Donaire mulls training in Cebu
MANILA, Philippines — Nonito Donaire Jr. said yesterday he’s considering putting up a training camp in Cebu to prepare for his April 21 must-win duel with former IBF superbantamweight and WBA featherweight champion Carl (The Jackal) Frampton at the SSE Arena in Belfast, adding that Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Tokyo are other options.
“We’re trying to figure out if we can train in Cebu,” said Donaire. If he can arrange it, Donaire said Filipino sparmates will be tapped with support from the fabled ALA Gym of owner Tony Aldeguer. A leading Filipino featherweight is undefeated WBO No. 2 contender Mark Magsayo, an ALA fighter. Donaire said the availability of quality sparmates is key to his choice.
Donaire has called out Frampton for a fight since the Irishman’s match against Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez fell through last July. Frampton weighed a pound over the featherweight limit for the bout which was cancelled when Gutierrez suffered multiple injuries after slipping in the shower of his hotel room the night before the show. Frampton has since split from his manager Barry McGuigan, switched trainers from McGuigan’s son Shane to former European lightmiddleweight champion Jamie Moore and signed up with promoter Frank Warren. Last November, he was back in action to outpoint Mexico’s Horacio Garcia in Belfast but looked shaky in pounding out a win via a unanimous 10-round decision. Frampton was floored in the seventh round. It wasn’t the first time that he got off the canvas to prevail. In 2015, he was floored twice in the opening round but recovered to outpoint Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. in El Paso, Texas.
Donaire said he can’t afford to lose to Frampton. “I plan to do three fights this year,” he said. “I’m hoping one of them will be for the world title. If I lose to Frampton, I go back to square one. It’s the same situation with Frampton. So it’s a must-win fight for both of us. That’s what makes this an exciting match. I can’t wait to fight Frampton in his hometown.”
Donaire said facing Frampton could turn out to be a tactical engagement. “We’ve got similar styles,” he said. “Frampton can brawl or box. He’s flexible and so am I. I think my advantage is power. I’m also more experienced. I understand that he’s being lined up for a shot at IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby so it looks like his team is looking past me. I’m out to prove them wrong to not give me a chance to win. I’m used to that role. I’ve been proving experts wrong for years.”
Selby, who’s Welsh, is set to stake his IBF crown against Josh Warrington in Leeds on May 19. Frampton is next in line to challenge Selby but he’s got to dispose of Donaire as a prerequisite.
Donaire’s fight against Frampton was initially tipped for April 7 but Warren postponed it to give way to the Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker world heavyweight unification title bout. Donaire said he’s awaiting confirmation from his promoter Ringstar Sports and Warren if his fight against Frampton will be for 10 or 12 rounds. “The main thing is the fight will happen in Belfast,” he said. “I don’t know if there will be a belt on the line or if it will be an official title eliminator. The promoters will settle that.”
Donaire, 35, turned pro in 2001 and has compiled a 38-4 record, with 24 KOs. He was previously the IBO/IBF flyweight, interim WBA superflyweight, WBC/WBO bantamweight, IBF/WBO superbantamweight and WBA featherweight champion. Frampton, 30, made his pro debut in 2009 and his record is 24-1, with 14 KOs. His only loss was a majority decision to Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas last year.