Nonito Donaire, Jr. (born November 16, 1982) is a Filipino American professional boxer. Known as “The Filipino Flash” for his exceptional handspeed and punching power,he is a five-division world champion, having held titles at flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight, and featherweight. His surname is often mispronounced as “do-nayr”, but is properly pronounced as “do-nigh-reh”.
Nonito Donaire was born in Talibon, Bohol, Philippines, to Filipino parents, Nonito Sr. and Imelda Donaire. He is the third among four siblings: Glenn, Rochelle Donaire-Nasalga and Ermie. Back then, there was no electricity in Bohol. He grew up in General Santos City, South Cotabato, where he lived until age six and went to the same school as boxing icon eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao. His father, a second year high school dropout, was in the Philippine Army for eight years and fought as an amateur before trying his luck alone in the US in 1990. In 1992, when he was nine, his father, Nonito Donaire, Sr., went to get a visa for the United States. Nonito, Sr. was told that his own father was a natural born U.S. Citizen born in Hawaii, which meant his own Nonito, Jr. and his children are classified as Natural Born U.S. Citizens, under the principle of Jus Sanguinis. He mentioned this in a 2013 RING Magazine Interview. In 1993, at the age of eleven, he had joined his father in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California and they lived in San Leandro in the Bay Area, later moving to San Mateo.
In childhood, Donaire was a frail, asthmatic and wimpy kid who got bullied in school and frequently came home crying. He was picked on for three years, until after he migrated to San Leandro. At home, he felt no attention was paid to him, as a middle child. He wanted to be recognized by his parents, especially his father. As soon as his brother started boxing, ten-year-old Nonito craved the respect and recognition his brother received, and started it. His father took him to a boxing gym at age eleven to get him off the streets. In his first amateur bout as a child, he beat his opponent with straight punches, all the while thinking that “I’m going to kill him before he kills me.” However, he had little confidence until he earned five professional knockout victories.
During their younger years, Donaire and his older brother Glenn would spar, with the younger brother losing the majority of their bouts. As a kid, Donaire watched videos of his hero Alexis Argüello, using them to learn how to throw his powerful left hook. While in San Lorenzo High School in San Lorenzo, California the brothers won an assortment of regional and district amateur boxing championships.
As a young American amateur, Donaire won three national championships: the National Silver Gloves in 1998, National Junior Olympics in 1999 and the National USA Tournament in 2000. He also won the International Junior Olympics in 1999. Donaire’s amateur record was 68–8 with 5 TKOs