by Dennis Principe
WORLD Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka does not mind being treated like challenger in his first title defense against Nonito Donaire, Jr. of the Philippines.
Since the fight has been announced as Top Rank’s headliner for their latest Macau gig, the crownless Donaire has been cornering most of the limelight in almost the entire promotional proceeding.
But the camp of Vetyeka is not complaining.
In an overseas telephone interview from their hotel room, Vetyeka’s manager Andile Sidinile said they already expected this kind of treatment from the time when they got confirmation of the bout.
“When we left South Africa we said we are going to be the challenger. We like the underdog tag. We like the pressure because we are approaching this fight as the challenger,” said Sidinile. “We like to be where people are putting us. We enjoy it because it gives us more motivation”
During the grand arrival of both protagonists at the Venetian Hotel, it was Donaire who got a fiesta-like atmosphere when he entered the place early this week.
“They treated Nonito the champion and us the challenger. Those are small things. The big thing is the fight itself. You get prejudiced for small things and we don’t really concentrate on those,” said Sidinile.
Vetyeka will stake his WBA crown opposite Donaire in their 12-round featherweight title bout at the Venetian Hotel’s Cotai Arena in Macau.
Sidinile said they actually had the option to choose who their opponent would be for the next fight and top Rank gave them two names in regular WBA champion Nicholas Walters of Jamaica and former world superbantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda of Japan.
“We chose to defend against Donaire precisely because we want to fight the best in the world and Simpiwe wants to prove that he is the best in the world,” said Sidinile “We contacted Top Rank and told them ‘you have Donaire who beat Darchinyan so why don’t we do that fight?’ And Top Rank said ‘we’ll that’s fine, let’s do it’.”
The 33-year-old Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KO’s) won the WBA crown by stopping then undefeated and 10-year champion Chris John of Indonesia in the 6th round of their title clash December of last year in Australia.
Before beating John, Vetyeka snatched the International Boxing Organization (IBO) version of the featherweight class by knocking out John’s compatriot Daud Yordan last April 2013 in Indonesia.
The 31-year-old Donaire (32-2, 21 KO’s) meanwhile went 1-1 last year, first losing to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in their superbantamweight unification match before coming from behind and stopping Vic Darchinyan in the 9th of their 10-round non-title clash last November 2013 in Texas.
Donaire is eyeing his fifth division crown after bagging belts in the flyweight, superflyweight, bantamweight and superbantamweight divisions.