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Nonito Donaire

Fighter Profile, Nonito Donaire Bio – “The Filipino Flash”

Nonito Donaire is a 29-year old super bantamweight titlist who has not lost since 2001. He has made a nice run in the smaller weight classes over the last couple years and is now considered one of the top pound for pound fighters in the sport.. Donaire, 29-1 (18 KOs), hails from the Philippines, but now calls San Leandro, CA home.

Recent Nonito Donaire News

Profile updated & amended by Matt Andrzejewski in August 2012

Early Career

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Donaire got off to an early start. Part of a boxing family, he didn’t have to look far to find the sport. His father was an amateur boxer and his older brother, Glenn, also took to the sport—eventually becoming a contender in his own right.

“The Filipino Flash” had an outstanding amateur career. After moving to the U.S., he won 3 national titles in the junior class. He failed to reach the 2000 Olympics, losing to future champion Brian Viloria. In 2001, he decided to try his luck in the punch-for-pay ranks.

Rising Through the Ranks

Signed by big-name manager Jackie Kallen, Donaire began his career with a certain amount of promise, but stalled out after failing to distinguish himself in his first four fights, even losing to 2-1 Rosendo Sanchez. Donaire went back to his native Philippines to regroup, winning a few fights before returning to California.

Donaire moved along, putting together a nice string of wins, without necessarily getting noticed. In a Shobox win over decent Kahren Harutyunyan, he showed good skills, but only won by split decision in a tough fight. Three wins followed, and at 17-1, he was thrown in against feared flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan.

Shocking the World! Donaire vs. Darchinyan

There was little reason to think Donaire would be much of a threat for the undefeated Darchinyan, who had left a trail of broken bones in his 6 title defenses. No challenger had managed to go the distance—including Nonito’s brother Glenn, who was outclassed by Darchinyan. The apparent hopelessness of Nonito’s challenge was reflected in the 8-1 odds against him.

Darchinyan was unable to bully Donaire who frequently struck with his sharp right hand and befuddled the champion with his fast feet and clever movement. In the fifth round, Donaire detonated a left hook on the chin of Darchinyan that sent him to la-la land. Darchinyan went down, and crushed his nose as he fell upon trying to rise. As the deposed champion left the ring, he still didn’t know what had hit him. It was a great win for Donaire. It was named the upset and KO of 2007 by Ring Magazine.

Flyweight Championship Reign and Move To Super Flyweight

Donaire made three defenses of his Flyweight Championship against lightly regarded opponents. In 2010, he moved up to Super Flyweight to take on Hernan Marquez for an interim title.  Marquez easily represented Donaire’s best foe since Darchinyan.  The fight was a toe to toe battle in the early going.

In the fifth, Donaire dropped Marquez and took control of the fight with his vicious combination punching.  Donaire would finish Marquez in the eighth and earn his best win since his destruction of Darchinyan three years earlier.

Bantamweight Reign

After the Marquez fight, Donaire would move up to the Bantamweight division seeking bigger bouts.  After a victory in a tune-up fight, Donaire landed the big fight he was seeking against reigning division kingpin Fernando Montiel.  After a slow round one, Donaire caught Montiel with a spectacular left hook that knocked Montiel down.

The gutsy Montiel tried to fight on after the vicious knockdown but was clearly out on his feet.  The ref stopped the fight at 2:25 of the second round giving Donaire the WBC and WBO Bantamweight Titles.

The victory against Montiel instantly bolted Donaire into the top five pound for pound rankings in boxing.  After a promotional dispute, Donaire would return to the ring on October 22nd, 2011 against the undefeated Omar Narvaez.  Donaire controlled the action against his defensive minded opponent en route to a decisive unanimous decision victory.

Moving Up Again

In his next bout, Donaire once again moved up in weight.  This time he fought Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the vacant WBO Super Bantamweight Title.  Though Vazquez had his spots, Donaire was pretty much in control of the bout en route to his second consecutive unanimous decision victory.

In July 2012, Donaire faced Jeffrey Mathebula in a unification fight in the Super Bantamweight division.  In the early going the taller and busier Mathebula gave Donaire some problems.  But as the fight evolved the much harder shots from Donaire started scoring more regularly and once again Donaire was able to earn a unanimous decision victory.


Donaire has signed to fight WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Toshiaki Nishioka on October 13th, 2012.  Nishioka, a southpaw, has not lost since 2004 and has climbed into the top 15 in most pound for pound ratings.  This will not be an easy fight for Donaire and a win would solidify his status as one of the sports pound for pound kingpins.

If Donaire gets by Nishioka there are several other big fights that may be on the horizon.  The fighter many fans would love to see Donaire in against is the undefeated Abner Mares.  However, the fighters are promoted by rival promotional companies and in the near future at least that fight seems unlikely to come off.

If Donaire remains at Super Bantamweight another likely opponent down the road is Jorge Arce.  Arce has a big name and still makes for entertaining fights.  If Donaire moves to Featherweight potential matchups against Mikey Garcia, Orlando Salido and Jhonny Gonzalez exist.

Nonito Donaire is currently the top fighter in the 118 to 126 pound category.  There are many excellent fighters at these weights waiting to challenge Donaire and as fight fans we should be in for many entertaining fights in the coming years.