MANILA, July 9 (Mabuhay) â€“ Nonito â€œThe Filipino Flashâ€ Donaire defeated South African boxer Jeffrey Mathebula via unanimous decision to become the unified World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) super bantamweight champion.
Donaire won with scores of 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108.
â€œThe Filipino Flashâ€ nearly ended the fight when he knocked down Mathebula with a cracking left hand towards the end of the fourth round.
Donaire connected with a strong left hook to Mathebulaâ€™s chin, sending the South African to the canvas. Mathebula was saved by the bell, however, and the fight went the distance.
For 12 rounds, Donaire was troubled by Mathebulaâ€™s greater reach, as he often ate several punches while moving forward. But Donaire just shrugged off most of Mathebulaâ€™s punches and landed the more telling blows, especially in the later rounds.
After getting knocked down, Mathebula became more active in the fifth and sixth rounds, putting together a series of good combinations and keeping Donaire away with his longer reach. But Donaire again ignored Mathebulaâ€™s shots, often lunging forward to pepper Mathebula with left hands.
Mathebula spent most of the later rounds covering up, throwing jabs only to keep Donaire at distance. By the 11th round, he was on his skates after eating several power punches from Donaire.
Donaire, who clearly wanted to end the fight on a spectacular note, came out swinging in the 12th round and worked Mathebulaâ€™s body in an attempt to create an opening for a knockout.
But Mathebula was an unwilling partner, as he spent most of the final round on the defensive end.
Donaireâ€™s record improved to 29 wins against one loss, with 18 wins coming by knockout. (MNS)