By Peter Wells: Knockout after knockout after knockout. That was what it was like to be Nonito Donaire. Suddenly though a move to Super Bantamweight has halted Donaire’s fan pleasing knockout style and suddenly his fights are dragging out into one-sided 12 rounders.
On Saturday night maybe that spark he once possessed will return when he faces his toughest test at Super Bantamweight and may well be his toughest fight of his career. Toshiaki Nishioka may be 36 but is unbeaten since 2004 and has never lost at Super Bantamweight. After two early career defeats he has only lost twice, both defeats at the hands of the fantastic Thailand fighter, Veeraphol Sahaprom, both via unanimous decision. The Japanese fighter has also only ever been stopped once, and that was in his second professional fight back in 1995.
The former WBC champion, who had his title stripped after he couldn’t fight his mandatory challenger due to personal problems, has beaten many top quality fighters including; Jhonny Gonzalez, Ivan Hernandez, Rafael Marquez and Britain’s most famous binman, Rendall Munroe.
If nothing else, the fans will hope that this is an entertaining fight. They will be hoping that Donaire will return to his powerful best when confronted by another elite fighter. That is no disrespect to Vazquez Jr, Narveaz or Mathebula, but they were never able to offer much of a threat to Donaire.
Nishioka can offer that threat, but expect Donaire to also rise up and put in a stunning performance that we’d become so used to. Sometimes as fight fans we take things for granted, but I doubt we’ll be forgetting this fight for some time. The pick is for Donaire to start fast before Nishioka comes back into the fight. It should be a sea-saw battle with Donaire taking a tight but deserved decision in a contender for fight of the year.