By Mitch Abramson
New York Daily News
December 6, 2013
By Mitch Abramson
Olympic Boxer Marlen Esparza is a Cover Girl model with a right hook like a mack truck.
By Jim Schmaltz
Tell Marlen Esparza she fights like a man, and she’ll smile at you like a Disney Princess. Esparza is more than a history-making Olympic boxer; she’s the new female ideal in elite athletics, pursuing traditionally masculine athletic skills while radiating femininity when not in competition. Her unique combination of brutal brawler and photogenic beauty—which she displays for her high-profile sponsors like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola—has made her a fan favorite of young girls, especially those in the Latino community. But make no mistake: She’s serious about punching the lights out of her opponents.
Original Article: The Philippine Star
By Ricky Lo
For setting the highest standard as a fighter in the ring in 2012, ESPN named Nonito Donaire Jr. as its Boxer of the Year.
Dubbed as “The Filipino Flash,” Donaire began the year having vacated his bantamweight belts and preparing to move up to junior featherweight. Four fights later, in an exceptionally busy year by modern standards for an elite champion, the quick-fisted and powerful Donaire stands atop the 122-pound division and was the easy pick for 2012 ESPN.com Boxer of the Year.
Donaire, 30, thus regained the ESPN award for the Philippines last won by Manny Pacquiao back-to-back from 2008. Sergio Martinez and Andre Ward were the last two recipients of the top boxing award. — News item, The Philippine STAR, Dec. 26, 2012
Barely two days after what news reports described as his “masterful demolition” of Mexican Jorge Arce, a victory deemed to have “boosted the pride of a country suffering from the shock of Pacquiao’s loss to arch rival (also Mexican) Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last Nov. 8,” Donaire came home to share that triumph with his kababayan.
“It was a quick trip,” Donaire’s new manager, Shirley Kuan, told Funfare, “so quick that his wife Rachel wasn’t able to come with him.”
He didn’t say if Rachel is expecting. Asked what kind of father he would be, Donaire said, “Being a father is what I wish for and if that comes true, the feeling would be something that words could never ever describe.”
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Donaire stayed just long enough to bring holiday cheers to the Filipinos but, thanks to Shirley, he managed to do a “Body Talk” for the benefit of his fans.
A Scorpion (Nov. 16), Donaire is 5’6” tall; weighs 133 lbs.; and wears small-sized shirt, medium-sized briefs and size-9 shoes.
How do you usually prepare for a fight?
“I usually start my training camps ideally around 10 weeks before the fight date. I drive from Las Vegas to San Carlos, California, with all my training gear and settle in a hotel for two months. My manager sends me sparring partners around the end of the first month.”
Do you have a special diet in preparation for a fight? What is your regular diet?
“Now that I’ve moved up in weight I am allowed to be not as strict in preparation for the fight. I can eat steak, rice, sushi, and pretty much whatever, but I try to stay away from junk food. I don’t really have a regular diet. I just eat what I’m craving for because most of the time, being health-conscious is no fun.”
What was the toughest part of your recent fight?
“The toughest part of the last fight vs. Arce was to stay mentally focused. A lot of fighters do not fight four times a year, some not even three times a year. It was great for my body because I was consistently in shape. The problem was mentally I was tired of being in training camp and wanted to be able to just put my feet up and not talk about boxing.”
You said you are going to “rest, rest, rest.” How will you celebrate Christmas after all your victories this year? (Note: Interview done before Christmas Day.)
“I’m spending it with my wife definitely. I will fly back to Las Vegas on Christmas Eve and will be able to have a nice dinner. We are keeping it pretty close and simple, but celebrate the end of 2012 and welcome the New Year with a big party.”
What’s usually for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
“If I had my way, breakfast would be longganisa, lunch would be lechon and dinner would be kobe steak and rice.”
What food do you always crave for, what food do you avoid?
“I always crave for lechon bulaklak and sisig…really, really bad food. But since I only get to eat them during my breaks, I let myself eat. I try to avoid salty food.”
Any snacks between meals?
“Sometimes I’ll have a banana between meals or, if I’m not training, chips.”
How much water do you take per day (soda, coffee, tea or energy drinks)?
“I drink A LOT of water every day, especially during camp. I probably drink six liters in addition to recovery drinks. I sweat so much that if I don’t keep hydrated, I get headaches and cramps. Soda, I save for after the fight. Something about soda after a fight makes it so satisfying.”
What vitamins do you take?
“I take a lot of supplements. I take multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin B, electrolytes, ZMA for recovery when I sleep, Aerobitine, Hypoxygen, Vitalyze, and then recovery drinks like Proglycosyn.”
Original Article: Max Boxing, Special to Doghouse Boxing
by Gabriel Montoya
December 15, 2012
Since July of 2012, Nonito Donaire, 30-1, 19 KOs, has been showing the boxing world he is a truly clean athlete. When the super bantamweight champion signed up to join to be the inaugural fighter in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s state-of-the-art 24/7/365 year-round anti-doping program, he began sending a message to the sport and to his fans that his in the ring accomplishments are all natural. Since that time, while no athlete has joined him in 24/7/365 VADA testing, some have joined VADA’s training camp testing in an attempt to display they are PED-free. In a year that has seen positive test results for performance enhancing drugs in combat sports occur at an alarming rate and state commissions not respond by upgrading their testing programs, Donaire’s near 6 month one man stand is a sign of hope through personal responsibility.
