Philippine star Nonito Donaire enters next week’s world title bout against Japanese southpaw Toshiaki Nishioka confident, but wary of his 36-year-old rival, despite his layoff of more than a year.
“Being older and being a veteran, it’s never as bad as it looks,” Donaire said on Friday. “Even if he hasn’t been fighting in a while, he can get it back really fast because he has the experience to do so. Definitely with Nishioka, we can’t let our guard down. Nishioka is a tough guy, but we have a great plan going into this fight.”
The showdown of Asian stars on Saturday in Los Angeles will decide who holds the IBF and WBO super bantamweight crowns.
Donaire, 29-1 with 18 knockouts, has an 11-year win streak of 28 fights in a row.
Nishioka, 39-4 with three drawn and 24 knockouts, has an eight-year win streak of 16 bouts, eight of them for world titles, but has not fought since October last year’s undisputed decision over Mexico’s Rafael Marquez.
“He’s very experienced,” Donaire trainer Robert Garcia said. “But he hasn’t been inside the ring against a fighter like Nonito, who has that tremendous speed and power. That’s what’s going to make the difference. I’m not pushing or asking for the knockout. I want him to do what he has done in training and he has looked good in training.”
Donaire, 29, has won his past three fights by decision and would like a more impressive showing against Nishioka.
However, the Japanese veteran has not lost by knockout since the second fight of his career in 1995 and has not lost at all since Thai star Veeraphol Sahaprom downed him in 2004.
“He does pose a threat with his power. He knows how to set that up,” Donaire said. “He knows how to frustrate a fighter. We don’t want to fall into that trap. We’re ready for whatever he does. With the proper game plan, the fight will set up for me. When you don’t know where the punch is coming from, you are going to go down.”
Donaire said his speed would allow him to evade Nishioka’s power punches.
“He does have power. He can land and set up his straight,” Donaire said. “We’re very wary and very set up for his advantages. I know I’m a better fighter. I’m ready physically and mentally for this fight.”
Donaire said he would like to face one of his unbeaten fellow champions in the division next, Mexico’s Abner Mares.
“We would all like to see that happen at some point,” said Donaire’s manager, Cameron Dunkin.