By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Over the weekend, the Filipino Flash showed that he may be a lion in winter, but he is still a lion. The highlight reel knockout of Stephon Young of the U.S. was what the doctor ordered for the 36 year old Nonito Donaire.
Donaire has a resume that will certainly make him a first ballot Hall of Famer. But after dropping out of everyone’s pound for pound list following losses to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jamaican Nicholas Walters five years ago, there were those who thought his best years were behind him. He dropped down from 126 to 122 lbs and captured the WBO junior featherweight title with a courageous performance against Mexican Cesar Juarez in 2014.
In one of his defenses against Hungarian Zsolt Bedak, Donaire set a gate record in Cebu, Philippines where the crowd was estimated to go beyond 30,000.
But after losing his title to Jessie Magdaleno of the U.S in 2016 followed by last year’s lost to U.K.’s Carl Frampton in his attempt to go back to 126 lbs, many thought his career as a top fighter was over.
Last year, he announced he was moving down in weight once again to 118 lbs and join the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight tournament. Many doubted if he could pull it off. The last time he fought as a bantamweight was in 2011.
But last November, Donaire won another world title belt when Ryan Burnett decided not to continue fighting in Glasgow, Scotland. Donaire had the WBA super title in his hands and a semis slot in the WBSS. Was it just a lucky break?
He was a dominant boxer from 112 to 118 lbs but many still refer to him in the past tense.
In the semis, he was faced with another injury situation in Louisiana when WBO champ Zolani Tete of South Africa withdrew just days going into fight because of a shoulder injury. Young was tapped as a substitute and he did make a good account of himself in the early rounds.
But a right hand lead from Donaire stunned the southpaw Young near the end of the third round. Donaire stepped on the pressure in the fourth and at the end of the round, Young had the look of a beaten man walking to his corner.
Donaire continued to dish out punishment in the fifth and in the sixth, Young dropped his right hand for a split second and that was all that Donaire need to land his fabled left hook.
It was lights out for the Young and Donaire now awaits the winner of Japan’s Naoya Inoue vs Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez. Outside of Rodriguez’s immediate relatives, fans are expecting a Donaire (40-5,26KO’s) vs Inoue (17-0, 15KO’s) finals.
Inoue is ten years younger than Donaire. Aside from the WBA regular bantamweight title belt, he has won the WBC light flyweight and WBO junior bantamweight titles. Inoue, a.k.a. the “Monster”, is arguably the most fearsome puncher in the lighter weight divisions today.
Donaire has been in high pressure situations before. He was an unknown in 2007 when he knocked out Vic Darchinyan of Australia for the IBF flyweight title. He has beaten challengers who have held world title belts like South Africans Moruti Mthalane , Mexicans Hernan Marquez ,Fernando Montiel and Jorge Arce, Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vasquez,Jr, Argentine Omar Narvaez and Japanese Toshiaki Nishioka. The list of the world titles he has won is long – IBF flyweight, WBA interim super flyweight, WBO and WBC bantamweight, WBO and IBF junior featherweight, WBA featherweight, his current WBA bantamweight super title and WBC Diamond belt.
It would be unwise to count him out again.
Asian Monster Punchers! – The Top 10 Hardest Punchers in Boxing Right Now
We've compiled a list of the fight game's most ruthless punchers – if you want to know the most feared fighters of the sport then look no further!
Criteria: To enter our Hardest Punchers table, fighters had to: 1) have at least 23 fights (unless they hold a world title), 2) possess a 60% or higher KO ratio, 3) hold a place in Boxing Base's World Rankings.
Note: The Asian Hardest Punchers Rankings only take a fighter’s KO ratio into consideration, and not the level of opposition faced – if we did, it would prove far too complex due the subjective nature of boxing!
Asian Top 10 Hardest Punchers
1. Gennady Golovkin – 91% KO (33-0, 30 KO), Kazakhstan, Middleweight
The Kazakhstan nightmare, often referred to as 'GGG', is one of the most ferocious punchers on the planet. With 20 of his last concussive bouts ending inside the distance, his preferred method of victory is no mystery. Golovkin's next fight will be against fellow wrecking machine David Lemieux – and you can bet your bottom dollar the Kazakhstan crusher won't be looking to put in overtime. Golovkin holds the WBC (Super) and RING titles.
