By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA – Filipino boxing legend Nonito Donaire looks to become a two-time World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion at an old age as he takes on Alexandro Santiago on July 30 (Philippine Time) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The showdown between the now 40-year-old Donaire and Santiago, as announced by the WBC on Thursday, will be part of a fight card headlined by a much-anticipated showdown pitting former prospective Manny Pacquiao opponents Errol Spence and Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship.
The Donaire-Santiago affair was initially part of the card highlighted by a clash between Frank Martin and Artem Harutyunyan scheduled this Sunday (Philippine Time) at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
However, the postponement of the bout between Jesus Ramos and Sergio Garcia led to the adjustment in the schedule of the Donaire–Sanchez bout.
Ramos suffered an injury and had to withdraw from the bout against Garcia.
Garcia will now take on a replacement fighter who will be revealed soon.
The new match remains part of the Spence-Crawford fight card but will not be shown on pay-per-view.
Donaire, one of the Philippines’ modern-day boxing legends, seeks to reclaim the now-vacant WBC bantamweight title.
On May 29, 2021, Donaire, then 38 years old, stunned the world when he knocked out Nordine Oubaali to win the belt and become the oldest living champion in the 118-pound division.
However, “The Filipino Flash” relinquished the belt the following year to Naoya Inoue in their rematch.
Inoue has since moved to the super bantamweight division, vacating all his bantamweight title belts in the process.
Donaire looks to reassert his claim as the oldest bantamweight champ.
However, standing in his way is Santiago.
Santiago came just close to stripping the IBF junior bantamweight title away from another Filipino boxer, Jerwin Ancajas, in 2018.
Ancajas escaped with a controversial split draw. (PNA)