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Interview: Nonito Donaire talks about his father, son – and Rex Tso!


NONITO DONAIRE talks about how the birth of his son reunited him with his father and helped put his career back on track, with the ‘The Filipino Flash’ now a five-division world champion after beating Simpiwe Vetyeka at The Venetian Macao for the WBA featherweight title.


Do you still have the same motivation you had earlier in your career?

Right now I have a new motivation. I am excited. I’m ready and willing to do anything to reach that level to show my potential, that I haven’t seen yet. I’m very excited and very motivated.


What made you fall in love with boxing?

Throughout the time I’ve been boxing, you learn to love the sport. You learn to be at one with the sport. That’s why I enjoy boxing so much, because of the time I’ve spent learning it. It’s like being a master of the game – you keep learning and learning, and you start to become boxing, mentally and physically.


What’s your inspiration?

My country is my inspiration and all the support they gave me. And all my fans from around the world – the support they give me.


How do you see your future?

I want to still fight. I still love this sport and I want to do my best. I feel like I haven’t given my best and that’s one thing I want to show – my best.


Donaire trains with his father.

Donaire trains with his father after the pair made up their differences following the birth of Donaire’s son.

Can you talk about the difficulties you had with your father?

My Dad and I had our differences. We fought for a while. We didn’t talk for many years, but now we’re back – because of my son – and we’re talking and we made up our differences. We can respect each other. We can look at each other with love and respect, and that’s why we’re working better this time around.


What brought you and your Dad back together again?

My son. I realised that being a father is not easy. When you are young, you think your Dad is just strict: ‘What’s going on? Why is he always on me?’ But when you have a son, you realise you’re willing to give everything for your son and that’s one thing I realised about my father. Don’t get me wrong: he was very strict, but he did it out of love. He did it out of ways to protect me.


The more I realised that, the more I learned to respect him and the more I see him as my Dad again. And the more he sees me now, the more he respects me as a man, not the little boy any more. That’s why our relationship is even stronger than before, because we learned to respect each other and love each other in that sense.


When did you make up?

After my son was born, my father and I weren’t talking. But when my son was born, I didn’t want him to not meet his grandfather, so we invited my Dad. From then on he fell in love with my son and that’s when we started our father-son relationship with a very strong bond. It has been great. It happened last year. We started working together ahead of the [Vic] Darchinyan fight in [November] 2013.


Did you follow your brother into boxing?

My brother and I trained together a long time ago, but I went my own way and now we’re reuniting again.


Donaire with his son after beating Simpiwe Vetyeka in Macau on a technical unanimous decision.

Donaire with his son after beating Simpiwe Vetyeka in Macau on a technical unanimous decision.

Why are you so open about your private life?

As inspiration. In life there’s a lot of heartache and worry, pain and arguments, but that’s part of life. When I was young, I used to get made fun of, I used to get bullied and I became a world champion.


My message is that no matter how many times people told me I could not be anything, that I was going to be nothing, I made myself into a world champion. My message is: there’s no impossibility. Don’t doubt your ability. Work hard and reach for your stars.


Why do you think Rex Tso is like Jackie Chan?

Because he’s very smiley, he’s happy, he’s a joker, he loves it and I love that. That’s why I like Rex a lot, because he’s very up and smiley. It shows a good personality and Rex definitely has a good personality.


Rex’s Dad was a seven-time Hong Kong amateur champion and his brother represented Hong Kong in the East Asian Games. He’s from a boxing family like you, so what’s your advice to him?

Work hard. Don’t let anything pull you down. One way or another, family will see their family at the end of the road. They will realise and learn to respect each other, but one thing is that if he works hard, if he trains hard and doesn’t doubt himself, he will reach farther than he will ever reach.


Interview by Passion Marketing

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