Nonito Donaire makes next fight official, but will Nishioka be a true challenge?

It's not a mega-fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux or Abner Mares, but nobody can say that Nonito Donaire's upcoming contest with Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) will not be a legitimate match-up between, arguably, two of the four best junior featherweights in the world.
Confirmed by promoter Bob Arum for October 13 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs), who is the reigning WBO and IBF 122 lb. titlist, will be taking on former WBC titlist, Nishioka, for a chance at officially stepping into the number one spot in the division.
The F"ilipino Flash" is already a three-division world champ, but a win over the Japanese star on October 13 would take Donaire one step closer to becoming a true, unified champ in the junior featherweight division.
Still, it must be said that Donaire's path to unification hasn't been one likely to endear him to action-hungry fight fans.
Donaire captured the vacant WBO title against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February of this year and then, most recently, took the IBF strap in a July bout with solid, but unspectacular South African Jeffrey Mathebula. Now he faces Nishioka, who is technically the WBC's Champion Emeritus at junior featherweight, but has been unable to fight since beating Rafael Marquez in October of 2011. While nursing injury, Nishioka lost his WBC top spot to Abner Mares, but was never actually beaten for the belt he had been defending since 2009.
Thankfully, talks of a Donaire-Jorge Arce blood-letting fell apart when Arce wanted a larger slice of the revenue pie and, instead, we got the more competitive, but less spectacular fight in Donaire-Nishioka.
It's not the ideal bout fans would like to be seeing, but at least it's a nudge in the right direction from Donaire's usual cannon-fodder and/or paper-champion opponent selection.
Maybe a big win over a quality fighter like Nishioka will convince Team Donaire that he is, indeed, as good as his press clippings have made him out to be and that, yeah, he could very well beat names like Mares and Rigondeaux.
Fans have been told for years now that Donaire is the best in every division from flyweight to junior featherweight; here's hoping that "The Filipino Flash" is finally hungry enough to prove it and that Nishioka is the first step on a legitimate path to a true boxing legacy.

Tix for Donaire-Nishioka/Rios-Alvarado Go On Sale



Saturday, October 13 at The Home Depot Center 
Live on HBO® 

CARSON, CALIF. (August 15, 2012) – The Super Powers of the junior featherweight and the junior welterweight divisions will do more than flex their muscles when they battle for supremacy, mano a mano, in a sensational night of championship boxing. 

Top-Five pound for pound fighter and four-division world champion NONITO “Filipino Flash” DONAIRE (29-1, 18 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in the Bay Area of San Leandro, Calif., will risk his junior featherweight world title against fellow super bantamweight champion TOSHIAKI NISHIOKA (39-4-3, 24 KOs), of Hyogo, Japan. And in the second main event, former world lightweight champion BRANDON “Bam Bam” RIOS (30-0-1, 21 KOs), from Oxnard, Calif., will take on No. 1 contender “Mile High” MIKE ALVARADO (33-0, 23 KOs) of Denver, where undefeated records and world rankings will be at risk. Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Teiken Promotions, the Donaire vs. Nishioka / Rios-Alvarado championship doubleheader will take place Saturday, October 13 under the stars at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Both fights will be televised Live on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast.) 

These four gladiators boast a combined record of 131-5-4 (86 KOs) -- a winning percentage of 94% with 2/3 of those victories coming by way of knockout. 

Tickets for The Home Depot Center’s Donaire-Nishioka / Rios-Alvarado championship fight card go on sale Tomorrow! Thursday, August 16, at 10 a.m. PT. Priced at $150, $75 and $35, tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 888-929-7849 as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Suites are available by calling 1-877-604-8777. For discounts on groups of 10 or more, call 1-877-234-8425 or visit 

Donaire starting training for Nishioka fight

IBF/WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO’s) is starting his training for his October 13th title defense against 36-year-old former WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO’s) at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California.

