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Nonito Donaire Declares He’s A Unicorn

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CARSON, CALIF. (May 27, 2021) – WBC Bantamweight World Champion Nordine Oubaali and future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before their world title showdown taking place this Saturday, May 29 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The press conference also featured hard-hitting contender Subriel Matias and unbeaten Batyr Jukembayev, who meet in the co-main event for a 12-round IBF Junior Welterweight Title Eliminator, and unbeaten 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell and Jovanie Santiago, who square off in a 10-round super lightweight clash that opens the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.

Dignity Health Sports Park will be open to fans in a limited capacity, with all guests remaining socially distanced and subject to local and state health guidelines throughout the event. Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:

NORDINE OUBAALI

“Yes, we’ve sparred but training is training. When you go into a fight, it’s not the same. Every fight is different and I know on Saturday I will put on a great show with Nonito Donaire because I know he’s a good boxer but I know I’m the best. I trained so hard for this and now I’m ready to fight. I want to show everybody that the best two bantamweights in boxing today are fighting on Saturday.

“Yes, he’s had an outstanding career and he has power but I believe I have more power than him. I know I have the power. He’s a good boxer but I’m the world champion and on Saturday I’m going to show the world who is the best. I know I am the best. I respect Nonito. He’s had a good career but I’m the best in the division.

“The difference in the fight is going to be I want to win more. I want to continue to make history and stay as the world champion in this division. I know that it’s my time. I want this more than he does.

“If I’m victorious, why not have my next fight be for the unification? I want to make history every time and this is my motivation. I’m here because I love boxing and I want to face the best boxers every time. I’m facing Nonito Donaire and that’s great for my career. I just like to fight and this is my life.”

NONITO DONAIRE

“It would be great to win the title at 38 years old and become the oldest champion at 118 pounds, but let’s keep it going. Let’s make it 40. Let’s make it 42. There ain’t no stopping me. Mentally, I’m very grateful but at the same time I’m just very ready.

“I’m always healthy and the reason why I can compete with anybody is because I keep myself healthy and I work hard. There’s nothing less than 100 percent every time I’m in that gym.

“I’m very hard-headed so I don’t always do what people tell me to do. People can say that it’s their time. But I also have my time and I’m always going to be the one who concedes their time or makes that decision. It’s still my time.

“It’s going to be a great fight. Oubaali is the champion for a reason. He’s been through it in terms of the amateurs and making it here. So we’re not underestimating any of that. But I’ve fought in this venue many times and I always make magical fights in the first place. It’s always going to be magical with me. I’m a unicorn.

“The difference in this fight is going to be my hunger. He’s younger than me but I have the hunger. We both have an objective and that’s what’s going to make this a great fight.

“I want to fight the best out there. I want the rematch with Naoya Inoue and I want to get all the belts. The only thing I haven’t accomplished in boxing is becoming undisputed champion. I’ve done everything else. Fighter of the Year. Knockout of the Year. Multiple championships. Four-division champion. You name it. That’s my main goal. Get the belt and put them all together.

“Bantamweight is my real weight. I’ve always fought in the heavier division because of the excitement, the challenge and the lucrative offer or the names at that time. Now, I’m here where I belong and this is where I’m really strong.

“The layoff will not be a factor at all. The time off helped me out. Just being out of the ring helped my body recover. And the eagerness and the hunger is there more than ever. It was a blessing for me.”

SUBRIEL MATIAS

“I will be his toughest test without question and come Saturday night, everybody will find out why I’m saying that.

“I believe him when he says that he has the tools to get a stoppage on Saturday. But it’s not just a matter of saying, on Saturday night he has to prove it. If it’s going to come out of your mouth, then you have to prove it.

“We’re both knockout artists and with what we’re looking at, this fight should not finish by a decision.

“I don’t have much to say about that fight against Petros Ananyan. Those that saw me lose, I lost. There’s nothing I can say about it. But those that know boxing know that I’ve been progressing and improving and you all will see that on Saturday.”

BATYR JUKEMBAYEV

“I had a great training camp. I am ready for Saturday night. I know that he’s a good fighter but I promise that I will be ready.

“We will see Saturday night whether it’s going to end in a knockout. I’ll show you what I’m made of and you will all see.”

GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL “I’m in the hurt business. He’s a slugger. If he wants to come in there and slug with me, he will feel my power. He will see how intelligent I am. Not just mentally, but physically with my hands. Like I said, I’m in the hurt business. I come to hurt.

“Pardon my lack of Spanish, but what you are going to see is, ‘la violencia.’ He’s going to bring his pressure. He’s going to bring punches in bunches and I believe that’s all he can bring. If he’s been training and trying to perfect himself for my style of fighting, that’s fine. You’re not supposed to come in here one-dimensional. A diamond shines from all sides.

“The only thing I can say is this venue is going to promote blood, sweat and tears and the desire of people to be great. I’m definitely one of them. I’ve been in the gym giving my blood, my sweat and my tears and I’m bringing all of that to this venue come Saturday night.

“I definitely want to stay more active. That’s always been my plan. The pandemic slowed things down. Fans always tell me they want to see me get back in there…I just tell them, me too. The fighters aren’t the ones pulling all of the strings. Should I be more active? Of course. I want to be more active.

“I want to show that I’m the cream of the crop. I’m a superstar. The light hasn’t been shining on me because there’s a lot of other things going on. Until then, you’re going to have to wait and see. Come Saturday, it will be a great show. There will be some sparks and fireworks. I have an opponent that’s not willing to lay down. If he’s not willing to, I must make him lay down.”

JOVANIE SANTIAGO

“I know that he’s a good fighter. An Olympian. He’s young and he’s going to come fight. I’m going to come to fight too, so if the fight finishes early, then it finishes early.

“I just have to work round-by-round, throw punches and win one round at a time. After I beat Russell, everybody is going to be on my side.

“This is my weight. This is where I’m most comfortable. I’ve always been a 140-pounder and Saturday that’s what I’m going to demonstrate.

“This time, I’m fighting at my actual weight. I feel strong. I’m coming to work round-by-round and on Saturday everybody will see what I’m all about.”

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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