Nonito Donaire earns world title shot as Naoya Inoue vacates WBC belt

Feb 17, 2023

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CHAMP. Nonito Donaire is the oldest bantamweight world champion.

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Now 40, Nonito Donaire gets a chance at recapturing the WBC bantamweight crown he lost to Naoya Inoue last year

MANILA, Philippines – Nonito Donaire will get a crack at reclaiming the World Boxing Council bantamweight title he last held a year ago.

Donaire will tangle with Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago for the vacant belt as he seeks to reset his own record as the oldest boxer to win a bantamweight crown.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed the development to ESPN Knockout.

Donaire made history in May 2021 when he – then 38 years old – became the oldest bantamweight champion after wresting the WBC title from Morocco’s Nordine Oubaali with a fourth-round knockout victory.

The “Filipino Flash” then defended the belt with a fourth-round stoppage of compatriot Reymart Gaballo in December 2021 before he relinquished the crown to Japan’s Naoya Inoue last June.

Inoue, the undisputed bantamweight king, made quick work of Donaire via a second-round technical knockout triumph.

But with Inoue vacating the WBC belt together with his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles in January to move up to super bantamweight, Donaire – now 40 – earned another title shot.

Donaire will go up against a significantly younger foe in Santiago, who is just 27 years old.

Santiago totes a 27-3-5 win-loss-draw record and won 11 of his last 12 bouts to emerge as the No. 4 contender.

Before that stretch, Santiago figured in a split draw with former Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas in their 2018 bout for the IBF super flyweight title. –

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