MANILA, Oct 14 (Mabuhay) — Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire solidified his status as one of the top boxers in the super bantamweight division after a technical knockout victory over Japanese fighter Toshiaki Nishioka Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California (Sunday in Manila).
Donaire, ranked in the top five of most pound-for-pound lists, outclassed Nishioka with superior speed and punching power while negating the Japanese’s sporadic attacks with accurate counter-punching en route to a ninth-round TKO.
Donaire retained the World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight titles, while annexing Nishioka’s World Boxing Council diamond belt and the vacant RING super bantamweight title.
It was Donaire’s first stoppage victory in the super bantamweight division since he moved up to the weight class last year.
Unlike his recent fights, Donaire displayed greater patience and followed his game plan to the letter, picking Nishioka apart clinically and waiting for the Japanese boxer to open up instead of actively seeking for the one-punch knockout.
Both fighters promised to put on an exciting fight, but it turned out to be a tactical boxing match with few highlights outside of Donaire’s two knockdowns in the sixth and ninth rounds. The two fighters showed good patience in setting up their offense, though it was Donaire who was eventually able to take advantage of Nishioka’s mistakes.
“We knew we could not stop the fight with one punch. Nishioka is a great fighter,” Donaire said after the bout.
Fight statistics were overwhelmingly in favor of Donaire: the Filipino boxer landed nearly 134 punches of 485 thrown, while Nishioka only landed 49 out 199 punches thrown.
The fight started off slowly, with both fighters sizing each other up in the opening round. Donaire started getting his offense going in the second round, but Nishioka was not a willing partner as the Japanese kept his hands up to avoid Donaireís left hand.
But even with Nishioka on the defensive, Donaire was able to land his jabs and his left hand with regularity.
“Donaire was very strong in the early rounds,” Nishioka said through an interpreter after the fight.
The momentum shifted in the sixth round, when Donaire caught Nishioka with a hard left to the body then followed it up with a left uppercut that sent the Japanese fighter to the canvas.
Nishioka beat the 10-count, and the knockdown seemed to have woken him up as he went toe-to-toe with Donaire for the rest of round six. It was Donaire who got the better of the exchanges, however.
But in the seventh and eighth rounds, it was back to the tactical chess match even as the pace of the fight picked up. Nishioka was able to get a few hard punches in the eighth round and was seemingly getting a good rhythm going to the ninth.
In the ninth round, Nishioka was able to trap Donaire against the ropes and started unloading punches, but “The Filipino Flash” countered with a perfectly placed right straight that knocked Nishioka down anew. The Japanese once again beat the 10-count, but his corner threw in the towel soon after as Donaire swarmed in for the kill.
“When you engage, you open up,” Donaire said. “I can pick him apart and then the demolition man comes in to knock him out.”
“We wanted to use my jab and use my speed. I wanted to open him up by timing that jab and that’s exactly what happened for me to be able to land that straight punch,” he added.
The official time of stoppage was 1:54 of the ninth round.
Donaire has now won 29 straight fights to hike his record to 30 wins against one loss, with 18 wins by knockout. Nishioka lost for only the fifth time in his career and for the first time since 2004.
Donaire won his first two fights in the super bantamweight division via decision, first defeating Wilfredo Vazquez in February 2012 via split decision to win the WBO belt. He added the IBF belt with a unanimous decision victory over Jeffrey Mathebula in July.
He later tweeted that he plans to take the rest of the year off, though he said he is willing to take on all comers in the super bantamweight division. (MNS)