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MANILA, Philippines - The applause just keeps on coming.
After being named "Boxer of the Year" by ESPN on December 24, Filipino pugilist Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire was named as the "Fighter of the Year" by the prestigious Sports Illustrated on December 28.
Donaire was hailed by both sports news outlets for winning all of his 4 bouts in 2012.
"In a sport starved for new superstars, Donaire, 30, is emerging as one. He is fast, with power in both hands," SFI.com wrote.
Donaire beat Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vasquez Jr in February to capture the WBO Super bantamweight title. In July, he knocked out South African Jeffrey Mathebula, winning the IBF Super Bantamweight title.
Donaire didn't wait long until he secured his next victory, against Toshiaki Nishioka, who was ranked no. 1 in the Super Bantamweight division.
Donaire, who was number 2 in the said division, overpowered Nishioka to clinch the WBC Diamond Super Bantamweight title.
Still fresh in the memory of a thrilled boxing community is Donaire's win over Mexican boxer Jorge "El Travieso" Arce in December. The Filipino pugilist sent Arce reeling on the 3rd round with a fatal left hook.
Sports Illustrated said Donaire deserved the title, however, not because he won all of his 4 bouts in 2012, but because he has been winning "bigger" battles in his life, having risen to a comfortable spot in boxing amid challenges that almost led him to end his life when he was just 10 years old.
Like ESPN, Sports Illustrated also lauded Donaire for voluntarily undergoing urine and blood testing, proving he doesn't take performance-enhancing drugs. - Rappler.com