CARL Frampton was just too fast and too good for Nonito Donaire Jr. as the many-time former Filipino world champion suffered a unanimous decision loss on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland.
Despite Donaire hurting him in the later rounds, Frampton was in control for almost the entire 12-round fight to eke out similar scores of 117-111 on all three judges’ scorecards and win the World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight interim title.
Cheered on by a large partisan crowd, the Irishman was all business right from the opening bell by boxing beautifully against his Filipino opponent, whose left eye began swelling in the second round.
The 35-year-old Donaire tried to take the fight to Frampton and rocked the Irishman several times, but came up short of turning things around. He was cut on the right eye during the seventh round due to an accidental clash of heads.
“I stuck to our game plan. My boxing was beautiful. I didn’t have to get involved in a fight,” said Frampton, the former two-time world division champion. “Donaire is a dangerous mother for 12 rounds.
“The 11th round I was definitely hurt,” admitted the Irishman, who improved his record to 25-1 (14 KOs) and set-up a potential mega-fight against unbeaten WBO regular featherweight champion Oscar Valdez.
While the future looks bright for the comebacking Frampton, Donaire appeared to be at the crossroads of a brilliant boxing career.
The ‘Filipino Flash’ fell to 38-5 (24 KOs) and had lost two of his last three fights.
The loss to Frampton was also his fourth against four of the top featherweight fighters in the world after previously going down against Nicholas Walters, Jessie Magdaleno, and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Donaire, a former Fighter of the Year, decided to move up again to the featherweight division after losing his WBO super-bantamweight belt to Magdaleno in November of 2016.