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The Lowdown on… Donaire vs. Nishioka

Donaire and Nishioka battle in Carson City
Donaire and Nishioka battle in Carson City

SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win


By Mike Sloan: A wonderful fight that has flown under the radar, the HBO-televised super bantamweight matchup between pound-for-pound entrant Nonito Donaire and Toshiaki Nishioka should be one of the better marquee battles of the year. Donaire is riding a wave of swelling popularity and many within the sport believe he’ll eventually be one of the biggest stars in all of boxing. A win over Nishioka, who is among the best in the smaller weight classes, would reinforce that notion.


Though most expect the Filipino-American to be triumphant against his Japanese counterpart, not many believe he’ll blow right threw him. In fact, some insiders have picked Nishioka to pull off the upset, something that certainly has a strong possibility of happening.


Ever since Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) flattened terrific Mexican fighter Fernando Montiel within two rounds, the sport of boxing has been clamoring to see more of him. Many think he’s good enough and hits hard enough to possibly equal the great Manny Pacquiao, but “The Filipino Flash” has a long way to go before that happens. He first has to get past Nishioka.


Regarding the Tokyo native, he’d turn the boxing world upside down if he won, especially if he was able to take his foe out. Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) hits hard enough and is more than capable of winning, but the overwhelming majority think he’ll fall short against Donaire.


Luckily for you, we know exactly what will happen when Donaire squares off against Nishioka. If you want to know who will win and exactly how he’ll pull it off, you’ve come to the right spot. Read on to see who will win between Nonito Donaire and Toshiaki Nishioka:



Punching power: Donaire is regarded as one of the hardest punchers in the lower weight classes and for good reason. He turned Montiel into a sprinter while out cold and flat on his back; he tore up and iced Vic Darchinyan when he was still unbeaten; Volodymyr Sydorenko bit the bullet within four; Manuel Vargas was creamed in the third. He may be little, but he packs one hell of a punch.


But that doesn’t mean that Nishioka can’t crack, either. Though his knockout percentage is a tad lower than that of his opponent, he hits hard. Just ask Jhonny Gonzalez, Jose Alosno, Jesus Garcia and Balweg Bangoyan; they’ve all been creamed. However, Donaire seems to have more raw, one-punch power than Nishioka and if it came down to who could take the other’s punch better, the fact that the Japanese fighter has already been knocked out, the nod goes to one guy. Advantage: Donaire.


Speed: Both of these guys have lightning quick handspeed and reflexes. Donaire tends to throw his punches from more accurate levels and angles, though they come sometimes from unorthodox positions. Nishioka is very fast, too, but his punches are a little more mechanical. He’s accurate as well, but he’s much older. If one man has the edge in speed, it’s the Filipino. Advantage: Donaire.


Size: They weigh the same and have a virtually identical reach but Nishioka is an inch taller. That doesn’t mean much and it will serve neither as a major advantage or disadvantage. This one’s a wash. Advantage: Push.


Age factor: Out of all the categories, this is the one that matters most. Donaire is 29 and in the middle of his fighting prime. He’ll be at this stage for a few more years. Nishioka is 36 and has been in 16 more fights as a pro. That means many more rounds, much more wear and tear and an older body. Nishioka hasn’t shown any overly noticeable signs of slowing down just yet, but he’s about to. Donaire has an advantage in speed and with him being seven years Nishioka’s junior, that will be huge. Advantage: Donaire


Chin: Donaire has never been stopped and he’s never really been in serious peril inside the ring. He’s been hit cleanly and hard, but he’s withstood it all and has not lost in 11-plus years. Off the top of my head I can’t recall him being knocked down. Nishioka, on the other hand, was knocked out by Masahiko Nakamura and dropped by Jhonny Gonzalez. He’s not chinny by any means, but he’s shown vulnerabilities in his career. Advantage: Donaire.


Experience: Nishioka has fought many more times and many more rounds. He’s locked horns with such greats as Rafael Marquez, Veeraphol Sahaprom (thrice), Napapol Sor Rungvisai, Ivan Hernandez and the aforementioned Gonzalez. He won the majority of those contests. Donaire has toppled the likes of Montiel, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Darchinyan, Omar Narvaez and Luis Maldonado. Nishioka has taken on far greater opposition, a few of them instant Hall of Famers. Donaire, at this point, simply cannot say the same thing. Advantage: Nishioka


Intangibles: The biggest factors are the age discrepancy and if Nishioka can avoid turning old in the ring. Donaire has not lost in over a decade and has looked sensational every time out over the past few years. His handlers are pumping him as the Next Great Thing and he certainly has the “it” quality so many great fighters need. Nishioka is not going to lay down and he’ll try to prove the many critics wrong by pulling off the upset.


The Japanese warrior also has literally nothing to lose, which makes him even more dangerous. Donaire also hasn’t fought anybody with as many tools and experience as Nishioka, which should give him problems. However, Donaire has more power, is faster and hasn’t cracked under any of the pressure that has been dumped all over him because so many want him to take the torch from Pacquiao when he retires. Advantage: Donaire


The bottom line: This will be a tough fight for Donaire early. Nishioka will empty his entire bag of tricks in an effort to topple his opponent. He’ll use all sorts of guile and tactics only a seasoned veteran of his stature can. He’ll make things tricky for Donaire early on, but the Filipino’s speed and tenacity will eventually take over. By the middle rounds, Donaire will have seized control of the action and he’ll begin picking Nishioka apart. Donaire will be in complete command of the action and when he feels his foe beginning to fade, he’ll step on the gas. Donaire will start landing hard shots to the head and body and Nishioka will not be enjoying it. Nishioka will get dropped early in the tenth from a nice body/head combo. He’ll beat the count, but Donaire will be all over him. Donaire will score another knockdown late in the tenth and the outlook will be grim for Nishioka. In between rounds ten and eleven, his corner and the referee will end the fight, allowing Donaire to win by late rounds TKO. Bank on it.


You can also contact Mike Sloan at, follow him at or check out his new fight blog


October 12, 2012


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