Nonito Donaire made history this past weekend, claiming the WBC bantamweight title with a fourth round finish of Nordine Oubaali.
The win improved the 38-year-old Donaire’s record to 41-6 and was his 27th career knockout. Oubaali suffered his first career loss in 18 bouts.
“The king has returned,” Donaire beamed afterward. “I just love the crowds. All my friends, family, all the boxing fans that came out thank you so much. You guys are wonderful.
“Being at this age is not the question, it’s about my performance. About my ability to grow. I believe it matters not what your age is but how mentally strong you are. What I learned from the [Naoya] Inoue fight is that I’m back. I can still compete at this level. The whole time I was not fighting, I was learning. I’m ready for the next one.”
Following a feel-out first round, Donaire went to work in the second, walking Oubaali down and countering with thudding effect. Donaire scored the first knockdown early in the third, dropping Oubaali with his trademark counter left hook. The Frenchman rose on unsteady legs and Donaire pounced, landing more big shots until another left hook floored Oubaali just a split second before the round ended. Again, Oubaali struggled to his feet, dazed yet willing to fight on.
The end came swiftly in the fourth. Donaire expertly maneuvered Oubaali around the ring, pinning him against the ropes where a left uppercut sent Oubaali crumpling to the canvas for a third and final time. Referee Jack Reiss immediately called it off. Official time of the stoppage was 1:52 of the fourth round.
Subriel Matias earned a victory over Batyr Jukembayev in the co-main event, moving to 17-1. The loss was the first for Jukembayev in 19 pro bouts.
“I think this is what everybody expected. Everybody knew it was going to be a great war,” said Matias. “This was going to end by knockout whether I was going to get knocked out or Jukembayev was going to get knocked out. I’m just glad it was me who knocked him out.”