Top Rank made official on Friday what has been known for weeks -- that featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and secondary titlist Nicholas Walters will fight.
They’re set to meet Oct. 18 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, and open a top-notch HBO doubleheader headlined by middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin taking on interim titleholder Marco Antonio Rubio in Golovkin’s West Coast debut.
What’s nice about a card like this is that Top Rank is working with Golovkin promoter K2 Promotions to put on the doubleheader. It’s nice when promoters work together and the fans wind up with a quality card.
With Friday’s announcement also came a couple of quotes from the fighters.
"I am very excited for this fight. We are doing everything we can to be ready for everything Walters brings on Oct. 18," Donaire said.
Walters, who will be making his HBO debut, said, “This is my dream fight. It's now the time to show everyone who is the best 126-pound world champion in the entire world.”
The fight will be Donaire’s third at the StubHub Center. He fought there twice during his 2012 fighter of the year campaign, unifying junior featherweight belts by outpointing Jeffrey Mathebula in a dominant performance and then knocking out former titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round of another dominant fight.
Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) and Walters (24-0, 20 KOs) are both coming off victories on the same card on May 31 in Macau, China.
Donaire won his title by dropping Simpiwe Vetyeka in the fourth round and claiming a fifth-round technical decision when the referee ruled that Donaire was unable to continue due to a cut caused by an accidental head-butt. The fight was sent to the scorecards and Donaire was ahead 49-46 on all three of them.
By beating Vetyeka, Donaire -- “The Filipino Flash” -- claimed a world title in his fourth weight class (fifth, if you count interim belts) and won his second fight in a row since losing his junior featherweight title in a unification fight to Guillermo Rigondeaux in April 2013.
On the undercard, Walters, known as “The Axe Man,” scored a dominant fifth-round knockout of aging former two-division titlist Vic Darchinyan, who had previously been twice knocked out by Donaire. Walters, who has defended his belt twice, has scored knockouts in 10 of his past 11 fights.