THE scheduled ring return of Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire this month is not pushing through after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Set to face Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez on Dec. 19 for the vacant World Boxing Council bantamweight title, United States-based Donaire (40-6) saw his push derailed by the positive testing.
The result came after Mr. Donaire, 38, underwent coronavirus testing as part of the health and safety protocols in the lead-up to the bout taking place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Reports have it that organizers are now weighing their options in light of the unfortunate turn
One option is having a replacement fighter for Mr. Donaire, possibly another Filipino in Reymart Gaballo.
Still another direction to take, according to reports, is for the World Boxing Council (WBC) to postpone the clash altogether and wait for a little while before having Messrs. Donaire and Rodriguez fight.
Interestingly, Mr. Donaire was originally set to challenge WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali of France for the title on Dec. 12 until the latter tested positive for the coronavirus last month.
The WBC then ordered the title vacated and have Mr. Oubaali declared as “champion in recess” while allowing Messrs. Donaire and Rodriguez to contend for it, with the winner then facing the Frenchman once he is cleared to return.
Four-division champion Donaire and Mr. Rodriguez (19-1), the former International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion, are coming off losses in their previous fights, both at the hands of undefeated Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue.
Mr. Donaire made the Japanese sweat and struggle before absorbing a unanimous decision loss in November last year.
Mr. Rodriguez, for his part, faced Mr. Inoue in May 2019 and was knocked out in the second round to lose his IBF title.
Both Messrs. Donaire and Rodriguez were angling to use their scheduled fight as leverage to gain traction anew in their division. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo