‘The Filipino Flash’ endeared himself to Irish fight fans during with his behaviour and general demeanour surrounding his April 2018 clash with Carl Frampton.
The four-weight world champion was full of respect for his opponent, Belfast and the people of the city.
Following the fight, the love for Donaire increased as he took the reverse graciously and even spent time with his defeater and his family.
A clash with another Belfast world champion, Ryan Burnett, last November then afforded the Philippine fight legend with the opportunity to cement his status as one of the most loved opponents in Irish boxing
Donaire’s reaction to a freak injury suffered by the 26-year-old during their World Boxing Super Series quarter final and world title fight saw him gain further Titanic love and respect.
However, it seems the WBSS semi-finalist’s positive impact on Belfast boxing doesn’t end there.
Donaire, who faces late replacement Stephon Young in New Orleans tonight, is proving a real inspiration for Carl Frampton at present.
Speaking in his Sunday Life column ‘The Jackal’ reveals witnessing how the 36-year-old defied critics and boxing logic to return to the top has given him some perspective on his defeat to Josh Warrington.
“In fact, the way Donaire has defied the critics and to some degree normal boxing logic is genuinely a real inspiration to me,” explained Frampton
“The man is a multi-weight world champion, been in a lot of wars and after losing to me at featherweight he was able to drop down two weight divisions and become the WBA bantamweight champion at 36. If that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is.”
“When I look at my career and the fact I suffered a defeat to Josh Warrington despite feeling so confident, I can take a lot of heart with the way in which Donaire has turned himself around – and I’m not having to drop down two weight divisions like him.
Young has stepped in to replace WBO champ Zolani Tete who pulled out with a shoulder injury and Donaire is expected to progress to the final and face the winner of the corresponding semi between Naoya Inoue and IBF champ Manny Rodriguez.
The veteran has settled back into bantamweight well and Frampton is tipping him for success.
The Tiger’s Bay boxer described how “after he had lost to me and I heard he was dropping down from featherweight I thought it would be to super-bantamweight but then he said he was entering the WBSS and I said at the time that if he can do the weight, he will be very hard to beat.”