“Well for me, “I do it for my own reasons but it’s up to the boxing world,” Donaire told Maxboxing.com Thursday night via phone from Houston where he will defend his titles against Jorge Arce of Mexico on HBO. “It’s a great sport around the world. Perhaps the promoters should mandate it so that no one else can say no [to testing]. For me, it doesn’t matter. I’ve always had the mentality that even if they’re on [PEDs] I’m still going to beat them. They still bleed, they still break. And with the way I think and the way I fight and train, I can break them down.”
From his fighting style which features a speed-based attack that is free flowing and unorthodox, incorporating start and stop footwork, explosive punches that come from odd angles, and switched stances, Donaire is his own creation; A mix of old and new school fighting and fitness philosophies.
A Filipino-American who makes his home in Northern California’s Bay Area with his lovely wife Rachel, Donaire doesn’t take a typical approach to the fight game. It is this independent spirit that has brought him together with an interesting group of men who all serve a unique role at various times during his 11 year win streak (he lost in his second fight back in 2001).
One member of the team who has had a profound effect yet brought a cloud of suspicion to Donaire is Victor Conte. Following a chance meeting with nutritionist/anti-doping advocate Conte at a bank, Donaire’s mind opened to new ways to expand his athletic potential. The two agreed to work together.
Conte, who runs SNAC (Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning), a sports nutrition supplement company in the Bay Area, is likely best known as the founder of BALCO, which was implicated in supplying illegal undetectable performance enhancing drugs to high level athletes during a 4 year period from 2000-2003.
However, for 15 years prior to that period, Conte’s company helped athletes reach a higher level of performance level legally and above all intelligently. Using in-depth blood analysis to determine nutrition status plus monitoring liver, kidney, and heart functions to determine proper hydration and appropriate supplementation, Conte and his team developed personalized nutrition programs for their athletes.
Since the moment Conte came clean on national television in 2004 to present day, he has done his best to promote what he calls the new school of strength and conditioning methods and educate the sports world on the dangers of performance enhancing drugs. A non-stop anti-doping advocate who is arguably the movement’s most vocal member, Conte’s greatest love is being in the trenches and helping athletes get to the next a higher level of performance.
He and Donaire hit it off immediately.
Soon after they met, Donaire began to work with Conte at the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos, CA. It was there that Conte joined strength coach Michael Bazzel and primary trainer Brian Schwartz, to help Donaire go from title holder to a unified champion undergoing the most stringent drug testing available.
SAN CARLOS, Calif. – Nonito Donaire bounced around his gym “Undisputed” in Northern California with a resistance band attached to his waist, the other end fastened to a foundation column 20 feet away. “The Filipino Flash” danced side-to-side, circled, and threw punches, mimicking his track work with renowned sprint coach Remi Korchemny, who has worked with numerous U.S. Olympic athletes dating back to the 1970s.
Donaire (29-1, 18 knockouts) is readying for his toughest test to date on this Thursday afternoon, a match with Japan’s Toshiakai Nishioka, a man who hasn’t tasted defeat in over eight years. The bout will be for the vacant RING 122-pound championship, but Donaire is as confident as ever as he approaches the fight at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, HBO).
“He’s a smart guy, but I think I’m a genius,” Donaire proclaimed to RingTV.com. “He’s going for the home run, I’m going for the grand slam. If he gets a lot of strikeouts, I’m getting a shutout. I just have that positivity, that mentality that I can conquer whatever he gives out.”
The 29-year-old Philippines native knows he hasn’t fought someone like Nishioka and noticed a few things on tape that impressed him.
“He’s strong. He has a good straight power punch and it’s really clear he can knock people out with that straight punch,” admitted Donaire. “I’ve never fought a guy who can knock guys out with just one punch. [Vic] Darchinyan was powerful but it takes him a long time to knock people out. He drains, he tires them out before he knocks them out. With this guy, he can take you out [the same way] I take out guys. This fight is definitely interesting but I know I can do the same things and beyond.”
The resistance band training followed a spirited 10-round sparring session (his last session of camp): six rounds with three-time Detroit Golden Gloves winner Erick DeLeon and four with Oxnard, Calif.-based lightweight Oscar Diaz.
Everyone is aware of Donaire’s athletic gifts, but DeLeon was surprised by his mental strength in the squared-circle.
“He makes me think a lot in there, he’s a really smart fighter,” said DeLeon, who plans to turn pro before the end of 2012 at either 130 or 135 pounds. “He punches hard, he’s got great speed. I’m learning more and more every time I spar with him. His hook’s great, he’s getting his right hand sharper. He’s good at everything. He can box, he can bang. He punches you from different angles so you gotta be aware all the time.”
Diaz echoed DeLeon’s sentiments.
“It was very hard sparring. He’s quick, he’s fast and he hits hard, too,” said Diaz. “His right hand surprised me and his hook was good too. He surprised me with his punches.”
Donaire has been working with Korchemny and supplement guru Victor Conte since his December 2010 fight with Volodymyr Sydorenko. How many miles does Donaire run per week? 25, maybe 20? Try zero. He’s seen great results, abandoning running for sprints, which develops fast-twitch muscle rather than slow-twitch muscle fiber. Coupled with a specialized nutrition program with Conte, Donaire has seen performance gains in the gym and in the ring.
“He introduces a lot of positive mentality and the scientific ways of working smart, rather than working hard,” Donaire explained. “You have to work hard, but you have to work smart as well. Before I met Victor I just did the traditional [workouts]. Now I do a lot of physical training , a lot of strength training. Most of all we’ve done things that are smart. Putting the right stuff in my body, recovery, and knowing that recovering is as hard and as important as training hard.”