The 35-year-old Nishioka (38-4-3, 24 KOs), of Tokyo, has a 15-bout winning streak that includes 10 knockouts, and has not lost since dropping a unanimous decision to former WBC bantamweight beltholder and Thai legend Veeraphol Sahaprom in March of 2004 — a span of seven years and six months.
“Most of the boxing public don’t know how good Nishioka is, but Nishioka is the real deal. Would it be a huge fight for the outside world? Probably not. But a fight between a Filipino and a Japanese guy, that would be a huge, huge fight,” said Arum.
“Nishioka could fight Donaire at 122. A lot of people don’t realize or know how a good that f___ing fight is… Nishioka’s tall like Donaire, and they’re two bombs-away punchers. It’s two guys at the top of their craft who would be going up against each other.”
Nishioka is the last man to defeat WBC featherweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez (50-7, 44 KOs) of Mexico City, who scored his 10th straight knockout against Rogers Matagwa on Sept. 15. During their fight in May of 2009, Nishioka rose from a first-round knockdown and floored Gonzalez in the third and final round to score the knockout.
In what Arum calls “a helluva f___ing fight,” Nishioka will make the seventh defense of his belt against former two-division titleholder Rafael Marquez (40-6, 36 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
A resident of San Leandro, Calif., who moved there from the Philippines when he was 11, the 28-year-old Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) scored his 25th straight win, and the 10th stoppage of that particular run, with a second-round knockout of three-division beltwinner Fernando Montiel (46-3-2, 36 KOs) in February.
Donaire will defend his belts against WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez (35-0, 23 KOs) on Oct. 22 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
But Arum insists that he’s targeting Donaire opposite the winner of Nishioka-Marquez.
“If Donaire wins his next fight, then the winner of Marquez-Nishioka goes up against Donaire at 122,” said Arum. “If Nishioka gets by Marquez, then he gets Donaire. That’s the plan.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org