After initially falling apart due to mutual bouts with COVID, the WBC bantamweight title fight between champion Nordine Oubaali and top contender Nonito Donaire has a new date. Julius Julianis, confirming an earlier report from Dan Rafael, claims that the pair will meet on May 29th in Los Angeles atop a three-fight bill.
Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO) has been out of action since a breakout 2019 saw him beat Rau’shee Warren for the belt and subsequently defend it against Arthur Villanueva and Takuma Inoue. Former titlist Luis Nery was initially next in line, but lost his status after a scale fail tanked a fight with Emmanuel Rodriguez, allowing #4 Donaire (40-6, 26 KO) to take his place. “The Filipino Flash” was last seen warring with Naoya Inoue in the November 2019 WBSS finals, turning in a spectacular effort in defeat.
Speaking of Inoue, there’s a strong chance that whoever wins this will find himself in a three-belt unification. A Donaire rematch sells itself and Bob Arum claimed that Top Rank is close with Oubaali’s management. Even if that doesn’t come to pass, though, this is an excellent matchup in its own right between a very capable undefeated champion and a seemingly resurgent legend of the game.
Per Julianis, the card will also feature the WBC-mandated rematch between interim champ Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 20 KO) and Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KO), whom Gaballo beat by bogus decision on what was supposed to be the initial Donaire vs. Oubaali card, and the IBF super lightweight eliminator pitting Subriel Matias (16-1, 16 KO) against Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0, 14 KO). That first one might not happen, though; Rodriguez’s manager says it’s happening, but MP Promotion’s Sean Gibbons says it isn’t.