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|Frank Gore and Local Fans Attend Donaire Public Workout in San Mateo|
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Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire has relished his latest Northern California homecoming.
After spending his last training camp in Las Vegas, the San Leandro native returned to his familiar confines of the Undisputed Gym in San Carlos last month to prepare for his July 7 junior featherweight unification tilt against IBF champ Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KOs) at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
In an interview with this writer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the WBO 122-pound champion talked about the move back west.
“The Bay Area is always going to be my home no matter what. Over here, I have my people and my team who I trust in the ring,” Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) told CSNBayArea.com. “It’s great to be back. It’s great to be here. This is home, and one thing about the desire and determination to work hard is here.”
That home team includes trainer Brian Schwartz, strength and conditioning coach Mike Bazzel, nutritionist Victor Conte, track coach Remi Korchemny, and chiropractor Cameron Fort. All of them except Korchmeny were in attendance Saturday for Donaire’s public workout at Undisputed.
Although Donaire briefly worked the mitts while attached to a high-altitude hypoxic simulator (which prompted Conte to proclaim “the return of the hypoxic Monster Man”), the workout was more of a class where the fighter played the teacher, instructing willing fans both young and old on punching form, hitting the heavy bag, and other basics of the sweet science.
“It’s inspiration, just seeing the kids who are working out, [and] the people working out. You just have to appreciate every moment,” Donaire said.
Among those in attendance were wife Rachel and local unbeaten up-and-comers like Karim Mayfield and Bruno Escalante, in addition to another familiar face—San Francisco 49er star running back Frank Gore, who joked that he had sparred with Donaire recently.
“I couldn’t touch him,” the three-time Pro Bowler said. “He had a 20-pound vest on and I couldn’t hit him.”
Donaire’s head trainer, Robert Garcia, traveled up Highway 101 from Oxnard to track his fighter’s progress.
“He’s about 12 pounds over but he looks solid, looks strong, and we’re just doing some light sparring now, about six rounds,” Garcia said.
The celebrated cornerman agreed with his fighter that moving his camp back to the Bay Area was the right choice.
“I’m not saying it affected him, but there’s a lot of distractions,” Garcia said. “He was basically training by himself when I wasn’t there, so it makes a big difference. When I’m not here, I know he has Bazzel, he has Brian, and everybody here that are pushing him, so this is the best place for him to do camps.”
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