Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in Las Vegas, Nev., has been a consensus top-10 pound-for-pound fighter for several years. His 12-year, 30-bout winning streak came to an end in his last fight, losing a decision to undefeated Cuban sensation and WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rogondeaux in a title unification bout last April. Trained by 2012 Trainer of the Year and former world champion Robert Garcia, Donaire is himself the reigning Fighter of the Year. 2012 was a career year for Donaire, winning four world title fights — all televised live on HBO. Highlights included capturing the vacant WBO junior featherweight title in February, winning a gritty split-decision battle over former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.
He unified the title later that summer, via a dominant unanimous decision victory over defending IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula. Donaire followed that victory with another legacy-making knockout — a ninth-round stoppage of WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka in October, ending Nishioka’s eight-year, 16-bout winning streak.
Donaire capped the year in December, blasting out Méxican icon Jorge Arce via a third-round knockout. Career highlights for Donaire also include knockout victories of defending IBF / International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan, in the fifth round, the first loss of Darchinyan’s professional career, former WBA bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko, in the fourth round, and defending WBC / WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montielin the second round, ending Montiel’s 25-bout winning streak while also claiming his third world title in as many weight divisions. That victory was named the 2011 Knockout of the Year.