Nonito Donaire Sr. said his son would win in six. Junior proved him wrong and took only three rounds to retain his WBO super bantamweight title at the Cebu City Sports Center tonight in front of a crowd estimated at 20,000.
After a cautious first round, Donaire, known as The Filipino Flash, sent Zsolt Bedak to the canvas twice with his signature left, the last in the dying seconds of Round 2. A dazed Bedak was saved by the bell from further damage, but couldn’t last for long in the third round.
Sensing that the former Olympian was near his end, Donaire pounced on Bedak quickly in the third, and a solid left and right to the face sent Bedak on his knees just 16 seconds after the break. Bedak, who was on a 10-fight winning streak, opted not to continue the fight and the match was officially called off at 1:44 of the third.
Donaire improved to 37-3, with 24 KOs after his first title defense of the crown he won against Cesar Juarez last Dec. 11, 2015. Bedak, a former Olympian who fought in the Beijing Olympics for Hungary, dropped to 25-2 and has lost his second world title shot. He also lost to Wilfredo Vasquez when he challenged for the same crown on May 29, 2010.
Donaire, after being announced the winner, later grabbed the mike from ring announcer Ted Lerner to thank the crowd, which was starting to leave the venue.
“Salamat sa pagmahal ninyo kanako ug sa boxing (Thank you for your love for me and boxing),” he said.
Pagara also wins
Jason Pagara also scored a unanimous decision win, surviving a cut on his eye to win 99-91, 98-2 and 98-92.
One-time world title challenger Rocky Fuentes won by majority decision over Romnick Magos. 78-74, 78-74, 76-76.
Pagara improved to 38-2 with 23 Kos while Miguel Zamudio is now 35-9-1, with 21 KOs.
Fleming still unbeaten
In the main undercard, Australian Paul Fleming extended his unbeaten run to win the WBC continental America’s super featherweight belt by unanimous decision over Miguel Gonzales.
Walking into the ring to the music of “Filipino, Filipino,” the Australian boxer with Aboriginal descent got knocked down early in the first round but held on to survive the round. Using his reach advantage, he controlled the pace of the bout to win, 96-93, 97-92, 97-92. He improved to 22-0, with 14 KOs, while Gonzales dropped to 22-8-2, with 12 KOs.
“I am very lucky to have fought here in front of a wonderful crowd and fight fans. I think you are one of the best fans in the world. This is one of the best places to fight in,” Fleming said after the bout.
In the other undercard, Mark Magsayo passed the biggest test of his career with a sixth-round KO of the tough Chris “The Hitman” Avalos, winning the WBO international super bantamweight title in the process.
Magsayo staggered Avalos in the second round with a solid left and unleashed a barrage of punches as he went for an early knockdown. The Hitman survived the round and caught Magsayo flush in the third, sending him on his first knockdown of his career.
“This is my biggest test. When I got down, I didn’t forget to pray,” said Magsayo, who said he got his energy back when the crowd chanted his name.
Magsayo admitted that when he went for that knockout in the second, he seemed to have lost that wind in him.
In the 5th, Magsayo connected on a couple of solid left, making Avalos wobbly. Avalos clinched to the survive the round and was checked by the doctor if he was fit to continue.
He came out in the sixth, but the round didn’t last long. Cautious but aggressive, Magsayo connected on a few exchanges anew, forcing Danrex Tapdasan to step at 1:44 of the round in as Avalos was unable to defend himself.
He improved to 14-0, with 11 KOs.
“We told him to keep his distance, because he was groggy. And to keep his presence of mind,” trainer Edito Villamor said on his instructions for Magsayo after the knockdown. “That’s why we kept shouting ‘mind! mind!’”
A visibly happy Michael Aldeguer and Antonio Aldeuger, the founder of ALA Promotions, greeted Magsayo when he got off the ring.
“You have just seen one of the best fights,” Lerner later told the crowd after the fight.
In the early bouts, Jeo Santisima improved to 10-2, 9KOs after stopping Tabthong Tor Buamas in the first round. The Thai dropped to 14-4, 12KOs. Virgel Vitor also knocked out Paulo Pereno in three rounds to improve to 7-1, 4KOs.