MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — Filipino bantamweight star Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. stayed on course for a planned showdown with world champion Fernando Montiel by punishing Vladimir Sidorenko via a 4th round stoppage.
Donaire came out hard and strong scoring a knockdown right before the first round ended.
He kept the upperhand in the second round with his brutal punches messing up Sidorenko's face.
It was more of the same in the third round as Donaire outclassed his Ukranian foe.
In the fourth round, Sidorenko— face bloodied— went down again from a hard straight. By this time, the referee has seen enough, and stopped the fight.
Referee Marcos Rosales halted the bout after 1:48 of the fourth round.
With the win, Donaire took home the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight crown.
"I wanted to make a statement in this fight and I did," Donaire said.
Former world flyweight champion Donaire, 28, stretched his win streak to 24 fights over 9 1/2 years, improving to 25-1 with his 17th early stoppage.
"We worked really hard for this fight," Donaire said. "I was motivated and now the fight with Montiel is set. I knew I was able to dominate anybody if I'm motivated 100 percent."
Former WBA world bantamweight champion Sidorenko, 34, fell to 22-3 with two drawn after the first knockout loss of his career. His only prior losses were by decision to Panamanian southpaw Anselmo Moreno.
"I felt I could take him out with one punch any time so that's what I tried to stick to," Donaire said.
Donaire wobbled Sidorenko only 75 seconds into the fight with a powerful right and the stinging left hook that followed. Continuous combinations kept the European staggering and struggling to defend the entire round.
In the final seconds of round one, Donaire landed a stunning left and a sledgehammer-like overhand right that knocked Sidorenko onto his back. Sidorenko rose to his feet and was rescued by the bell two seconds later.
"The first round I knew he was already out. I could see it in his eyes," Donaire said. "I know I hurt him and he just kept coming. All respect to Sidorenko."
Donaire switched to a southpaw stance late in the second round and landed a left-right flurry and then sent Sidorenko to the canvas again in the third round with a punishing left hand to the head with a minute before the finish.
A right to the nose midway into the fourth round sent Sidorenko staggering back and he took a knee. Rosales stopped the rout seconds later.
"I'm excited," Donaire said. "Montiel, I'm coming for you."
World Boxing Council champion Montiel, 43-2-2 with 33 knockouts, faces a 10-round non-title fight next Saturday against fellow Mexican Eduardo Garcia in their homeland before his scheduled February 19 showdown with Donaire. - Reports from ANC, Agence France-Presse