Nonito Donaire's moniker is the "The Filipino Flash," and he lived up to that name by speedily gaining worldwide recognition for his winning bout against Rafael Concepcion in Las Vegas last August 15, 2009. His victory over the Panamanian earned him the interim WBA flyweight title, and it was a title he paid for with hard work. His fight, which he dedicated to the late President Corazon Aquino, was also for the people who supported him all the way. The grateful boxer also made it known that he was thankful to his idol Manny Pacquiao for opening the door to all Filipino boxers. Manny is likewise proud of Nonito for his contributions to the country.
With his next fight still a long way off, Nonito is focusing on his new challenge, to knock out Celebrity Duets audience with his skills as a singer, all for a worthy cause. On Saturday, August 22, he guested on Startalk together with his wife Rachel Marcial-Donaire to talk about his victory, his blessings, and his own way of giving back.
Hosting the live interview was Startalk's Joey de Leon, Lolit Solis and Butch Francisco. Joey asked Nonito if there was point during the fight that he had a hard time, considering the significant size advantage Concepcion had being 12 pounds heavier on fight night.
"Actually, noong lumaban ako, e 134 [pounds] yung timbang niya at ako 122," said Nonito. "Aside from that, 'yong gloves na ginamit ko, e makapal. At madaya talaga, pero ginawa ko lahat para masaktan siya."
Nonito's wife Rachel said she was confident that her husband would win the fight because she was witness to his training in the Unites States. "When he's training, I'm there," added Rachel. "So, I can see throughout his training that he is giving it 100 percent, 200 percent. So I knew even if it went for 12 rounds, I knew that he had the stamina and ability and the training to properly take the win."
As any losing side would do, Concepcion said in an interview that "Donaire did not want to fight. He wanted to run." What is Nonito's reaction to this?
Smiling, he said, "Gusto ko na ma-knockout siya, pero malaki talaga, e. Siya ang nandadaya, e. First off, the fight should have never happened, kasi malaki ang diperensiya sa weight class. Pero dedicate ako na magawa iyon kahit 20 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds overweight, e lalaban ako kasi nandoon ang Pilipino na nagbibigay ng support. Canada and Hawaii Filipinos traveled for 20 hours just to see me."
CELEBRATE THE GOOD TIMES. With the fight over and his title belt securely in its proper place, were Nonito and Rachel able to chill out and celebrate the much deserved victory?
"We actually got to watch a concert but we didn't get to eat as much as he wanted to because he had to cut the weight, but we celebrate every day. We pretty much have our anniversary every day," offered Rachel in response.
When asked about how Nonito was as a husband, she smiled and said, "He's very sweet and thoughtful. You can be sleeping and he'll lightly kiss you in the cheek and once you wake up, he'll kiss you dozens of times."
Rumor has it that the couple is planning on having a baby soon. Are they working on it?
"Practice lang," laughed Nonito. "Wala pa."
OPPONENTS LINING UP IN THE RING AND OUT. Nonito's next fight will be on December 12, according to Top Rank, Inc. promoter Bob Arum, and he would either be up against Mexican Jorge Arce or Japan's Nobuo Nashiro. "Kahit saan lalaban ako, pero that's all up to Top Rank," he said.
Brave words, but the joke is that the only one he wouldn't dare go against is his wife Rachel, who, aside from being an FHM babe, is a taekwondo champion and a member of the US Air Force.
The December fight would definitely be a thing to watch, but for now, it's Nonito's vocal cords that'll be doing the hard work for him now that he's a competitor in GMA-7's Celebrity Duets. What training is he doing for this show and what does he plan to do in the near future?
"Boxing po talaga ang focus ko," said Nonito. "Pero ito, nagsali ako sa Celebrity Duets kasi pag nanalo ako, e makakatulong ako sa mga bata at nangangailangan. For me, it's not the prize, it's more of enjoying myself and helping mga bata."
With his popularity ever more growing, does Rachel think she will get jealous once girls start swarming all over her husband?
"No. We built our relationship since day one on trust..." began Rachel.
Before she could finish, Nonito quipped, "And an iron fist and iron kick!"
Looking at her husband and laughing, she continued, "There are already girls flirting with him all the time. I just smile and wait until they are done flirting!"
Changing the subject, Nonito proceeded to express that he was more comfortable singing when his wife's in front of him.
"Ang puso ko, nandoon sa kanya at dedicated sa kanya," smiled Nonito. "For me, loving my wife is one thing that drives me. Inspired ako and mostly nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon na binigyan ako ng beautiful wife."
Rachel on her part answered, "God has a plan for all of us and that Nonito was brought in my life for a reason and it was to make each of us stronger in some way. Through thick and thin..."