Nishioka is seen by some boxing fans and writers as the best fighter in the super bantamweight division, although it’s hard to agree with that belief given how mediocre Nishioka looked recently in barely beating a badly faded Rafael Marquez last October.
If Nishioka was the best in the division, it was well before guys like Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux arrived at this weight class, because Nishioka certainly doesn’t look like the best now. Sadly, Nishioka looks like a step down for Donaire from his last two opponents Jeffrey Mathebula and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Nishioka now looks like just another beatable fighter for Donaire to pick up a ‘W’ against.

Donaire’s knockout power has seemingly disappeared on him since he moved up to the super bantamweight division in 2012. He’s fought twice at this weight and not gotten close to knocking out anyway. It’s still too early to tell for sure if Donaire’s power has abandoned him for good, but you’d have to figure that he’s not going to knockout Nishioka on October 13th and that’ll be yet another sign that Donaire doesn’t have power at this weight.

Donaire will almost surely fight 33-year-old Jorge Arce after the Nishioka fight. Although the boxing fans have already made it clear that they want to see Donaire fight Rigondeaux as their number one choice for his next fight, Donaire likely will stay with the Arce fight. I have no doubts that Donaire will beat Arce and Nishioka, because I see both of those guys as old and beatable guys. What will be interesting is to see what Donaire does then. If he chooses Rigondeaux or Abner Mares then you got to give him credit for showing a lot of courage for taking those fights, but I just don’t see that happening. My guess is Donaire will find someone else to fight at super bantamweight or he’ll move up in weight to the featherweight division where there’s a lot of paper champions holding belts. There’s one good fighter in WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido, but Donaire likely won’t take him on, because champions like Chris John and Billy Dib would be too much of an inviting target.

Rigondeaux has said he’ll be moving up in weight to follow Donaire if and when he moves up in weight in order to continue to try and force a fight, but I think he’ll be wasting his time if he does this. If Donaire wanted the fight Rigondeaux wouldn’t have to do anything because it would be offered to him. But since Donaire is continually moving the opposite direction you have to figure that the interest just isn’t there for Donaire in fighting the dangerous counter punching Rigondeaux.

Nonito Donaire vs. the best bantamweight boxers in history

How would the Filipino Flash perform against the best of the best at 118 & 122 lbs?

Nonito Donaire is one of the best and most explosive boxers in the game today. At, we have him ranked as the number 5 pound for pound boxer in the world, and some may even have him pegged a few notches higher.
Since losing the second fight of his professional career, Donaire has proven to be unstoppable, winning titles across four divisions. Currently, he's campaigning at super bantamweight, and for what it's worth, he already holds two of the four major straps in that class. In October, he'll have a chance to make it three of four, as he meets Toshiaki Nishioka.
However, Donaire has only been at bantamweight or above for five fights thus far in his career. Therefore, as he isn't firmly established historically in either division, we figured we'd put him up against some of the best from both. Would he be able to hold up against the top bantamweights and super bantamweights in boxing's history? In this piece, we'll do our best to provide the answer to that question, putting him up against five each of the best 118- and 122-pounders in history.
Two quick notes:
  1. The selected fighters aren't necessarily the top 5 in each division. They are a selected group, focusing more often than not on modern era fighters, and fighters presenting different styles and challenges.
  2. Toshiaki Nishioka is ranked at #9 on our top 10 super bantamweight list -- no need for a fantasy fight there, we'll see it in October.

