Boxing sensation Nonito Donaire Jr. addresses the media at a recent press conference in New York. With him are promoter Bob Arum and boxer Miguel Cotto.  (Filipino Reporter photo by Rene Ner)


Special to the Filipino Reporter

World bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. is reaching out to the Fil-Am community, looking for someone interested in performing the Philippine national anthem prior to his title defense on Oct. 22 against Argentine champ Omar Narvaez at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The 28-year-old native of General Santos City, Philippines who now resides in San Leandro, California, will be defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight titles against 36-year-old Narvaez, unbeaten at 35-0-2 (19 KO).

Donaire (26-1, 18 KO) is the first reigning Filipino champion to fight in New York City since the legendary Gabriel “Flash” Elorde made a series of appearances at “The Mecca of Boxing.”

Donaire made the announcement through his Facebook fan page, seeking those who knew the words to “Lupang Hinirang” to submit a YouTube link of yourself performing the song plus background and contact information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or to post a link to the video on his Facebook fan page.

The selection will be announced on Oct. 15 at his open media workout at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., slated for 1 p.m.

The workout is open to the public.

Manny Pacquiao also took to YouTube to find a crooner to perform the national anthem for his Nov. 12 bout with rival Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, selecting YouTube sensation Maria Aragon from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The elementary school student Aragon’s cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” had over 42 million views on YouTube, as of Wednesday evening.

The Donaire fight will be broadcast live on HBO in America, and on ABS-CBN in the Philippines.


Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City.

He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

An archive of his work can be found at

Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia


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