MANILA, Philippines – World super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire congratulated the Filipino boxers who participated in Saturday's Pinoy Pride XVII, including AJ "Bazooka" Banal, who lost in the main event.
Donaire, fresh off his ninth-round technical knockout victory over Toshiaki Nishioka, was one of the commentators for the event.
In his Facebook and Twitter accounts, Donaire gave his recap of Pinoy Pride XVII, which was held last night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
"Four of our compatriots won and one lost. But did we really lose? Each of the wins came with great heart and determination," Donaire said. "It showed that homegrown talents should not be overlooked or forgotten and need to be supported."
"(Juan Martin) Elorde, (Jason) Pagara, (Rey) Bautista and (Michael) Domingo showed vast improvement and skill in the ring," he added.
Elorde defeated Gerry Sismundo with a fourth-round knockout in the undercard. Domingo, meanwhile, defeated Ugandan fighter Mudde Ntambe Rabison with a second-round knockout.
Pagara made short work of Barbados native Miguel Antoine, knocking him out in the very first round. Bautista, meanwhile, earned a hard-fought split decision victory over Mexico's Daniel Ruiz.
But Banal was not so fortunate. The Filipino boxer nicknamed "Bazooka" suffered a technical knockout loss to Thai fighter Pungluang Sor Singyu in the ninth round of the world bantamweight title fight.
Donaire, however, still commended Banal for showing great heart and effort despite the loss.
"The one that can show all of them and be the best role model is the lone loss of the night – AJ Banal” Donaire said.
"Yes, he cried. Losing hurts. I think it hurts more in boxing because you put your body out there and you can push it to extremes," he added.
"But amongst the wins, AJ's loss can serve as a learning lesson to not just himself but to other aspiring fighters out there," Donaire said.
Donaire pointed out that he, along with Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, have both lost fights before.
"Anyone can lose, but only the strong can come back. Hoping you come back stronger, AJ," he said.
Banal lost for only the second time in his career, dropping his record to 28-2-1, with 20 knockouts.