Donaire vs. 5 of Boxing's Best Bantamweights

Credit: Will Hart - HBO
  • Carlos Zarate: Zarate had some of the most crushing knockout power in history. We don't really know much about Donaire's chin, but we do know that he doesn't always do great at avoiding incoming fire. He might just let his guard down against opponents when he knows he can get away with it, or he may have a problem defending himself properly when he truly needs to. As opposed to many others on this list though, Zarate's best days were squarely at 118 lbs, so at least Donaire isn't going up against a future lightweight champion. While Donaire's athleticism gives him an edge, I bet Zarate catches him, and puts the hurt on him when he does. Zarate wins via TKO
  • Eder Jofre: In 78 fights, Jofre only lost twice, to one man, and was never stopped. Therefore, I'd say Donaire would have to win a decision against him. The problem is, I don't see him being able to consistently win rounds against Jofre. In addition, Jofre could certainly turn the lights out on the Filipino Flash as well if given the chance. I think Jofre is too well-rounded, and even if Donaire got off to a fast start, Jofre would figure him out before the night was done. Jofre wins via decision
  • Manuel Ortiz: Ortiz isn't a fighter to write off, however, Donaire would come into this bout with an edge in size, power and speed. That helps him here, although he'd have no shot at stopping Ortiz, who was never kayoed in 131 bouts -- he lost once due to a fight being stopped on cuts, that's it. Even so, Donaire has enough tools in the kit to dictate the pace and distance of this fight, and land the cleaner blows. Donaire wins via decision
  • Ruben Olivares: Donaire better not let himself get caught here, that's for sure, or else he'd end up as one of the 75 or so knockout wins on the lengthy ledger of Ruben Olivares. This could end up as a very rough and tumble fight, and I think Olivares would be better equipped for that sort of contest. Olivares wins via TKO
  • Panama Al Brown: This is a terrible stylistic match-up for the Filipino Flash. Brown is 5'11" and has a 8-inch reach advantage. Oh yea, he was never stopped in 168 freakin' fights. Pretty spectacular. I just can't watch Nonito Donaire vs. Jeffrey Mathebula, and then think that he has any sort of a chance against the Panamanian legend. Brown wins via decision

Donaire vs. 5 of Boxing's Best Super Bantamweights

  • Wilfredo Gomez: Gomez was as dominant of a fighter and a champion as you're ever going to find, in any weight class. Amongst a seemingly endless string of defenses was his crushing 5th round TKO win over a 52-0 Zarate. All of his title wins at 122 lbs were by stoppage. Donaire isn't escaping that fate. Again, there is nothing that says Donaire has a bad chin. But the evidence we have says he can be hit, and Gomez is just another guy you can't afford to do that against. Gomez wins via TKO
  • Marco Antonio Barrera: The losses to Junior Jones notwithstanding, 122 pounds was Barrera's best weight. How good was the Baby Faced Assassin when that nickname was actually the perfect description of who he was? Donaire doesn't have the unbridled aggression that a peak Pacquiao did, which worked so very well against Barrera - albeit at featherweight - nor would his power deter MAB either. I like Barrera to take over this fight by the mid rounds, either bringing home a decision or scoring a late stoppage victory.Barrera wins via decision
  • Erik Morales: I'll make this one quick. Morales is too damn tough, too damn talented and too damn big for Donaire. Donaire would have to try to play keep away and win a decision, or else El Terrible lays the hammer down. Even so, Morales would be the one doing damage if Donaire adopted that tactic, which means at best he'd make it to the final bell and drop the bout on the scorecards. Morales wins via decision
  • Israel Vazquez: This would be such a fun fight. Vicious left hooks being exchanged from the opening bell, fighters hitting the deck. Vazquez is usually the prototypical fighter you wouldn't want to trade hooks with - don't hook with a hooker, ya know - but Donaire's left hook is likely a bit quicker and more explosive. Vazquez is never out until he's really out, so it's a good thing Donaire is a fantastic finisher when he has his man hurt. He better not get overconfident in those exchanges though, or else the tides would be turned. Donaire wins via TKO
  • Wilfredo Vazquez: Will the father get revenge for the son? He's certainly a more accomplished fighter than Jr., which would make this another fantastic contest. Donaire would need to be much more disciplined here than he was when he met the progeny, but I think he'd acknowledge that from the get go and respond accordingly. Donaire gets by on his athleticism and size here. Donaire wins via decision

Results: Donaire vs. the Best Bantams/Super Bantams in History

  • 3 wins (2 decisions, 1 stoppage)
  • 7 losses (4 decisions, 3 stoppages)
Be sure to chime in below with your thoughts and let us known if you agree or disagree with how the Filipino Flash would do in these mythological boxing fantasy matches with some of thebest boxers ever.

