Multiple-division boxing world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs) of the Philippines returns to action on April 21, when he faces former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Carl Frampton (24-1, 14 KO’s) of Belfast, United Kingdom, and already there is a subtle war of words going on between the two pugilists.
The two are scheduled to square off in a 12-round featherweight showdown at the SSE Arena in Belfast.
Donaire, who made a name for himself as a super bantamweight, has only fought at 126 lbs. Thrice before, a loss to Nicholas Walters in 2014 and wins against Simpiwe Vetyeka and Ruben Garcia Hernandez.
Frampton on the other hand, suffered the first loss of his career when he lost the WBA title to Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz in January of 2017. Frampton wants nothing more than another crack at a world title, and he views Donaire as a great stepping stone to realizing those plans.
“I’m hoping to fight for a world title in the summer,” said Frampton at a press conference between the two men last January.
“What better opponent to get you ready for that other than Nonito Donaire? What’s the point in fighting a knock-over job? It’s great to be involved on these occasions.”
After a blistering 2012, which saw Donaire win “Fighter of the Year” honors with victories over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce, Donaire has experienced varied success north of super bantamweight. Frampton had long been a consideration for Donaire at the prime of his career, and now the two are finally going to throw down years later.
“His [Donaire’s] name was mentioned and we didn’t speak about any other fighter,” said Frampton.
“Once his name was mentioned I wanted the fight. A couple of years ago you wouldn’t believe that a guy of his caliber would come to Belfast. I’m just grateful that a name like Donaire is coming here to Belfast. In my opinion, he is the biggest away fighter to ever come here to fight.”
Donaire, on the other hand, sees this fight as the one to put him right back on track among the elite in boxing’s lighter weight divisions. As such, the Filipino fighter is certainly not taking his opponent lightly with just a little less than two months to go before the bout.
“Frampton is someone that you cannot take lightly,” said Donaire.
“You have to be at 100% or there’s no turning back. I know there’s going to be boos and yelling here in Belfast at the fight, but I welcome that because that’s what support is all about! It will fuel me to be inspired.”