center, Reno, Nevada.
On July 7, 2007, Donaire became a world champion when he won the IBF and IBO flyweight titles with a one-punch, fifth-round knockout of the then undefeated Vic Darchinyan at The Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Connecticut. This victory was awarded The Ring Magazine's "Knockout of the Year" and "Upset of the Year".
Darchinyan, the Armenian fighter who is now living in Australia, was heavily favored to win. But he barged into the Filipino Flash's counter left hook that was more like a left cross and was knocked out.
After 4 rounds, the three American judges scored it very close overall, although Steve Epstein had given all 4 to Donaire, the others John McKaie and Don Trella had it 2-2.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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