Donaire-Nishioka: Why is the Diamond super bantamweight title on the line for this fight?

The World Boxing Council has inserted themselves into the October 13th fight between IBF/WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO’s) and former WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO’s) by having the vacant WBC Diamond super bantamweight title up for grabs in this fight at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California.

The Diamond strap is a belt that is put up for grabs for a fight that is perceived as the best in the weight and right now I don’t see that Donaire OR Nishioka has proven that. It’s too premature for the WBC Diamond title to be on the line when neither fighter has taken on and beaten Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
I know the WBC wants to get their name in there for this fight, but I think the Diamond title shouldn’t be the one that they have available unless Mares and Rigondeaux had already been defeated by Donaire or Nishioka. The last time I checked, neither one of those fighters had gotten anywhere close to fighting Mares or Rigondeaux. As such, the Diamond strap is out of place being up for grabs in this fight.

It’s like someone working on an undergraduate degree and suddenly a Masters degree being plopped down in front of them when they’re looking to past one of their junior level classes. Until Donaire or Nishioka fight and beat Mares and Rigondeaux, the Diamond strap shouldn’t even be offered to them. The thing is I don’t see Nishioka or Donaire capable of beating those guys, which it even worse that the WBC has decided to make the Diamond title available for the Donaire-Nishioka fight.

To me, I think a title more befitting of the Donaire-Nishioka fight is the WBC Silver strap, and that’s it. They can have their junior level recently created trinket on the line, but not the Diamond which is supposed to be fought over by the best two fighters in the division. I don’t see Donaire the best and nor do I see the 36-year-old aging Nishioka either.

Donaire-Nishioka ticket info

Since the moment Top Rank announced a terrific Oct. 13 doubleheader at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., last week, I have been inundated with people tweeting and asking for ticket information. 
The Fight Freaks' wish is my command. 

Tickets for the HBO card, which will feature unified junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire in a defense against former titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka and junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado against former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios in what most expect to be an exceptional brawl, go on sale Thursday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. 

The tickets are priced at $150, $75 and $35 and be can be purchased online at, by phone at 888-929-7849 and at the Home Depot Center box office (Monday through Friday). 

The fight will be the second in a row for Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) at the Home Depot Center. On July 7, he unified 122-pound belts when he dropped Jeffrey Mathebula and broke his jaw en route to a unanimous decision. 

Japan's Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) hasn't lost a fight since 2004 and is on a 16-fight winning streak, despite having given up his 122-pound world title. He will be fighting in the United States for the second time in a row and for the fourth time overall. 

On paper, Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs) and Rios (30-0-1, 21 KOs) has "fight of the year" written all over it.

Donaire strong contender for Fighter of the Year

 With his successful unification of 122-pound titles from two major sanctioning bodies, Nonito Donaire Jr. is touted to be one of the front runners for the Fighter of the Year plum.

“With 2012 not quite two-thirds of the way through — and with major boxing action not set to resume until September — one favorite for 'Fighter of the Year' for the moment is Nonito Donaire,” said Boxing Scene’s David Greisman
Following his so-so performance against Omar Andres Narvaez last October, Donaire kicked off his super bantamweight campaign with a World Boxing Organization (WBO) title win over former titlist Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February.

Five months later, Donaire nabbed his second title in the super bantamweight division by taking a unanimous decision over Jeffrey Mathebula for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title.

But Greisman said Donaire will need a decisive win against the top 122-pound boxer to make a very strong case for the Fighter of the Year award.

He said Donaire will need to beat Toshiaki Nishioka.

“Toshiaki Nishioka is rated No. 1 by The Ring magazine, No. 1 by and No. 2 by,” said Greisman. “Nishioka has not suffered a defeat in more than eight years.”

