MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum commended Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire for his courage after the new world champion opted to push through with his fight against South African Simpiwe Vetyeka despite sustaining a deep cut above his left eye.
An accidental headbutt caused a deep laceration above Donaire’s left eye right in the very first round, leaving the Filipino dazed, but he refused the referee’s offer to stop the fight.
Donaire instead fought on for three more rounds, eventually knocking down Vetyeka in the fourth round. The bout was stopped before the fifth round, and Donaire won a technical decision to become the new WBA featherweight champion.
"Many fighters, after suffering that cut from a headbutt in the first round, would have quit," Arum said in the post-fight press conference. "It would have been a no-decision, and they would choose to fight another day."
"But not Nonito. He sucked it up, he continued fighting, and he truly pulled the fight out, clearly, by scoring that sensational knockdown," he added.
Arum told Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News that it was a "very courageous performance" by Donaire.
"He came through really well," said Arum. "It took a lot of guts to keep fighting, with how he was dazed and with the blood that was in his eyes."
Donaire had said that he was far from satisfied with how the bout ended, admitting in the post-fight press conference that the technical decision took some of the gloss off his victory.
"I won the decision, but it is taken away the sudden ending," he said.
Arum, however, told the new champion that he ought to be proud.
"Even though he is not happy, winning the title the way he did, I think he should be proud with the performance he put on," said the promoter. -- From a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News.