2. Naoya Inoue – 88% KO (8-0, 7 KO), Japan, Junior Bantamweight
The alias 'Monster' couldn't be more fitting for this Japanese amateur standout and power puncher. Not to mention for a fighter who is a two-weight world titlist in just eight fights. Inoue won his first championship at Flyweight against Adrian Hernandez last April, and only two fights later, acquired his second at Junior Bantamweight, needing only 2 rounds to dispose of Omar Andres Narvaez. Inoue is shaping up to be one of boxing's most formidable fighters.
3. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai – 80% KO (35-4-1, 32 KO), Thailand, Junior Bantamweight
Otherwise known as 'M-150', Rungvisai is a Junior Bantamweight who rarely requires scorecards at the final bell. A humbling start in the pro ranks may have included two knockout defeats and a Draw, but it didn't stop the iron-willed fighter from conquering his next 26 foes (24 inside the distance). Rungvisai lost his WBC 115 pound title to Carlos Cuadras in May 2014, but has blasted out all but one of his next 9 dance partners.
4. Wladimir Klitschko – 79% KO (64-3, 53 KO), Kazakhstan, Heavyweight
Commonly referred to as 'Dr Steel Hammer', Klitschko is a devastatingly powerful Heavyweight. At 39-years-old, this fighter is still at the top of his game, and drilling the majority of challengers into the canvas. Klitschko is known for being articulate and philosophical at press conferences – but it's his fists that deliver exclamation marks in the ring. The 6' 5" boxer is set to put his world titles on the line against Tyson Fury on October 24th.
5. Takashi Uchiyama – 79% KO (23-0-1, 19 KO), Japan, Junior Lightweight
You'd expect a fighter dubbed 'KO Dynamite' to be more than a handful in the ring, and Japan's hammer-fisted champ rarely disappoints. Uchiyama's ring generalship and raw power are to thank for his dominance at 130 pounds, where he has defended the WBA strap an astonishing ten times. With stoppages over fighters such as Takashi Miura, Bryan Vasquez and Jaider Parra it's no wonder he is highly regarded in the sport.
6. Randy Petalcorin – 72% KO (23-1-1, 18 KO), Philippines, Junior Flyweight
Petalcorin is one of the Philippines most savage punchers, not to mention one of the Junior Flyweight division's. Since a nightmare career setback to Marlon Tapales in 2010, Petalcorin has blitzed through his next 19 fighters, leaving no question as to why he wears the 'Razor' alias. Petalcorin is the current holder of the Interim WBA 108 pound title.
7. Albert Pagara – 70% KO (23-0, 16 KO), Philippines, Junior Featherweight
Known as 'Prince Albert, Pagara's noise at Junior Featherweight is starting to reach well beyond the shores of the Philippines. Undefeated and ascending the ranks at a rapid pace, the 21-year-old could be set for a very bright future in boxing. Pagara carries fight-changing power, most recently crushing challenger Jesus Rios inside 2 minutes of the 1st round.
8. Shinsuke Yamanaka – 68% KO (23-0-2, 17 KO), Japan, Bantamweight
Arguably the world's Bantamweight top dog, Yamanaka poses a serious threat to anyone campaigning at 118 pounds. Despite having to settle for two early career Draws, the Japanese fighter can nonetheless boast an undefeated record today. Since capturing the vacant WBC Bantamweight title from Christian Esquivel in 2011, Yamanaka has made eight successful defenses. Notable victims include Vic Darchinyan, Malcolm Tunacao and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai.
9. Takashi Miura – 67% KO (29-2-2, 22 KO), Japan, Junior Lightweight
Miura's record may be blemished, but he is considered an elite 130 pounder in his native Japan and on the world scene. The 31-year-old southpaw may have suffered an 8th round Retirement against countryman Takashi Uchiyama in 2011, but the gritty southpaw bounced right back, capturing the WBC Junior Lightweight five fights later. He has since defended the title four times, most recently against Billy Dib via 3rd round TKO.
10. Nonito Donaire – 61% KO (35-3, 23 KO), Philippines, Junior Featherweight
Known as the 'Filipino Flash', Donaire is known for a lot more than his whistling punches. The four-weight world champion possesses one of the most lethal left-hooks in boxing, often employing it to derail the senses of opponents. Donaire put in a career-defining performance against the much-feared Vic Darchinyan in 2007, taking out the undefeated Flyweight in 5 rounds. Despite struggling against top-tier opposition at 126 pounds, Donaire remains one of today's top-tier fighters.
Best of the Rest (50-60% KO ratio, no bout minimum)
(All Images courtesy of boxrec.com)
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