Donaire turned professional in 2001. He signed up with promoter Jackie Kallen, who paid him a monthly salary of $1,500. After four pro bouts, among which he lost his second, Donaire left Kallen and returned to Manila with his father. Initially mulling restarting his boxing career in the Philippines, they decided to go back to the better facilities in San Leandro, where his father felt there were fewer distractions.

Early Years as Professional Boxer

Donaire won his first regional title in flyweight division by defeating Kaichon Sor Vorapin for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific flyweight title in Guam on 9 September 2002. Donaire knocked out the future world title challenger in the second round.

Donaire won his second regional title, the NABF super flyweight title, by defeating Kahren Harutyunyan on Shobox by split decision on January 20, 2006. The scores were 97-92, 97-92 for Donaire and 95-94 for Harutyunan.

On October 7, 2006, Donaire added the NABO super flyweight title and defended it against veteran Oscar Andrade by the scores of 118-109, 116-112, and 116-112. His older brother, Glenn Donaire, fought and lost to Vic Darchinyan on the same night.

Flyweight Division

A 7-1 underdog, Donaire won the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) Flyweight World Titles with a 5th round knockout of the then-undefeated Vic Darchinyan on July 7, 2007. This victory was awarded Ring Magazine's "Knockout of the Year" and "Upset of the Year" on December 23, 2007.

On December 1, 2007, Donaire defended his title against Luis Maldonado of Mexico by technical knockout in the 8th round in his first title defense to keep his IBF and IBO flyweight crown. Donaire stated: "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."

In late June 2008, Donaire severed ties with promoter Gary Shaw because the number of fights had not matched the number stated in the contract and Shaw had failed to properly disclose revenue from previous fights as stated under the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. Days after leaving Gary Shaw Productions, he would sign with Top Rank Boxing.

Donaire, on November 2, 2008, retained his IBF and IBO world flyweight title via a 6th-round (1:31) technical knockout of Moruti Mthalane.

On April 19, 2009, Donaire faced flyweight Raul Martinez for his third defense of his IBF and IBO World Flyweight title at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. Donaire scored the TKO after 2:42 into the 4th round. Donaire has been trained by the Peñalosa brothers (Gerry, Dodie Boy and Jonathan) since the training camp for the match against Martinez. Because of his victory over Martinez, Donaire was included for the first time in the Ring Magazine pound for pound rankings, in the 7th spot.

On July 31, 2007, Donaire met Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo along with Florante Condes, who won the IBF minimumweight title on the same weekend as Donaire. 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."

Super Flyweight Division

The IBF ordered a mandatory rematch between Donaire and previous challenger Moruti Mthalane by August 1, 2009. However, Donaire's agent has expressed interest in moving up to the junior bantamweight/super flyweight division at 115 pounds. Initially, Donaire was set to face Hugo Fidel Cazares on August 15, but talks for the bout had fallen through 2009. Rafael Concepción of Panama then replaced Cazares as Donaire's opponent for the World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Flyweight Interim World Title , which headlined the card titled "Pinoy Power 2". Donaire added conditioning coach Mike Bazzel to supplement Dodie Boy and Jonathan Peñalosa in their camp at the Undisputed Gym in San Carlos, a Bay Area suburb near San Mateo. Because Concepcion failed to weigh within the super flyweight limit (115 lbs.), only Donaire, who made weight successfully, can win the title. Donaire won the bout via unanimous decision. Two days after the win over Concepcion, he arrived to a rousing welcome in Manila, where he was feted in a motorcade by Mayor Alfredo Lim.

On February 13, 2010, Donaire faced Manuel "Chango" Vargas for his first defense of the WBA Super Flyweight Interim World Title at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada. The latter was only a late replacement to Gerson Guerrero, who did not pass eye examinations and was forced to pull out. Vargas took the fight on less than 3 days short notice and had to move up 3 weight divisions. The bout headlined the card titled "Pinoy Power 3". Donaire won the fight via a 3rd-round (1:33) knockout and successfully retained his title.

After the fight Donaire expressed his interest in fighting Vic Darchinyan, for a rematch, or Fernando Montiel, both boxing champions, as he plans to move up to the bantamweight division.

According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, Donaire would have faced the reigning WBC and WBA Super Flyweight World Champion Vic Darchinyan on August 21, 2010 at the Home Depot in California. After weeks of uncertainty regarding the Donaire-Darchinyan rematch, Arum said the fight was done. However, the deal fell apart on May 5, 2010, so the bout was called off. According to Donaire, the match was put in jeopardy because Darchinyan did not want to fight him, and not because of television rights.

Donaire is also looking for a fight with WBO and WBC Bantamweight World Champion Fernando Montiel of Mexico. However, Donaire stated that he is looking forward to a regular world title match in super flyweight division first before taking on Montiel.

