NONITO Donaire Jr. is finally home.
After 15 years in the pro boxing scene, Donaire Jr., who has Bisaya roots, is exhilarated to finally get to showcase his talent live in front the Cebuanos.
“I’m so happy to be able to fight in Cebu for the first time,” said Donaire Jr., who arrived in the city yesterday.
Donaire Jr., who was born in Bohol and lived for sometime in Gen. Santos City, has fought four times in the Philippines but has never fought here in Cebu.
“Bisaya gyud ta, Cebuano. Lahi gyud ning naa ta diri (I’m a Bisaya, Cebuano. It is different fighting here). It’s a privilege to be given an opportunity to fight in front of Cebuanos.”
Donaire Jr. defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight crown against Hungarian challenger Zsolt Bedak on April 23 at the Cebu City Sports Center in what should be the biggest boxing event to hit the city.
With thousands of Cebuanos expected to watch the show live at the venue, the 33-year-old Donaire Jr. vows to give them their money’s worth.
“That’s the plan (go for a knockout). I always go for the kill. He’s good and tough. I’m also ready to go the 12 rounds. But I’ll always be looking for that knockout,” he said.
Nonito Donaire Sr., the father and trainer of Donaire Jr., is confident that his son will walk away with the win because of the way their training camp went, which started in Las Vegas and ended in Manila.
“Our strategy is to capitalize on his weaknesses. Bedak is fast but he doesn’t have a KO punch. We’ll look for openings and time our punches. The knockout will just come, so we’ll not rush it and lose our focus,” he said. “My prediction is it’ll be six rounds, the most. But we can’t lower our guard down because we don’t know how he has trained for this.”
The current heatwave caused by El Niño won’t be a problem for Donaire Jr. even though the fight will be outdoors. He has already prepared by sparring outdoors and has already acclimatized his body to the extreme conditions.
It will be a different story for Bedak, though. But Donaire Jr. expects the best Bedak coming in to face him.
“I always want to look at it as the best Bedak. It’s a huge advantage that I’m used to the heat. But I don’t want to think of it as a disadvantage for Bedak. Because the moment you think that it’ll be a disadvantage, that will also be the moment that you’ll let your guard down,” said Donaire Jr.
Aside from fighting at home, Donaire sees the fight as an opportunity for him to move on with his career and face some of the best of his division like Carl Frampton and Guillermo Rigondeaux.