LOS ANGELES – Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire are finally one day away from meeting in the ring in a fight more than a year in the making.
Both boxers made weight for their oft-rescheduled WBC bantamweight title fight, which headlines a Showtime tripleheader Saturday evening from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Oubaali (17-0, 12KOs) weighed 117.6 pounds ahead of the third defense of the WBC title he has held for more than two years. Donaire also registered at 117.6 pounds in pursuit of his third bantamweight title reign.
The bout was originally due to take place last May and again last December, with both occasions canceled due to COVID-related reasons. The delays have left both boxers out of the ring since November 7, 2019, when they appeared in separate bouts versus the Inoue family in Saitama, Japan.
France’s Oubaali—a two-time Olympian—turned away the challenge of the previously unbeaten Takuma Inoue for his third win of 2019. Donaire (40-6, 26KOs) came up just short versus the excellent Naoya Inoue in their World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight final and title unification bout, dropping a 12-round decision in a bout recognized by the Boxing Writers Association of America as the 2019 Fight of the Year.
Oubaali fights in the U.S. for just the second time in his pro career. His lone other stateside appearance ignited his title reign, outpointing three-time U.S. Olympian and former bantamweight titlist Rau’Shee Warren in Jan. 2019 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Donaire has held titles in four weight divisions, with a win on Saturday once again etching his name in boxing history. The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer from San Leandro, California by way of Philippines—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—looks to break his own record as the oldest fighter ever to win a piece of the bantamweight crown, having done so nine days shy of his 36th birthday in a 4th round stoppage of Ryan Burnett in Nov. 2018.
Donaire has held titles at flyweight, bantamweight (twice), junior featherweight (twice) and featherweight.
The evening’s chief support pits Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias (16-1, 16KOs) and Kazakhstan’s Batyr Jukembayev (18-0, 14KOs) in a 12-round IBF title eliminator. Fajardo's Matias weighed 139.6 pounds for his second straight Showtime appearance, while Jukembayev checked in at 139.8 pounds for his U.S. debut.
Opening the telecast, 2016 U.S. Olympian and streaking junior welterweight prospect Gary Antuanne Russell (13-0, 13KOs) of Capitol Heights, Maryland faces Bayamon, Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago (14-1-1, 10KOs) in a scheduled 10-round contest.
Russell checked in at a ripped 137.2 pounds for his first fight since last February. Santiago weighed 140.8 pounds, returning to his natural weight after a one-off welterweight fight where he suffered a disputed 12-round points loss to Adrien Broner this past February at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
All three bouts air live on Showtime, beginning 10:00 p.m. Eastern and 7:00 p.m. local time.
Below are the weights for the non-televised undercard bouts.
Alejandro Santiago Barrios (23-2-5, 12KOs), Tijuana, 117.6 pounds vs. Juan Gabriel Medina (12-6, 11KOs), La Romana, Dominican Republic, 118 pounds—8 rounds, bantamweight
Kevin Johnson (8-2, 3KOs), Detroit, 140 pounds vs. Luis Salazar (15-0, 3KOs), Santo Domingo, 139.4 pounds—8 rounds, junior welterweight
Atif Oblerlton (1-0, 1KO), Philadelphia, 179.8 pounds vs. Larry Pryor (14-23, 8KOs), Washington, D.C., 181.8 pounds—6 rounds, light heavyweight
Rey Diaz (4-0, 2KOs), Las Vegas, 134 pounds vs. Sergio Gonzalez (3-4, 2KOs), Compton, 135.8 pounds—4 rounds, lightweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox