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article imageNonito Donaire's popularity soars as fight draws near

By Leo Reyes     Apr 22, 2016 in Sports
At least 30,000 people are expected to watch WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire defends his title against Hungarian challenger Zsolt Bedak Saturday night at the Cebu City Sports Complex in Cebu, Philippines.
Donaire's soaring popularity comes in the wake of Manny Pacquiao's retirement from boxing as fans look up to Donaire as someone who can continue to bring honor to the country.
Pacquiao has announced his retirement following his third fight against Timothy Bradley last April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The eight-division world champion ended his 21-year boxing career with a unanimous decision victory against Bradley.
Donaire is overwhelmed by the huge crowds he is seeing whenever he goes around in Manila and Cebu.
“They tell me over 30,000 are coming to my fight Saturday night in Cebu,” Donaire said Thursday. “Everywhere I go, like in the mall in Cebu, people surround me four or five deep asking for pictures and autographs," Donaire said.
“I am so excited and so blessed for all of this to happen,” he added.
ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer, who promotes the fight in collaboration with Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions and ABS-CBN Integrated Sports, estimated that the crowd for the Donaire-Bedak fight could break the record set by the Montiel-Z. Gorres fight back in 2007.
“Based on the ticket sales, we are going to hit 30,000. We are going to break the record of Gorres-Montiel,” said Aldeguer.
Donaire is a huge favorite to win the fight on Saturday night. Donaire's father-trainer, Nonito Sr. is predicting the fight won't go beyond six rounds.
“I think it will be until the sixth round only,” said Donaire Sr.
But Bedak has a different agenda. Unlike Donaire, the 32-year-old Hungarian wants to walk Donaire to the last round in the hope of scoring a win on points.
“I didn’t come here to put up my hand and run, I came here to box,” he said. “It’s going to go 12 rounds, we prepared for 12 rounds. It’s going to be a decision.” Bedak said.
The fight will be Donaire's first defense of his WBO super bantamweight title which he won in Puerto Rico last year against Cesar Juarez of Mexico.
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