By CARLO ANOLIN
Nonito Donaire kept a laser-sharp focus ahead of his highly-touted rematch against unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue ahead of their June 7 unification bout at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
There is no better way for Donaire to keep a calm and composed mindset than having a personal mantra: To be the best, the champion, and the undisputed.
“[My motivation] is at the highest I’ve been in boxing. I’m just very, very motivated,” said the 39-year-old Donaire during fight week’s press conference Saturday, June 4. “I think that the best fighter in the division, and that is something that I am claiming by defeating him. That’s what goes into my mind, is that I am the undisputed.
“That just goes through my head and in my motivation. I am the best. I am. In these next four days, That’s all I’m saying, “I am the champion, I am the undisputed,” added the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion, who holds 42 wins on top of 28 knockouts with six losses.
Since losing in their first encounter last November 2019, a bout that earned the Fight of the Year award, Donaire took a step back in boxing but returned more than a year later with two victories in 2021.
While Inoue had defended his super World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, and The Ring titles thrice in a row in that span, Donaire claimed the WBC title by knocking out Nordine Oubaali in May 2021 and defended it by stunning compatriot Reymart Gaballo in December of the same year.
Donaire is already 39-year-old already at that time and both bouts were won via fourth-round knockouts, making him Premier Boxing Champion’s (PBC) Fighter of the Year.
Those wins gave all the more reason for Donaire to take on the 29-year-old Inoue, who took down the likes of Jason Moloney, Michael Dasmarinas, and Aran Dipaen, once more.
After all, the “Filipino Flash” claimed that this would be his “biggest fight of my career” and most importantly the beginning to the “road to undisputed.”
“I’m very, very motivated. This is the fight that pretty much I’ve been aiming for, to accomplish everything that I have not accomplished in boxing,” said Donaire.