Nonito Donaire defied Father Time with an incredible fourth round knockout win over Nordine Oubaali to secure the WBC bantamweight title on Saturday evening in Carson at the Dignity Health Sports Park. Donaire, 38, becomes the oldest man to win a title at 118 pounds, for the record.
Oubaali attempted to establish a fast pace in the opening rounds of the contest which screened on Showtime. Donaire was patient and collected as much data as he could. The Filipino Flash’s experience was key in setting up the onslaught that came in round three.
Oubaali felt that he could fight fire with fire, trading with Donaire in the final minute of the third. The Filipino cracked Oubaali with a left hook during their exchange in the corner. Donaire felt the end was near and continued to put his foot on the gas, ending the round with yet another vicious left hook that had Oubaali flat on his face.
It could be argued that it was after the bell after seeing the replay. But it was more of a bang, bang moment that couldn’t be caught by referee Jack Reiss’ naked eye.
At this point, the crowd was on fire and it seemed it was all but over, yet Oubaali managed to beat the count and stumbled to his corner. He returned in round four, only to meet his demise as Donaire landed a thudding left uppercut to close the show.
Donaire raised his arms in rejoice as he captured the third world title of his professional career. The elder statesmen joins the likes of 43-year-old Tom Brady and 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, who recently re-ignited their championship flares as well.
As for the future, Donaire aims for a rematch against unified champion Naoya Inoue who holds the WBA, IBF and Ring Magazine titles. Will Donaire have what it takes to overcome the last man to defeat him? That remains to be seen.
Gary Antuanne Russell vs. Jovanie Santiago
Gary Antuanne Russell, the 2016 Olympian, continues his KO streak with a 6th round TKO victory over Jovanie Santiago. This was Russell’s first time going beyond Round 4. It was an impressive step up in competition considering some experts had Santiago beating Adrien Broner last February.
The southpaw was finding a home for his straight left hand from the opening bell. Russell doubled up his jab to set up his signature punch of the fight. The Capital Heights native was patient in his attack and eventually dropped Santiago in Round 4.
Sanitago’s legs appeared to be gone, but he somehow managed to survive. The 24-year-old turned up the heat in Round 5 by diversifying his attack.
Russell poured it on Santiago with a sense that Santiago was on his way out. He continued to work off of the straight left hand and ultimately opened a cut on Santiago’s eye. Santiago did not return for Round 7 after his corner felt they saw their man had enough of taking a beating.
Russell is becoming a polished fighter. He’s learning how to systematically break down his foes by not over committing in his attack. The young prospect made a bold call out by insisting he’s ready for a bout with Adrien Broner.
Matias vs. Jukembayev
Subriel Matias improved to 17-1 with 17 Kos after defeating Batryzhan Jukembayev by way of a 9th Round stoppage by the corner. It was competitive scrap between the two, but Matias’ volume punching was the difference maker that secured the stoppage.
Jukembayev appeared to be the more powerful puncher after breaking the high guard of Matias in Round 1. Matias began finding some success on the inside late in Round 2. Jukembayev had no issue trading leather with the taller and lankier Matias in Round 3.
The tide began to change in Round 4 when Matias caught Jukembayev with a short left hook that sent him down for a knockdown. Matias appeared to be in control in Rounds 5 through 6, but became lax with his defense in Round 7. Jukembayev stunned Matias with a right hook that nearly put him out.
With the amount of success Matias was having, he was focusing very little on his defense, which nearly cost him the fight in Round 7. You could see in Round 8 that Jukembayev was gassed with Matias continuing the press the action.
In Round 9, Jukembayev’s corner felt that had seen enough and didn’t allow their guy to come back out. Matias was awarded the knockout victory, handing Jukembayev his first career loss. If Matias wants to compete with the top dogs of the 140 lb. division, he needs to focus on improving his defense.