Me, old? Donaire KOs Frenchman, champ anew

Nonito “The Filipino Flaash” Donaire Jr., heads to the neutral corner as the referee makes a 10-count on Frenchman Nordine Oubaali.

NONITO “THE FILIPINO FLASH” DONAIRE JR. dethroned Frenchman Nordine Oubaali via a fourth-round technical knockout on Sunday to become the oldest boxer at 38 to hold the World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight belt.

Donaire was a class act in the abbreviated championship fight, pummeling—and crippling— Oubaali with thunderous left hooks that squeezed all the power out of the 31-year-old Frenchman.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are. What important is you stay healthy and you know how to take care of your body,” Donaire told BusinessMirror just minutes after his stunning victory. “You are only as good as your body is. So if you take care of your body, you’ll go a long way,”

Donaire upped his record to 41 wins (27 by knockout) with six losses. He is now a three-time world bantamweight champion.

“Even if you’re 38 or 40 as long as you’re very disciplined, you’ll never go wrong,” said Donaire, whose wife Rachel manned his corner.

Armed with a 20-year experience in pro boxing, the Talibon (Bohol) native smelled a knockout in the fourth round after knocking down Frenchman twice in the third round.

Donaire forced Oubaali into the corner and bombarded the Frenchman with vicious shots, including a devastating left hook that forced referee Jack Reiss to stop the bout with 74 seconds left in the fourth round.

“It was the timing and the great strategy prepared by my team,” said Donaire, thanking his wife for being in his corner. “I was very blessed with my team, I was very grateful. She [Rachel] has really a good understanding of boxing and fighting.”

“We predicted an early knockout win, not past six, and we’re able to accomplish that,” said Donaire, who sat out more than a year without a fight because of the pandemic.

Donaire was scorching in third round, continuously hurting Oubaali with left hooks and uppercuts. He floored Oubaali with a thunderous left hook for the first knockdown of the round and followed it up with another killer left for the second knockdown.

Oubaali appeared badly hurt but Reiss still allowed to continue the fight. But it was just a matter of time in the fourth round for Donaire to get his spot back after five years in the elite circle of Filipino world champions since losing his World Boxing Organization super bantamweight belt to American Jessie Magdaleno in November 2016.

The four-division world champion joined International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, WBO bantamweight titlist Johnriel Casimero and IBF minimumweight king Rene Mark Cuarto on the elite list.

It’s worth the wait though for Donaire and Rachel, who now have two sons—Jarel and Jarel Logan.

Before the bout, former Filipino world champion Gerry Peñalosa was on record as the oldest fighter to capture the world bantamweight (WBO) crown at 35 after he defeated Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez in 2007 in Sacramento, California.

Oubaali, a 3-1 favorite coming into the fight, experienced his first knockout and eventually his first defeat in 18 fights highlighted by his 12 knockouts.

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