Nonito Gonzales Donaire Jr. (born November 16, 1982) is a Filipino-American professional boxer. He is a former four weight world champion, having held the IBF flyweight title from 2007 to 2009; the unified WBC and WBO bantamweight titles in 2011; the IBF super bantamweight title in 2012; the WBO super bantamweight title twice, from 2012 to 2013 and 2015 to 2016, and the WBA (Undisputed) featherweight title in 2014.
In total, Donaire has held seven world titles by the main four boxing sanctioning bodies, as well as the IBO flyweight title from 2007 to 2009; the WBA interim super flyweight title from 2009 to 2010; and the Ring Magazine and lineal super bantamweight titles from 2012 to 2013. He is popularly known as “The Filipino Flash” due to his exceptionally fast hand speed and formidable punching power.
Donaire was born in Talibon, Bohol, Philippines the third of four children to Nonito C. Donaire, Sr. and Imelda M. Gonzales. His brother is Glenn Donaire, a flyweight boxer. Donaire’s cousin, Richard Donaire, is also a professional boxer.
Until he was six years of age, Donaire lived in General Santos City, South Coabato and attended the same school as the eight division world champion, Manny Pacquiao. Donaire was a child of small stature who was bullied.
Donaire’s father was an amateur boxer who competed in the US in the early 1990s. His paternal grandfather was born in Hawaii, United States and this gave Donaire US citizenship under the principle of Jus Sanguinis. In 1993, at the age of eleven, Donaire joined his father in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. They later lived in San Leandro, California and San Mateo County, California.
Donaire said that during his childhook he wished for more attention from his parents and, after his brother started boxing, the attention given to him. This was his reason for entering the sport of boxing at the age of eleven even though he did not enjoy it. His father supported his choice as he felt it would keep Donaire of the streets. During their younger years, Donaire and older brother, Glenn, would spar. Donaire also watched videos of his hero, Alexis Arguello, and from them he learned to throw a powerful left hook.
While enrolled at the San Lorenzo High School in San Lorenzo, California Donaire and his brother won several regional and district amateur boxing championships. In his first amateur bout, he beat his opponent with straight punches, all the while thinking that “I’m going to kill him before he kills me.” However, Donaire had little confidence until he had five professional knockout victories.
On August 8, 2008, Donaire married Rachel Marcial, a Filipino-American USA national collegiate and military Taekwondo champion in a private ceremony at Carmel, California followed by a church service in the Philippines on November 11, 2011. Donaire’s wife is a member of his team and her father is his chief of security. On July 4, 2013, Donaire’s pregnant wife was injured while saving a drowning child. She recovered and her unborn child was unharmed.
On July 7, 2007, Donaire won the IBF flyweight title with a one punch , fifth round knockout of the then undefeated Vic Darchinyan. This victory was awarded Ring Magazine’s “Knockout of the Year” and “Upset of the Year”.
On July 31, 2007, Donaire met Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Donaire said the experience was, “an overwhelming feeling. It was indescribable. The moment I walked up the stairs and she was up there and when I looked it was a moment when I couldn’t even look at her face. It was a great honor.” Then, on December 1, 2007, Donaire made the first defense of his IBF title against Luis Maldonado of Mexico by a technical knockout in the eighth round. Donaire said, “I guess my validation was today but I didn’t feel my best; I felt sluggish. I didn’t have my legs. I don’t know what the problem was. I couldn’t move well so I tried to rely on my upper body movement.”