Top-Five pound for pound fighter and four-division world champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire will risk his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior featherweight crown against five-division world titlist and former WBO junior featherweight champion JORGE “Travieso” ARCE on Saturday, December 15, at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets, and televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. The co-main event of the live doubleheader will feature undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux defending his title. University of Notre Dame champion and light heavyweight contender Mike Lee. who trains in Houston, will highlight the non-televised undercard.
Right here, check out a collection of photos from the Donaire vs. Arce opening press conference, as well as some quotes and notes from the event, and details on ticket sales for the fight.
“Nonito Donaire versus Jorge Arce is a much-anticipated world championship fight which promises to be non-stop action. We are also pleased to have undefeated Guillermo Rigondeaux defend his world super bantamweight title on this card,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, CEO, Top Rank.
“The fireworks that will be supplied by Nonito Donaire and Jorge Arce in the ring on December 15 in Houston ensures that the season finale of World Championship Boxing will be very special night,” said Kery Davis, senior vice president of programming, HBO Sports.
Donaire (30-1, 19 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in the Bay Area of San Leandro, Calif., is a consensus top-five pound-for-pound fighter. He enters this fight riding an 11-year, 29-bout winning streak, which includes an International Boxing Federation (IBF) / International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight title knockout victory of defending champion Vic Darchinyan, and a fourth-round blasting of former World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko. However, Donaire’s most impressive knockout victory occurred on February 19, 2011, when he stopped defending World Boxing Council (WBC) / WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel in the second round, ending Montiel’s 25-bout winning streak while also claiming his third world title in as many weight divisions. That victory was named the 2011 Knockout of the Year.
Eleven of Donaire’s last 14 victories have come by way of knockout. He successfully defended his World Bantamweight Championship last year by blitzing undefeated Omar Narvaez, winning virtually every round en route to a unanimous decision victory. On February 4, Donaire captured the vacant WBO 122-pound title, winning a gritty split-decision battle over former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. He unified the title on July 7, winning a dominant unanimous decision over defending IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula. He enters this fight on the heels of another legacy-making victory, a ninth-round stoppage of WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka on October 16, ending Nishioka’s eight-year, 16-bout winning streak.
Arce (61-6-2, 46 KOs), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, is one of boxing’s most exciting and popular fighters. A true warrior, he has been one of México’s biggest attractions for the last decade. Arce is also experienced at the top levels of competition– a veteran of 18 world championship and eight interim world championship fights. The all-action warrior has won world championships or interim world titles in all five divisions between 108 and 122 pounds.
A future first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Arce enters this fight riding an 11-bout unbeaten streak dating back nearly three years, including victories over Angky Angkota for the WBO junior bantamweight title, Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. for the WBO junior featherweight belt and Angkota again, this time for the WBO bantamweight crown, the title Arce most recently held. Trained by Hall of Famer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Arce returns to the ring after winning a decisive unanimous decision over former WBO bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez on September 22.
Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs), of Miami, Fla., had a stellar amateur career, winning Olympic gold medals in 2004,and 2000, World Amateur Championship titles in 2005 and 2001, and Pan American Games gold medals in 2005 and 2003, all at 119 pounds, before defecting from Cuba and embarking on a professional career which began in Miami in 2009. In only his seventh professional fight where both fighters scored knockdowns, Rigondeaux captured the WBA interim super bantamweight title, winning a tough split decision over the vastly more experienced former world champion Ricardo Cordoba in 2010.
After successfully defending the interim title last year with a first-round knockout of previously undefeated former European super bantamweight champion Willie Casey, Rigondeaux won the WBA world super bantamweight championship with a sixth-round knockout of previously undefeated defending champion Rico Ramos on January 20. Rigondeaux has successfully defended that title twice since then, blasting once-beaten Teon Kennedy in the fifth round, which included Kennedy suffering five knockdowns en route to the loss on June 9 and winning a dominant unanimous decision over once-beaten contender Roberto Marroquin on September 15.
Lee (11-0, 6 KOs), a native of Chicago who now fights out of Houston, is a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame where he earned a Finance degree from the Mendoza School of Business with a 3.8 GPA while winning the school’s legendary Bengal Bouts boxing tournament three years in a row as well as the 2009 Golden Gloves Championship. Trained by Ronnie Shields, Lee has shown great potential as a fighter while attracting Madison Avenue to the sport as a national spokesman for Subway Restaurants where he has been featured in the company’s nationally-televised advertising campaigns.
Lee has also proved to be a powerful box office attraction, packing houses with rabid and loyal University of Notre Dame fans, students and alumni. Lee returns to the ring fresh a unanimous decision victory over Paul Harness on September 15.
Tickets to the Donaire vs. Arce World Junior Featherweight Championship event doubleheader will go on sale Today! Friday, November 9, at 10:00 a.m. CT.
Tickets are priced at $200, $100, $60 and $30, plus additional fees, and can be purchased at the Toyota Center box office (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), online at www.HoustonToyotaCenter.com, by phone at 866-4HOU-TIX (866-446-8849) and select Houston area Randalls stores. This prestigious event is promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Zanfer Promotions and Tecate.