A victory over Nishioka could see Donaire cap off year 2012 with his biggest win, said Greisman.
Donaire is scheduled to meet Nishioka on October 13.

Aside from the Filipino Flash's WBO and IBF titles, also at stake in the fight are the RING Magazine and the WBC Diamond titles.

Donaire to begin training for Oct. 13 bout with Japanese

World Boxing Organization/International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire is in Honolulu, Hawaii en route to his training camp at the Undisputed Gym in the Bay Area and will begin training right away for his Diamond Belt showdown with World Boxing Council super champion Toshiaki Nishioka at the Home Depot Center in Carson City, California on Oct.  13.
Donaire told the Manila Standard he will leave for Las Vegas with wife Rachel and then drive to California to begin training right away, since he may be a little behind schedule.
The four-division world champion said he would have about two months of preparation, which would be good enough because.
“I am already getting into shape fast, because I don’t do any of the bad stuff like drinking. I ran for 40 minutes this  morning and I didn’t even get tired. I know I’m going to get into shape fast and my body is accepting all the training we do,” he said.
Donaire added he is currently around 132 pounds, 10 pounds over the super bantamweight limit, which should be no problem.
The Filipino Flash is coming off a comfortable 12-round decision over South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula from whom he won the IBF title also in Carson City last month, in the process breaking his foe’s jaw in two places.
Donaire said that he is not training under Robert Garcia in Oxnard, where the latter is handling Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, who battles Mike Alvarado.
“I  have never gone to Oxnard. Robert visits us in San Carlos,” said Donaire, who revealed that he generally handles his own training and concentrates on strength and conditioning which he said “is pretty much what I do.”

Nonito Donaire vs. Toshiaki Nishioka Press Conference in Japan

A press conference was held in Tokyo today for Japanese boxing fans announcing the anticipated fight between WBO/ IBF super bantamweight Champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire and the WBC Emeritus champion Toshiaki “Speed King” Nishioka of Japan. The fight will take place on October 13th at the Home Depo Center in Carson, California.
The press conference was held at Tokyo Dome Hotel, just beside the “Tokyo Dome” where Mike Tyson lost the first fight of his career against James “Buster” Douglas in 1990. Nonito Donaire could not be in attendance, for he will start his training camp in San Francisco in a few days. But many reporters from various media showed up for the biggest ever fight announcement involving a Japanese fighter.
Here, the fight is being billed as the “Fight of the Century,” a milestone in Japanese boxing history.
One of the most respected Japanese champions of all time, Toshiaki Nishioka has been telling the media in Japan since winning his last fight with Rafael Marquez, that he was looking to face the “Filipino Flash” for his next bout; however, things didn’t initially go as planned, and he had to wait for a whole year to make that fight happen.
“Since the end of last year, I have been training for the bout with Donaire,” explained Nishioka.
“I was worried that this fight would never happen, but now that the deal has been finalized, I am excited to face him on October 13th. I have fought overseas against great fighters such asJhonny Gonzalez, [and] Rafael Marquez, but to fight Nonito Donaire motivates me more for he is known around the world as one of the top pound for pound fighters.”
Toshiaki Nishioka (Photo: BOXING MOBILE JAPAN)
Known for his killer straight left, southpaw Nishioka’s impression of Donaire is, “He has great left hook, left uppercut and he has good footwork. He’s pretty much an all-round boxer. I would like to say to Donaire that we both be at our best condition for the fight and let’s put on the best show together”
At age 36, Nishioka’s name is not well known in the States, but he can still fight. This will be the toughest test for Donaire since moving up to 122. Win or lose, if Nishioka puts on a good performance with Donaire, it will be great for Japanese boxing to be noticed by the world, especially with Ryota Murata winning the middleweight gold medal, and Satoshi Shimizu the bantamweight bronze medal for Japan in the London Olympics this month.
Donaire is a popular figure among the international boxing fans and has a big fan base here in Japan. And after this fight, his name will be known to the general public and he will be probably be the most famous international boxer in Japan.
Nishioka will be traveling to Los Angeles for a press conference scheduled on August 27th, with Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios, and Mike Alvarado also in attendance.

Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios lead Top Rank boxing card

When Top Rank President Todd duBoef answered his cellphone Wednesday, he was out of breath after a long bicycle ride in the mountains of Aspen, Colo., where he is vacationing with his family.

It was fitting, though, because Top Rank on Wednesday announced a fight card for this fall that could take a boxing fan's breath away.

Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire and Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios have established themselves as two of boxing's hardest-punching, most exciting fighters at any weight. Their nicknames say it all.
Top Rank has put the twenty-something, elite pound-for-pound sluggers on the same card against strong opponents in an HBO-televised event Oct. 13 (10 p.m. ET) at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Each has carried a fight card, thanks to the style they bring to the ring: carrying the action from start to finish, going for the knockout with every opponent and taking a punch to land two.
Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs), a four-division champion known for his powerful knockout punch — his second-round KO of Fernando Montiel in 2011 is a YouTube sensation and he broke Jeffery Mathebula's jaw in his last fight — puts his two super bantamweight titles on the line against dangerous Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) in a 12-round championship bout.
Nishioka, 36, won the WBC 122-pound title against Rafael Marquez in October but later vacated the title. A version of that belt also is up for grabs.
The second half of the co-main event features Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) against "Mile High" Mike Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs) from Denver in a 10-round light welterweight matchup of toe-to-toe bangers who know no other way to fight.
"You have two guys in Donaire and Nishioka that are at the top of their division, and two guys that are young and rugged and telegenic in Rios and Alvarado," duBoef said. "And you look at Rios' style it's like, 'I know nothing but to get hit and throw.'
"These are the type of fighters I remember watching a lot as a kid," duBoef continued. "Those guys that used to come in and kick it out of you and wear you down and smile when they get hit. The (Roberto) Durans, the (Julio Cesar) Chavezes, even the (Ray) "Boom Boom" Mancinis, they're exciting to watch."
Alvarado, 32, has gained plenty of fans after his last two fights. His slugfest against Breidis Prescott on the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard ended with Alvarado, his face covered in blood, pounding Prescott into submission with a series of uppercuts after being well behind on the scorecards going into the final round. In April he went toe-to toe in defeating Mauricio Herrera in a fight of the year candidate.
Rios, on the other hand, has had his problems, mostly with weight. The former WBA lightweight champ was stripped of his title when he couldn't make weight for his fight against England's John Murray at Madison Square Garden in December. Rios won that fight by 11th-round TKO.
Then in April, Rios fought for that vacant title against Richard Abril and again missed weight. Rios won a highly controversial split decision to stay unbeaten.
Now he has moved up to 140 pounds. Should be no sweat making that weight, right?
"I learned long ago … that if a fighter ever has a weight problem, he'll always have a weight problem," duBoef said. "Brandon is going to have to sacrifice to make 140, but the difference is in how you make weight, rather than just making weight.
"Brandon is at a real crossroads. He was steamrolling last year, and the wheels came off with some unfortunate situations.
"I think he has a lot to prove. He's hungry and he's going to have to put it out there and get the wheels back on and get back on track and show people why he was considered one of the most popular and telegenic young fighters out there."
The fight was originally scheduled for Texas, when Donaire's opponent was slated to be Mexican star Jorge Arce. But that fight couldn't be made, and the venue was moved to California. "Rios is from Southern California, and the second largest Filipino population cluster in California is right in that Carson area," duBoef said.
Donaire has not lost in 11 years, and Nishioka has an eight-year unbeaten streak.
"History shows there is only one way for a fighter to make the leap to stardom and that's by accepting the challenges and risks like the ones Donaire, Nishioka, Rios and Alvarado committed to on October 13," said duBoef. "They are young, hungry and ambitious,"