The World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament just got a surprise addition in the form of Nonito Donaire.
The official announcement was made on social media with Donaire, a former bantamweight champion, joining an already-stacked field of fighters including at least three world champions.
Part of the reason the announcement came as a surprise is because Donaire last fought as a featherweight, two weight classes above bantamweight. That fight was a decision loss to Carl Frampton for the interim WBO featherweight title back in April. It has also been nearly seven years since he last fought at bantamweight when he won a unanimous decision over Omar Narvaez to retain the unified WBC and WBO titles. After the win over Narvaez, Donaire vacated the WBC and WBO titles to move up in weight.
The 35-year-old Donaire has held a world title in four different weight classes (flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight, featherweight). His reign as the bantamweight world champion took place for a few months in 2011, making only one title defense against Narvaez.
With Donaire in the tournament, that puts the number of participants at five. The current field includes WBA “super” champion Ryan Burnett, WBO champion Zolani Tete, IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez and IBF mandatory challenger Jason Moloney. WBA "regular" champion Naoya Inoue previously agreed to participate in the tournament, but he has not been formally announced yet. The tournament is expected to start sometime in the fall.