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Donaire defeats Vetyeka, gets 5th belt in rough fight

Nonito Donaire Jr. defeated Simpiwe Vetyeka to annex the WBA featherweight title at the Cotai Arena of the Venetian Resort in Macau. AJ BOLANDO

(UPDATED 12:01 a.m)

MACAU – It was a bizarre ending to what was shaping out to be an action-filled albeit rough fight.

Hampered by a nasty gash he suffered in the opening round that kept getting worse as the bout progressed, Nonito Donaire Jr. settled for a technical decision win over Simpiwe Vetyeka to seize the WBA featherweight title in front of a sold-out crowd at the Venetian Resort’s Cotai Arena here.

The bout was halted shortly after the bell sounded to start the fifth round after Donaire couldn’t see due to a cut on his left eyebrow, which was earlier caused by a head butt. The fight went to the scorecards, and Donaire won on all three judges’ cards, 49-46, to take home the championship.

Cheered on by the local crowd, Donaire started the fight studying Vetyeka, who often leaned his head forward as the Filipino-American launched his offense. But an accidental clash of heads near the end of the first round opened a cut on Donaire’s left eyebrow.

It turned out to be the start of Donaire’s ordeal.

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“After the first round there was a headbutt. The ref asked me if I want him to stop the fight. I told him I want to continue," he said after the fight.

A couple more headbutts from Vetyeka in the second round made matters worse for Donaire, who claimed he couldn’t see the punches because of the blood pouring from the cut.

RELATED: Donaire wants Vetyeka rematch

Nevertheless, Donaire brushed off the nuisance and stormed out of the third round to rock Vetyeka with some right straights. He gathered the most steam though in the fourth round, decking Vetyeka with a booming right-left combo that sent the champion on wobbly legs throughout the canto.

Vetyeka would survive the onslaught, but it turned out he didn’t need to fight as the bout was stopped entering the fifth round. It was Donaire himself who told referee Luis Pabon he couldn’t see any more.

“I wasn’t able to see his right hands, which were his power shots,” he added.

As per professional boxing rules, the fight goes to the scorecards after four rounds in case of an accidental head butt.

“I didn't want the fight to be stopped because I want to continue for the fans," Donaire continued.

Vetyeka, for his part, disagrees with the fight’s outcome.

“I didn’t think it was a headbutt. I’m terribly upset,” he said.

But Donaire assured his foe of a rematch.

“He’s (Vetyeka) a great fighter. He deserves a rematch,” he said.

Donaire thus became a five-division champion, having previously won titles at flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight and super bantamweight.

Vetyeka fell to 26-3, with 15 knockouts.

***

Editor's note: Philstar.com's special coverage of the Nonito Donaire-Simpiwe Vetyeka fight is made possible by Cebu Pacific Air, why every Juan flies.

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