Following this events, Bob Arum announced that Donaire would fight in the undercard of Juan Manuel López and Bernabe Concepcion bout on July 10, 2010 at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Opponent for this fight was expected to be announced in the coming days. Donaire challenged Puerto Rican boxer Eric Morel, but the latter turned the offer down. As a result, Donaire planned a bantamweight move, as he did not find any available opponent in the super flyweight division; at first he refused to fight Hernan "Tyson" Marquez, who was coming from a lopsided loss against Richie Mepranum. The Donaire-Marquez bout took place in the super-flyweight division. Donaire won the match by TKO in the eight round. The bout was supposed to be his last fight in the super-flyweight division.


Following his win against Marquez, Donaire stated his intention to compete in the bantamweight division (118 pounds) to challenge WBO and WBC champion Fernando Montiel.

On December 4, 2010, Donaire challenged former WBA bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Bantamweight Title. Donaire knocked down Sidorenko thrice and became the first man to stop Sidorenko.

The win against Sidorenko gave Donaire the chance to face Mexican Fernando Montiel. On February 19, 2011, Donaire stopped Fernando Montiel in the second round to take the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Bantamweight World Titles. Donaire took a right to the head from the Montiel, then immediately countered with a devastating left to the head that sent Montiel crumpling to the canvas. Montiel rose to continue and Donaire rushed over to land a left and a right before referee Russell Mora stopped the fight after two minutes and 25 seconds of the second round. With the victory, Donaire became the second Filipino and third Asian to become a three-division world champion, a fighter who won world titles in three different weight divisions.

On February 28, 2011, the Philippine Senate formally adopted two Senate Resolutions filed by Senators Pia Cayetano and Manuel Lapid congratulating and commending Donaire for being an outstanding Filipino boxer and for bringing honor and pride to the country.

Super Bantamweight

After the fight between WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Toshiaki Nishioka and Rafael Márquez, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum stated that he had an agreement for the winner of the Nishioka-Marquez title fight to face Nonito Donaire, who wants to move up to super bantamweight after his WBC and WBO Bantamweight title fight with Omar Andres Narvaez. However, in an interview after Nishioka won, Arum said that the planned Donaire-Nishioka fight will not happen as earlier planned for mid-January and that "probably Nishioka won't fight Donaire until May or June (2012) because he wants to take a rest." Instead, Arum raised the possibility of Donaire fighting WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Jorge Arce.

Donaire vs. Vázquez Jr.

After twelve rounds, scores of 117–110 twice were read in Donaire’s favor as the third judge had a surprising 115–112 for Vázquez Jr. He won via split decision to capture the WBO Super Bantamweight title, even though Donaire connected 60 percent of his power shots, outlanded Vázquez in eleven rounds except for the sixth round[58] and gave him the first knockdown of his professional career in the ninth round. That makes him the second Asian (only other than Manny Pacquiao) to win championships in four different divisions.

Donaire vs. Mathebula

The showdown matched Donaire, 28-1 with 18 knockouts, risking the World Boxing Organization crown against International Boxing Federation Champion Mathebula, 26-3 with two draws and 14 knockouts, to unify their World Super Bantamweight titles. The bout was Live on HBO Boxing After Dark on July 7, 2012 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Donaire defeated Mathebula by unanimous decision. Donaire knocked Mathebula down in round four, breaking his jaw in two places.[Video 2]

Donaire vs. Nishioka

This fight took place on October 13, 2012 in Carson, California. The opponent was the Ring No. 1 ranked super bantamweight, Toshiaki Nishioka. Donaire's super bantamweight title was on the line, as well as the vacant The Ring Super Bantamweight title. Donaire relinquished the IBF Super Bantamweight title hours before the fight. Donaire made it official by declining to participate in the IBF's mandated weight check Saturday morning because he decided he would not defend that version of the 122-pound title. After being knocked down twice, Nishioka's corner personnel entered the ring as a request for the referee to end the fight in the ninth round. Donaire was victorious with a Technical Knock Out over the challenger. Donaire fights have been broadcast on HBO since 2011. He reportedly earned 800 thousand dollars from Nishioka fight, his biggest purse ever.

Donaire vs. Arce

On December 15, 2012 in Houston, Texas Donaire successfully retained the WBO and The Ring super bantamweight titles against the Mexican Jorge Arce via third round knock out with 2:59 remaining. Donaire floored Arce once in the second round, and once in the third round, before the knockout that ended the match.


Nonito won three national amateur championships. The National Silver Gloves in 1998, National Junior Olympics in 1999, and the National USA Tournament in 2000. Donaire also won the International Junior Olympics in 1999.

Nonito Donaire's amateur record was 68-8 with 5 TKO's.


He (born on November 16, 1982) is a Filipino American professional boxer. Nonito is a three-division world champion, where he won five world titles in three different boxing weight classes. 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's properly pronounced as do-nigh-reh.

Currently, Donaire is the WBC and WBO Bantamweight World Champion. He is also currently rated by The Ring as the number four pound-for-pound boxer in the world. He is the former WBA Super Flyweight Interim World Champion, IBF World Flyweight Champion and IBO World Flyweight Champion.