- Nordine Oubaali has been reinstated as the WBC bantamweight champion.
- Oubaali was made as “Champion in Recess” after he pulled out of hishis 2020 mandatory title defense against Nonito Donaire Jr. due to COVID-19.
- The WBC will allow Oubaali to make a voluntary title defense next month if he is medically cleared to do so.
The WBC has reinstated Nourdine Oubaali as its bantamweight champion. The organization previously gave him a “Champion in Recess” status after his mandatory title defense against Nonito Donaire was called off after Oubali tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Nordine Oubaali Reinstated By WBC as Bantamweight World Champion https://t.co/g5tsKRzptY pic.twitter.com/IYjsDgXARB
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) January 10, 2021
Donaire Also Tested Positive
It can be recalled that with Oubaali out, the WBC ordered Donaire to take on former bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez for the interim WBC bantamweight title last December 19th in a Showtime-televised event at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Nonito Donaire The Latest Fighter To Test Positive For Covid https://t.co/JeenIouSJN https://t.co/fV7Sm1GdfV pic.twitter.com/Q1hWaysyoq
— The Pugilist ? (@ThePugilistMag) December 9, 2020
However, Donaire also tested positive for COVID-19 with just over a week before his scheduled bout with Rodriguez. The Filipino Flash questioned the COVID-19 test and claimed that it was a false positive. But despite his protests, that fight was also called off. The WBC then approved a a fight between Rodriguez and Reymart Gaballo for the vacant WBC bantamweight title. Gaballo defeated Rodriguez in a highly disputed split decision.
Change in Status
According to WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, the organization recently sent letters to the parties involved, informing them of the change in Oubaali’s status from “champion in recess” to full champion. It also outlined the WBC’s immediate and future plans for the champion and the bantamweight division.
1 mois déjà et toujours autant d’émotions…#Tobecontinued #Nevergiveup?♂️?#Lavictoireaimeleffort???
@LaBoxeAvecCanal @canalplus @Ali_Oubaali @WBCBoxing @MTKGlobal pic.twitter.com/CzIMbkOJfF
— oubaali (@nordineoubaali) February 20, 2019
Oubaali will be allowed a voluntary title defense next month, if the WBC deems him medically cleared to do so. The letter also said that it will continue to monitor the situation of Donaire, and the interim champion Gaballo, and make a more definitive order before the end of this month after reassessing the overall situation.
Both Oubaali and Donaire have issued statements that they want to fight each other once they are both medically cleared to. Reports are saying that the camps of both fighters are actively working on rescheduling the bout as soon as possible.
Third Title Defense
The 34-year Old Oubaali won the vacant belt by defeating Rau’Shee Warren in the undercard of Pacquiao-Broner in 2019. In his first title defense, Oubaali defeated Arthur Villanueva in July 2019 and then outpointed Naoya Inoue’s brother Takuma during his second title defense in November 2019.
Photos: Nordine Oubaali Beats Rau’shee Warren, Wins WBC Belt https://t.co/CvXItn9RCN pic.twitter.com/0TYyXjT4ku
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) January 20, 2019
Meanwhile, four-division world champion Donaire is looking to add a third bantamweight title to his trophy case. The 38-year old Filipino-American has not fought since losing to Naoya Inoue in the 2019 Fight of the Year at the finals of the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight tournament. Oubaali defeated Takuma in the undercard of that event.