Tonight from Carson, CA, USA, WBC Emeritus Jr Featherweight Champion Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO) of Japan meets Filipino arch-rival and unified belt jr featherweight belt-holder Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO) in what will be his biggest challenge to date.
Donaire vs Nishioka Time:
10PM EST (USA)
10AM time in Philippines
>> Fight time above is for co-main event, main event to air directly after co-main event (Rios vs Alvarado) ends.
Broadcast: HBO Boxing After Dark (in the U.S.)
The Jr Featherweight division is sizzling with talent and Donaire vs Nishioka looks to be the first superfight in a series of great match-ups likely to
include Guillermo Rigondeaux and Abner Mares in the future.
Known as "The Filipino Flash," Nonito Donaire is a four-division world champion and current, unified IBF/ WBO Super Bantamweight Champion. The spunky 29 year old is also a former WBC and WBO Bantamweight, Interim WBA Super Flyweight and IBF Flyweight Champion.
Until the emergence of Andre Ward, many pundits rated Nonito Donaire as high as No. 3 in the pound-for-pound ranking, just behind the sport's megastars, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
He'll be the favorite tonight against Toshiaki Nishioka and would likely also be favored against Guillermo Rigondeaux and Abner Mares.
Nonito Donaire - Strengths
- Explosiveness, can land hard combinations quickly and at various angles
- Menacing left hook
- Ability to fight southpaw and orthodox
- Experience against superior opponents
- Ring Activity (the last year)
Nishioka, 36, has campaigned at Jr Featherweight for nearly four years. He won the interim WBC Jr Featherweight title in September 2008 and, with his win over Genaro Garcia (then 36-6) in January 2009, became the full -fledged WBC Champion. Having faced world class opposition on and off for the better part of the last eleven years, Toshiaki Nishioka hasn't lost since March 2004 (UD 12 Veeraphol Sahaprom).
The most accomplished Jr Featherweight today, the Japanese superstar has campaigned at Jr Featherweight (122lbs) for 4 years and won all 8 of his bouts with five coming via knockout.
Toshiaki Nishioka - Strengths
- Size, Height: 5'6½"
- Pinpoint accuracy
- Monster left hand
- Southpaw stance
- Defense/Overall technique
- Underrated righ-hook
Nishioka's Belt Status and Donaire's
After failing to confirm a bout within six months of his most recent defense (October 1, 2011), the World Boxing Council (WBC) stripped Nishioka of his title earlier this year and granted him 'Emeritus' status. As a result of the WBC's ruling, Nishioka is elligible for an immediate title shot against the WBC champion provided he doesn't lose in the interim.
Yesterday, Nonito Donaire vacated his IBF title because the mandatory defense for that organization would be the winner Takalani Ndlovu vs Alejandro Lopez. If victorious tonight, Donaire may choose fight Guillermo Rigondeaux or another bigger name; certainly bigger than Ndlovu or Lopez.
At stake tonight will be Donaire's WBO Jr Featherweight (or Super Bantamweight) title and bragging rights as the best in the 122lb division.
Nonito Donaire's Power?
Has the myth of Donaire's power been exposed? Or does Donaire simply not have the leverage to generate tremendous punching power at this weight? Or were his recent opponents just tough, cagey fighters?
After the devastating knockout win over Fernando Montiel in January 2011, he's won three fights by decision. And while he's had his last two foes in "some" trouble, he's failed to generate knockouts fans were accustomed to seeing from him at lighter weight classes.
Whether we'll learn any more about Nonito Donaire's power tonight is not yet known. However, Nishioka had better be very careful.
The key to this bout will be Nonito Donaire's ability to use his footwork and find openings that will allow him to unleash his powershots on a conventional southpaw who fights in a conservative style. Obviously, a more technical bout favors Nishioka while a brawl or even boxing/brawling would likely favor Donaire.
In order to win, Nishioka must follow his gameplan to perfection. On the other-hand, Donaire can 'color outside the lines' and get a little wild yet still be victorious as a result of his power, aggression and crowd-pleasing style... a la Donaire vs Mathebula.
Nevertheless, I'm going out on a limb and picking the upset.
Although the decision for Donaire vs Mathebula was not debatable, Mathebula outlanded the Filipino Flash 919-515 in overall punches, even besting him in power shots 308-261, according to PunchStats. Donaire can be hit!
Although Nonito Donaire will have his moments tonight and look strong early, look for the 36 year old Japanese fighter to showcase a tight defense and challenge Nonito Donaire in the trenches.
If Nishioka is still standing after four rounds and weathers what could be an early storm, expect him to keep Donaire on the outside of his jab, befuddle his foe with combinations and look to catch the Filipino coming in with his right hook.
Staying relatively on par with Donaire after the first four stanzas is key for the Japanese fighter. If Nishioka is very much in the bout midway thru the fight, look for Donaire to get power-happy, hoping to land that one punch that felled Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel. At that point, the Japanese fighter, always wary of the "Flash's" left hook, will look to surgically and methodically outpoint Nonito Donaire going forward.
He won't dominate the "Flash," but he'll be effective enough to win rounds so long as he stays away from the Filipino's power stuff.
Result: Nishioka Wins Via a Close Split Decision
Nonito Donaire Facts
- Rated No. 5 Pound-for-Pound by RING
- Winner of 27 consecutive bouts; Hasn't lost in 11 years
- Has never been KO'd
- Has a record of 8-0 (5 KOs) in World Title fights.
- Has a record of 8-0 (5 KOs) against former or current world titlists.
- Biggest Wins: Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane, Hernan Marquez, Volodymyr Sydorenko, Fernando Montiel, Omar Andres Narvaez, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and Jeffrey Mathebula.
Toshiaki Nishioka Facts
- Turned pro in 1994
- Rated No. 1 by RING in the division tonight's bout is being contested (Jr Featherweight)
- Hasn't lost since March 2004 (UD 12 Veeraphol Sahaprom).
- At flyweight, he went 48 rounds Veeraphol Sahaprom, a potential hall of famer.
- Has impressive wins over Rafael Marquez (then 40-6), Ivan Hernandez (then 24-3-1) and Jhonny Gonzalez (then 40-6).
- Possesses a strong straight leff and an underrated right hook
- Was KO'd only once (his second bout in 1995)
- Hasn't fought in 377 days
Can Toshiaki Nishioka avoid Nonito Donaire's power and explosiveness?
Get ready for Donaire vs Nishioka... TONIGHT!