IT’S not the kind of win Nonito Donaire Jr. expected in his bid to reclaim lost glory.
But heck, it’s still a win and meant another world championship belt for the `Filipino Flash.’
The 31-year-old Donaire endured a nasty cut just above his left eye and settled for a technical unanimous decision win over Simpiwe Vetyeka of South African to claim the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title on Saturday night before a sizeable crowd at the Cotai Arena in Macau.
The ring doctor ordered a stop to the 12-round main bout of the `Featherweight Fury’ by the start of the fifth round as the gash on Donaire’s eye had gotten bad following a clash of heads for the two fighters near the end of the opening round.
Donaire was leading in all of the judges’ cards by similar scores of 49-46 when the fight came to an end.
The San Leandro, California-based Donaire scored the lone knockdown of the match when he connected a vicious left hook that sent Vetyeka to the canvas just as the fourth round was coming to an end. The South African, however, managed to survive the onslaught and made it back to his corner.
Donaire later apologized for the way the fight ended, although he was definitely overwhelmed to become world champion again after losing to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux by unanimous decision in their super-bantamweight unification title bout last year.
It was the fourth world title in as many weight divisions for Donaire, who previously reigned as champion in the flyweight, bantamweight, and super-bantamweight divisions. He only reigned as an interim WBA super-flyweight champion in 2010 before moving up as a bantamweight the following year.
The Filipino improved his record to 33-2, with 21 KOs.
The 33-year-old Vetyeka fell to 26-3 (15 KOs) as he lost the first defense of his 126-lbs title which he won over Indonesia Chris John in December last year.