Philippines, 29 May 2024
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LAS VEGAS--IBF flyweight king Nonito Donaire is set to defend his title today in what is going to be his final hurdle before taking on the big names in his foray into the star-studded superflyweight division next year.

The 25-year-old Donaire, nicknamed "The Filipino Flash," will defend his title against South African mandatory challenger Moruti Mthalane in a 12-round brawl co-headlining the "Final Impact" card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center here.

Solar Sports and CS-9 will air the fights starting 10AM today (RP time).

Donaire (19-1, 12 KO's), wearing a handsomely-tailored Arthro Kontra Arthritis jacket before stepping on the scales, came in at a perfect 112 lbs, while Moruti (22-1, 15 KO's)followed shortly after and checked in at 111 lbs during official weigh-in held yesterday at the J-Pop lounge of the Mandalay Bay.

Shortly after his trip to the scales, the Filipino boxing star and Moruti posed for photographers, although they did away with the usual trash talking prevalent in most high-profile fights here. Donaire then immediately took some bites of ripe bananas and orange juice prepared for him by his team, which includes renowned trainer Nonito Donaire Sr.

"This time, I am not really having a very hard time making weight. I had enough time to do it," Donaire told this writer prior to the official weigh-in attended by promoter Bob Arum and hosted by Lupe Contreras.

The main event features "Son of the Legend" Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in an anticipated rematch with Matt Vanda.

Popular Mexican Jorge "Travieso" Arce, the reigning WBA interim superflyweight champion, will also defend his title against Isidro Garcia over twelve.

If both Donaire and Arce come out victorious in today's fights, Top Rank plans to pit the two fighters sometime next year. Donaire is also looking at possible marquee fights against top superflyweight fighters WBC/WBA champ Cristian Mijares, IBF titleholder Vic Darchinyan, and WBO ruler Fernando Montiel.

Mijares and Darchinyan are also set to trade punches today in a WBC/WBA/IBF unification showdown in California, with the winner expected to be pitted against Donaire if he wins against Mthalane today.

Donaire is set to return to the Philippines for a much-deserved vacation after this fight, said his trainer/father Nonito Sr.

The young fighter, who will be wearing a white-and-red trunks with "Arthro" embossed across the back, goes into today's battle with his whole family behind him including his mother, sister, and a brother.

Working the young champion's corner today will be his father, ex-WBA junior welter king Morris East, and a younger brother.

Top photo: Nonito Donaire, Jr. (L) and Moruti Mthalane pose during yesterday's official weighin held at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

Donaire posed with he author before yesterday's weighin.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Salven L. Lagumbay.

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