AGE doesn’t matter for former
World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire.
Donaire, now 40 but still fit as a fiddle, hopes to reclaim his bantanweight title when he takes on Alexandro Santiago of Mexico on July 30 (Manila time) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The title fight, which will be for the vacant WBC bantamweight crown, will be part of a blockbuster promotion pitting Errol Spence and Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship.
Donaire, who holds an impresive 42-7 ring record, including 28 KOs, will be fighting for the first time since he was stopped in the second round in his rematch with Naoya Inoue of Japan in Saitama last June 7, 2022.
Before the loss to Inoue, the then 38-year-old Donaire finished off Nordine Oubaali of Moroccon in the fourth round to win the WBC bantanweight crown at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carlson, California on May 29, 2021.
The Filipino fighter from Talibon, Bohol became the oldest Filipino fighter to win a world championship in the 118-pound division.
Donaire was also scheduled to meet compatriot John Riel Casimero in a unification bout on August 14, 2021, but pulled out due to concerns over VADA testing.
Inoue has since moved to the super bantamweight division, vacating all his bantamweight title belts and leaving the door open for a Donaire comeback bid.
But Donaire’s opponent, Santiago, is no pushover.
Santiago a 27-year-old Mexican contender nicknamed Peque, holds a 27-3-5 record, including 14 KOs.
He has won three fights in a row following a majority decision loss to Gary Antonio Russell in Las Vegas in 2021.
Santiago’s other losses came early in his career. One of his draws included a controversial split draw against another Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas in a 2018 IBF title fight at 115 lbs.
Since that Ancajas fight, Santiago is 11-1.
The Donaire-Santiago was originally part of the card highlighted by the clash between Frank Martin and Artem Harutyunyan scheduled this Sunday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
But the postponement of the bout between Jesus Ramos and Sergio Garcia led to the adjustment in the schedule of the Donaire–Sanchez bout.
Ramos suffered an injury and had to withdraw from the bout against Garcia.
Garcia will now take on Yoenis Tellez, a 23-year-old Cuban junior middleweight prospect.