WBC Declares Oubaali Champion in Recess, Donaire vs Rodriguez For The Title

Oubaali And Donaire Vs Rodriguez WBC

  • The WBC has declared Nordine Oubaali as Champion in Recess
  • Doubaali was supposed to make a mandatory defense against Nonito Donaire on December 19 but pulled out of the bout due to COVID-19
  • Donaire will face Emmanuel Rodriguez in a bout that the WBC has sanctioned as a title fight.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has declared WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali as “Champion in Recess” after the champion pulled out of his mandatory title defense against Nonito Donaire due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Oubaali was supposed to fight Donaire on December 19th in a Showtime-televised main event. Instead, the Filipino Flash will now take on number four rated Emmanuel Rodriguez on fight night. According to the WBC, that bout will now be for the promotion’s 118-pound title.

Sulaiman added that Oubaali will not lose his world title status and will not have a pre-set deadline to return to the ring. He will be entitled to make a voluntary defense before taking on the winner of the Donaire vs Rodriguez fight who will become his mandatory challenger.

Oubaali won the vacant WBC bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Rau’Shee Warren in January 2019. The 34-year old Frenchman successfully defended the belt twice last year, retiring Arthur Villanueva in six rounds and scoring a 12-round decision win over Takuma Inoue.

Mandatory Challenger

Last December, the WBC appointed Nonito Donaire Jr. as the organization’s 118-pound mandatory challenger, replacing Luis Nery. Nery previously held the belt but was stripped in 2018 after missing weight by five pounds during his scheduled title defense against Shinsuke Yamanaka.

The 38-year old Donaire is a four-division world champion who has held eight world titles from the four top organizations. Known as the Filipino Flash, Donaire was the BWAA’s Fighter of the Year in 2012 and owns two Knockout of the Year winners. He is one of three Asian fighters to win world titles in four different weight classes.

Donaire is coming off a loss to Naoya Inoue in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Although Donaire was stopped late in the bout, he proved that Inoue was no monster as he stood toe to toe with the Japanese champion and held his own for 11 rounds before the younger and stronger fighter took over late.

Former IBF Champion

Emmanuel Rodriguez is a former amateur standout who represented Puerto Rico in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics where he won a gold medal. The 28-year old from Manati, Puerto Rico is a former WBO Latino bantamweight titleholder. He won the IBF bantamweight belt in 2018 when he scored a unanimous decision victory over Paul Butler.

Rodriguez successfully defended the belt with a split decision win over Jason Moloney before losing the title to Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight quarterfinals. Rodriguez is currently the no. 4 ranked bantamweight by the WBC and when Oubaali pulled out of the Donaire fight, he was approved as the replacement.

The Puerto Rican was supposed to face Rau’Shee Warren in a title eliminator but Warren sustained an injury. He was then linked to a showdown with former champion Luis Nery but that did not materialize. Rodriguez and Nery were also slated to fight in November 2019 but that fights was called off after Nery missed weight and Rodriguez refused to fight him.

Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.