Nonito Donaire, Jr. is a Filipino American professional boxer. Known as "The Filipino Flash," Donaire is a four-division world champion and the former IBF, WBO, The Ring Super Bantamweight Champion. He is also the former WBC, WBO Bantamweight, Interim WBA Super Flyweight, IBF and IBO Flyweight Champion.
He is a known switch-hitter with the ability to fight either southpaw or orthodox. His surname is often mispronounced as do-nayr but it is properly pronounced as do-nigh-reh.
The confrontational, fearless Donaire is a far cry from the fragile youngster growing up in San Leandro, California after moving with his family from Bohol, Philippines at age 11. "I've gotten where people would just run in front of me and jump kick me or just grab my neck and knee me in the playground and I'm on the ground gasping for air. Or somebody would just come up and flick my ears or just smack the back of my head," said Donaire, who also suffered from asthma as a child.
Picked on because he didn't understand English, Donaire often felt depressed at the hopelessness of his situation.
"There was a time when I would just come home crying thinking 'My life is worthless, why am I here?."
Donaire picked up boxing at age 11, following in the footsteps of his older brother Glenn, who also challenged for a world title as a professional. Nonito admits to being scared out of his wits prior to his first amateur bout, but quickly found his survival instinct. And then moments later, his killer instinct. Life began to turn around for Donaire in high school when he was featured on ESPN during a National Junior Olympic tournament, and, as he puts it, "I became kinda cool."
"Throughout the years you learn to become brave, you learn to become strong, you learn to become confident. But one thing is for sure, you learn to become who you are," said Donaire. "When I'm inside that ring, I kinda psyche myself out thinking it's a gladiator ring. It's the last day I'm going to be on Earth if I don't win."
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