Pinoy pride: Donaire wins unification bout
Nonito Donaire, dubbed the "Next Manny Pacquiao" defeated Jeffrey Mathebula via unanimous decision to take home the WBO/IBF Super Bantamweight title

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. unifies super bantamweight titles via unanimous decision over tough South African standout Jeffrey Mathebula on Saturday, July 7 (Sunday in Manila).

In a unanimous decision, the judges scored the fight 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108 in favor of Donaire who retains the World Boxing Organization (WBO) crown he won in February in a split decision over Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez and captured Mathebula’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt.

Donaire, popularly referred to as “The Next Manny Pacquiao” and a “student of the sweet science” improved to 29-1 with 18 knockouts, winning his 28th straight fight in a streak dating back to 2001.

SAVED BY THE BELL. Jeffry Mathebula falls in Round 4 but stands up before the bell. Photo by AFP

In Round 4 of the battle held at Home Depot Center in Carson City, California, Mathebula was “saved by the bell” after Donaire rattled him with a left hook. The South African dropped like a stone but stood up at the bell.

Donaire was the aggressor against his much taller opponent, but Mathebula stayed active, although he was cleary hurt by a blow to the jaw in the 11th (some say the South African cracked a tooth, not broke his jaw).

Mathebula fell to 26-4 with two drawn and 14 knockouts. He was making the first defense of the title he won in March in South Africa with a split-decision triumph over compatriot Takalani Ndlovu.

The bout was the first step in what Donaire hopes will be a unification march through the division.

“One more belt, and I’m good to go to 126,” Donaire said in his interview after the fight.

For round-by-round account, view Rappler’s LIVE BLOG here–, with Agence France Presse

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