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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Donaire lowers boom on Young

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
29 Apr 2019



“Super” WBA and WBC diamond bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. used his right a lot more against southpaw challenger Stephon Young but when it came down to landing the finisher, the Filipino Flash’s dynamite left hook still did the trick in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semifinals at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Louisiana, last Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila time).

It was a cakewalk for Donaire who found Young an easy target for his right hand as the American kept circling away from his left hook. With Young distancing himself from Donaire’s left, he was a sitting duck for the right hand. But in the sixth round, Young momentarily stood in the pocket and Donaire unleashed a vicious left hook to the jaw. Young fell like a log and as his back hit the canvas, referee Mark Nelson waved it off without a count at the 2:37 mark.

“We worked on throwing the right straight more in the gym knowing I would fight a southpaw,” said Donaire shortly after the fight in an overseas phone call. “He was moving away from my left so it was perfect for my right. In the sixth, I threw a left jab, a right to the body then I landed the left hook. He gave it to me. I knew in the end, that was the key to victory----pressure him, cut the ring off and execute.”

There was no question who was the superior fighter. In the first two rounds, Donaire never gave Young much of a chance. He stalked the challenger and patiently walked through his defense. Donaire peppered Young with left jabs and right straights, stalking his prey around the ring. Young fought defensively, backing off, sliding to his right to avoid the left and moving side to side.

In the third round, Young changed tactics. He suddenly engaged Donaire who didn’t seem prepared for it. Young connected with unexpected combinations as Donaire adjusted his fightplan. A slight puffiness was evident around Donaire’s left eye. Near the end of the stanza, Donaire regained his bearings and a right hand staggered Young but the shot wasn’t enough to steal the round. It proved to be Young’s last hurrah.

Young, 30, walked back to his corner at the end of the third, looking flustered. In the fourth, Young was back on his bicycle, trying to survive. Nelson, the same referee who worked Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Jeff Horn in Brisbane in 2017, warned Young twice for grabbing. Young was desperately trying to hold on for dear life, blood filtering from his nose. With Young slowing down, Donaire went to his left hook and uppercut to inflict more damage.

Young’s confidence was ebbing quickly as Donaire kept moving forward to put an end to the massacre in the fifth. Young was on his backfoot with Donaire pressing the action. For a while, it looked like Donaire was getting impatient and just fixing to land the big one. In the sixth round, Donaire charged out of his corner, composed. He settled down with the left jab and dug in to create the opening to strike. Young was ready to go and when Donaire landed the left hook, it was lights out. Young’s right foot was on top of his left as he lay motionless. After Nelson stopped it, Donaire went down on his knees near Young and prayed over him. It was a touching scene rarely displayed in the ring if at all.

“It is who I am,” said Donaire. “I went over to Young, prayed that he’s safe, that he recovers. You never want to see anyone in a dangerous situation. When I saw him go down, I knew it was over.”

Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer, who is Donaire’s promoter, entered the ring to congratulate the Filipino Flash for the sensational win. “Richard was very ecstatic,” said Donaire. “He was excited over my performance and told me I belong in this division.”

Donaire, 36, said he’ll be at ringside to witness the other WBSS semifinal between “regular” WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue of Japan and IBF beltholder Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico in Glasgow on May 18. The Inoue-Rodriguez survivor will fight Donaire in the ultimate WBSS final late this year. “I’ll do a face-off with whoever wins,” he said. “Right now, no plans to visit Manila as it’s non-stop training for me. I’m back to the drawing boards.”

The win raised Donaire’s record to 40-5, with 26 KOs while Young suffered his first loss by stoppage as his mark fell to 18-2-3, with 7 KOs. Young’s only other defeat was to Filipino Reymart Gaballo who won on points last year. The fight marked a reunion of Donaire and father Nonito, Sr. in his corner. Nonito, Sr. was last in his son’s corner six fights back for the KO win over Zsolt Bedak in Cebu in 2016.

Photo: Nonito Donaire celebrates his win with wife Rachel, father Nonito, Sr., trainer Kenny Adams, Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer, father-in-law Gerry Marcial and friends.


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