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Donaire slams foe in comeback

Nonito Donaire Jr. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Nonito Donaire Jr. marked his return to the featherweight division in emphatic fashion, dominating Ruben Hernandez in their 10-round bout at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas Sunday.

The former four-division world champion used his superior boxing skills to outpoint the game Hernandez and secure the minor WBC silver featherweight title. 

Donaire, who came off a 10-month hiatus, said it was the perfect opportunity to shed ring rust. 

“I boxed very well, which is something I haven’t done in a long time,” he said. 

The 34-year-old Fil-Am won on all three judges scorecards, 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93, often catching the forward-fighting Hernandez with hooks and uppercuts. 

“I moved my legs well and maintained it throughout the whole fight. I’ve always been an aggressive boxer but this time I used my jab and combinations,” added Donaire.

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Hernandez struggled with the speed and movement of the San Leandro, California-based fighter, who was never in serious trouble during the fight. 

“Nonito was very smooth and moved around well,” said Hernandez, who preferred Donaire to go toe-to-toe with him but instead had to deal with his foe’s ability to box.  

“I couldn’t get to him because of that. He adjusted to everything I did. It was a fair decision at the end of the night. I thought he was going to come to brawl but he changed the strategy on me,” added the Mexico City-based fighter. 

Donaire (now 38-4, with 24 KOs) thus returned to his winning ways after losing the WBO super bantamweight title to Jessie Magdaleno last year.

Prior to Sunday’s win, Donaire split his two bouts at featherweight. After dethroning Simpiwe Vetyeka to become the WBA featherweight champion in 2014, he failed to defend the title, losing to Nicholas Walters by knockout the same year.

Now he’s back and again trying to be a key player in the division. 

“Ultimately I did a great job showing versatility in my game,” said Donaire.

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