Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire has successfully defended his WBO bantamweight title with the win over IBF bantamweight titleholder Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson City, California
With the win, Donaire has effectively unified the WBO and IBF bantamweight titles and improved his professional record to 29-1, 18 KOs.
Donaire knocked down Mathebula in the fourth round but luckily the South African champion was saved by the bell.
After the knockdown, Mathebula quickly recovered and engaged Donaire with few successful hits. The lanky South African refused to go toe-to-toe with Donaire throughout the fight, opting instead to fight from the outside using his reach and height advantages.
It was a frustrating fight for Donaire as he had to chase Mathebula who was more concerned about blocking Donaire's left hook which put him down in the fourth round.
"It was tough. He got me off the jab really well," Donaire said. "That jab really took me out of my power range. He's a great champion. He wouldn't let me get in there and let me work."
According to a report by inquirer.net, the Judges scored the fight at 117-110, 118-109 and 119-108, all in favor of Donaire.
In the main supporting event, former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik likewise scored a unanimous decision over Wil Rosinski while Anthony Flores defeated Cameron Kreal in the lightweight fight of the undercard.
Donaire reportedly received a guaranteed a prize of $750,000 from Top Rank Promotions, his fight promoter.
Several aspiring contenders have called out Donaire after his unanimous victory. They include Jorge Arce, Abner Mares, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Toshiaki Nishioka.
According to Bob Arum, Donaire will probably fight either Arce or Nishioka next.
Asked about Donaire's wish to have his next fight in his native Philippines, Arum said he hasn't heard about it but isn't necessarily against it.
“I’m open to it being in the Philippines,” Arum said.