Nonito Donaire from the Philippines (C) celebrates after winning the WBA world featherweight title against South Africa's Simpiwe Vetyeka (not seen) at the Venetian Macao hotel in Macau May 31, 2014. Reuters/Tyrone Siu
MANILA – A badly cut Nonito Donaire Jr. pulled off a technical decision against South African Simpiwe Vetyeka to claim the WBA featherweight crown in front of a sell-out crowd at the Cotai Arena in Macau on Saturday night.
The Filipino Flash suffered a nasty gash in his left eye but was able to drop “V12” with a vicious left hook to the head in the fourth round of the bout.
Donaire was unable to continue after that round due to the cut which forced officials to decide the bout through the score cards. All three judges scored it 49-46 for Donaire, thereby awarding the Filipino-American a unanimous technical decision.
Despite the win, Donaire was apologetic after the victory, saying he was unable to give fans a full fight. “I’m sorry that I was unable to give you guys a proper fight,” he said during the post-fight interview.
Both fighters were cautious early in the opening round until they tangled near the end of the frame. During the exchange, Vetyeka held Donaire’s left hand, leading to an accidental head butt that produced a cut on the Filipino's left eye.
The South African targeted the wound in the following round, charging head first each time they clashed. Two more head clashes affected the cut and left Donaire wincing in pain.
Donaire’s cutman was able to temporarily stop the bleeding in the third round, but blood streamed again from the Filipino’s eye in the fourth round.
With the Filipino looking vulnerable, Vetyetka tried to pin Donaire on the ropes. The Filipino Flash responded by pushing V12’s head back with a right straight and unloading a booming left hook that sent Vetyeka to the canvass.
The South African was able to beat the count, but was again met with another left hook that had him sitting momentarily on the ropes.
Round 5 was about to start when the referee decided to stop the bout due to Donaire’s eye wound.
“In the first round, when I can’t see, the referee said stop it. I said 'No, no… I wanna keep going, I don’t wanna do this to my fans.' And every round, it [the wound] just kept getting worse and worse,” said Donaire.
“I just wanna give the fans the best fight, I was halfway there.”
The Filipino Flash said he wants to give Vetyeka a rematch to put closure to the contest. “I cannot take the victory of this unfinished business. He’s a great fighter, I wanna give him that rematch,” said Donaire.
The WBA featherweight crown is Donaire’s fifth world title, which includes an interim crown.
Vetyeka, who suffered his third career defeat in 29 fights, denied the cut was caused by a head butt, but admitted he made some mistakes that caused his loss.
“I don’t think it was a headbutt,” he said through a translator. “But I fought careless.”
“Donaire was disappointed that the fight ended this way and he promised to give me a rematch”
The Donaire vs Vetyeka card will be broadcast on Channel 2 on Sunday starting 10:15 a.m.
There will also be a same day replay on ABS-CBN Sports+Action at 7:00 p.m.