SPORTS SHORTS 22: NORDINE OUBAALI IS REINSTATED AS WBC BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION, WILL FACE NONITO DONAIRE WHEN CLEARED
By Maloney L. Samaco
Tue, 12 Jan 2021
The World Boxing Council has reinstalled Nordine Oubaali as WBC world bantamweight champion in a letter which stated that it would “remove the Champion In-Recess designation from WBC Bantamweight World Champion Nordine Oubaali.” The letter repeated its policy that the interim champion would not automatically become the mandatory challenger without the WBC's orders per BoxingScene.com.
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The “champion in recess” mark was given to him last November after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw from his title defense against former four division champion Nonito Donaire. The WBC made Oubaali, age 34 years of Lens, France, a “champion in recess” and approved Donaire's fight with former bantamweight titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez, who was willing to substitute on short notice for the vacant WBC title on December 19 in Uncasville, Connecticut.
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But Donaire was also tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the bout and even though he claimed the test result was a false positive he was still replaced by countryman Reymart Gaballo this time for the vacant interim WBC bantamweight belt. Gaballo then won a disputed split decision. With Oubaali and Donaire having both withdrawn from the title bout due to COVID-19, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman recently issued a letter to the various boxing entities informing them of the situation of Oubaali’s title.
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“The WBC will continue to monitor Champion Oubaali’s and Nonito Donaire’s condition with views of determining when they will be medically cleared and fit to return to the ring,” the WBC letter added. “The WBC will allow Champion Oubaali to make a voluntary defense of his World Title in February of 2021, based on the WBC’s determination that he is medically cleared and fit to do so. Based on the availability and medical clearance of the WBC World Champion, WBC Interim Champion and Nonito Donaire, the WBC will reassess the overall situation of the division and will issue a more definitive order (later this month)."
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Oubaali and Donaire have both said they still want to fight and their respective teams are preparing for a bout that will soon be rescheduled. Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs), of Moroccan descent and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian for France, has defended his bantamweight world title twice since winning the vacant belt by unanimous decision over Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati, Ohio in January 2019 on the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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“The Filipino Flash” Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs), 38, from the Philippines now living in Las Vegas, who has won world titles at flyweight, bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, is aiming for a third bantamweight world crown having won the WBO and WBA titles. He has not boxed since November 2019, when he boxed in the Fight of the Year, a fiercely-fought decision loss in the bantamweight unification fight with Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series Finals. Oubaali’s unanimous decision win over Takuma Inoue was on the undercard of that event
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Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3 KOs) will return to the ring on Thursday at the famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan against OPBF bantamweight titleholder Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13 KOs) in a bout on Fuji TV. It will be Inoue’s first appearance in 434 days. The younger Inoue was the Ring Magazine 2015 Prospect of the Year. He held the WBC interim bantamweight title from 2018 to 2019.
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Oscar De La Hoya announced that he would be willing to fight Gennadiy Golovkin and that he “always took apart fighters like him.” The 38-year-old Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) had a strongly worded reply. “You know Oscar, you know how dirty his mouth is,” Golovkin told Agence France-Presse. “Everything involving Gennadiy Golovkin for him is a nightmare. He can say whatever. But let me put it this way — if I got an opportunity to legally kill a person in the ring, I might seize it.”
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The Golden Boy owner and former world welterweight champion just smiled at these comments in an interview with Fight Hub TV. “Look, they (the comments) weren’t nice, but he’s a fighter, he’s got to protect his own image,” De La Hoya said. “But he’s obviously still a dangerous fighter because he hits hard.” Howwever, the 47-year-old De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) emphasized that he was better than Kamil Szeremeta, the Polish challenger whom Golovkin dominated and easily stopped in the seventh round on December 12 in Hollywood, Florida.
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No. 3 NBA overall draft pick LaMelo Ball got his first career triple-double, and became the youngest player in league history to achieve such feat. At 19 years and 140 days, Ball surpassed the previous record of 19 years and 317 days, which was held by Markelle Fultz of Orlando Magic. Ball had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, as the Charlotte Hornets were victorious 113-105 over the Atlanta Hawks. Ball was trained by his father, LaVar, as early as the time he could already walk and at age four, he started playing with his older brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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