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MACAU – WBA featherweight titleholder Simphiwe Vetyeka and Nonito Donaire Jr. both made weight for their fight on Saturday night, May 31 at the Venetian Resort in Macau.
Donaire (32-2, 21 knockouts) of San Leandro, Calif. by way of Talibon, Bohol, Philippines weighed in at the limit of 126 pounds while the defending champion Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KOs) of Duncan Village, South Africa weighed in a half a pound lighter at 125.5.
Donaire, 31, will be challenging for his fourth world title (fifth if you count the interim WBO title he won at 115 pounds) in his second fight since moving up to the featherweight division. Donaire was among the top 5 pound for pound best boxers in the world prior to his decision loss two fights ago against Guillermo Rigondeaux in April of 2014.
“Every fight is a must-win fight for me,” conceded Donaire. Donaire will have his father Nonito Donaire Sr. and 2013’s Boxing Writers of America Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia in his corner, who had worked with “The Filipino Flash” for most of his previous fights before Donaire Jr. reverted to his father prior to his most recent bout with Vic Darchinyan last November.
“The potential is certainly still there, we’ll see tomorrow night if he himself has it back,” said promoter Bob Arum, when asked if Donaire can reclaim his form from previous years. “He’s worked extraordinarily hard for this fight.
“He’s still an extraordinarily accurate and hard puncher and it’s a good question as to whether it will have the same devastating effect on these bigger guys.”
Vetyeka, 33, will be making his first defense of the featherweight championship belt he won in December when he stopped Indonesian Chris John in six rounds. John, who entered the bout with a 48-0-3 slate, having reigned over the division for ten years.
His two losses – to Klaas Mboyane in 2012 and WBC junior featherweight champ Hozumi Hasegawa in 2007 – have come by decision.