Nonito Donaire became the new world featherweight champion Saturday after defeating South Africa’s Simpiwe Vetyeka in Macau in a fight that saw the Filipino boxing star take victory on an anti-climactic technical decision.
The bout was stopped after four rounds due to an “accidental headbutt” which left 31-year-old Donaire’s left eye swollen and cut. According to the rules of the World Boxing Association, if such an incident happens after four rounds, the match goes to the scorecards.
The fight had started off slow, but Donaire floored his opponent in the second round with a right hook. Another left hook connected in the fourth round, knocking Vetyeka down again, causing the crowd to go wild.
A trio of judges scored 49-46 for Donaire.
“The Filipino Flash” improved his record to 33-2 with 21 knockouts a match after he bounced back from a loss to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in April 2013. He knocked out Armenian southpaw Vic Darchinyan in November of 2013.
Vetyeka fell to 26-3 with 16 knockouts.
In another bout, unbeaten Russian Evgeny Gradovich, nicknamed the Mexican Russian, survived all 12 rounds of toe-to-toe action against Alexander Miskirtchian of Belgium, and retained his IBF Featherweight Championship title.
Gradovich improved to 19-0, while Jamaica’s unbeaten Nicholas Walters decisively knocked out Darchinyan in the fifth round, improving his record to 24-0 with 20 knockouts.
On the same card, undefeated Chinese boxer Yang Ik readily took out Indonesia’s Geisler Ap with a right hook following a flurry of punches in two minutes and 24 seconds of the opening round, improving to 14-0.