Top Rank officially announced today what was speculated by many over the past few weeks: Nonito Donaire will face fellow junior featherweight titlist Toshiaki Nishioka Saturday, October 13 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The co-feature of the evening will feature former world lightweight titlist Brandon Rios against Mike Alvarado in a battle of unbeatens. Both fights will be televised on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
"History shows there is only one way for a fighter to make the leap to stardom and that’s by accepting the challenges and risks like the ones Donaire, Nishioka, Rios and Alvarado committed to on October 13. They are young, hungry and ambitious," said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank through a press release.
Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) is a fast rising pound-for-pound talent riding an 11-year, 28-bout winning streak. Perhaps even more impressive than the number of wins he’s accumulated during that time, though, are the types of fights he continues to challenge himself with. Donaire has defeated the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Fernando Montiel, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and Jeffrey Mathebula while laying claim to three world titles along the way in as many weight divisions.
Ten of Donaire’s last 13 victories have come by way of knockout despite the fact he’s moved from flyweight to super bantam. Now, the ambitious fighter from the Philippines will turn his attention towards perhaps his toughest challenge to date.
Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs), of Hyogo, Japan, enters this fight riding his own impressive win streak. The veteran champion has won 16 bouts in a row over the last eight years. He’s been a champion in the 122-pound division since 2008 (WBC). His last bout was unanimous decision win over Rafael Marquez. While not a household name, hardcore fight fans recognize Nishioka as one of top fighters in the sport.
Donaire vs. Nishioka is the kind of fight boxing doesn’t get much of these days, where a name fighter like Donaire chooses to pit himself against the toughest competition available.
Meanwhile, Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado promises to be a solid fight for however long it lasts. Both fighters are known for rough-and-tough action, and both will want to continue their winning ways. While many fight fans thought Rios got a gift when he defeated Richard Abril by split decision earlier this year, his record remains officially unblemished and (like it or not) he’s more marketable because of it.
Alvarado will be taking a step up in class in this fight. His most notable wins include names like Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, Emmanuel Clottey and Cesar Bazan. Alvarado defeated the previously unbeaten Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision in his last fight. A win over Rios would solidify the 32-year-old late bloomer (he began boxing at age 20) as someone to be reckoned with in the junior welterweight division.
Do these fights move the dial for our TSS readers? Who do you like in each fight?
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV