Philippines, 29 May 2024
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LAS VEGAS--IBF flyweight king Nonito Donaire Jr bucked a second-round finger injury to retain his title with a TKO win in the sixth round over Moruti Mthalane moments ago.

Donaire, breathing heavily but constantly piling up the points, cut Mthalane over the left eye, and referee Joe Cortez signalled the ringside physician to check on the challenger.

The fight was stopped at the 1:31 mark of the sixth.

"I hit him with a right straight, and I saw he got cut big," said Donaire in an interview.

Donaire, wearing an Arthro headband before and after the fight, was leading in all three judges' scorecards before the stoppage of the fight, with the Filipino Flash throwing more punches and throwing more power punches than the game challenger.

"I needed to switch to southpaw, as I injured a left finger in the 2nd round. The switch was very useful," Donaire said after the fight.

With the win, a possible Donaire-Darchinyan rematch now looms after the latter stopped Cristian Mijares earlier today in the ninth round in California.

Promoter Bob Arum, however, announced that Donaire's next fight should take place in March next year either in Macau or Manila, definitely against a Mexican. He floated the names of WBO superfly champ Fernando Montiel or Jorge Arce as possible opponents.

"This victory is a strong statement that Nonito is the next Filipino boxing star to Manny Pacquiao. He is an assurance that the glory of Philippine boxing is here to stay," says sportsman-businessman Jonathan Guardo, head of Uniherb, maker of Arthro Kontra Arthritis which Donaire endorses.

"He's an exciting boxer and will be a tremendous draw in his future fights.Bob Arum has found another gem from the Philippines," added Guardo.

Donaire, in a long-distance conversation with Guardo yesterday, informed the sportsman that he will fly to the Philippines with his wife Rachel in time for Christmas.

"We will roll out the red carpet for a great champion like him. Donaire showed that he is indeed a legitimate star of the game," added Guardo.

Top photo: Nonito Donaire, Jr., (L) digs a right to the body of Moruti Mthalane in this bit of action from their IBF flyweight title fight Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Jose Laquindanum, Jr.

Donaire fighting smart against Mthalane.

Nonito Donaire, Jr., (R) connects a looping right to the head of Moruti Mthalane of South Africa during their IBF title fight Saturday night at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Dr. Ed de la Vega.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Salven L. Lagumbay.

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