By Ronnie Nathanielsz
NONITO “The Filipino Flash” Donaire continued his journey to redemption with a smashing second-round technical knockout of former European bantamweight champion Anthony Settoul, whom he dropped three times en route to a defining victory that is destined to set-up a mouth-watering showdown with World Boxing Association champion Scott Quigg of Britain.
The British champion, on the other hand, mauled former world champion Kiko Martinez in similar fashion to win by a second-round TKO.
With the win, Donaire’s father and trainer Dodong Donaire is now looking ahead at a possible title fight by his son against Quigg.
“Quigg is a much easier opponent, because he moves forward and Nonito is much stronger. It’s going to be a good fight, but it won’t last more than six rounds especially now that Nonito realizes he must hit his opponent and not get hit,” the elder Donaire said.
Donaire, the five-division world champion, who suffered a crushing sixth-round stoppage at the hands of the bigger and stronger Jamaican, Nicholas “The Axe Man” Walters, began his journey of recovering the lost glory of being named Fighter of the Year in 2012, by surging to the No. 5 spot in the Ring Magazine rankings with a second-round knockout over Brazilian William Prado before upping the overall quality of his efforts with the win over the lanky Settoul, whose height and reach advantage was quickly negated by the Filipino’s speed and power.
A vicious counter-body shot dropped Settoul in the opening round, before another cracking shot to the body seconds before the end of the round sent the Frenchman down once again.
Unlike in the past when he threw caution to the winds and went after his opponent looking for a knockout, this time around, Donaire stuck to the game-plan his father/trainer worked out during training at the ALA Gym in Cebu, where he also benefited with some excellent sparring against promising prospects Mark Magsayo and Prince Albert Pagara, two undefeated fighters on the crest of international recognition.
A confident but methodical Donaire didn’t rush in to finish off Settoul, but merely bided his time and picked his moments before connecting with a perfectly timed uppercut that sent his foe crashing to the canvas. As referee Danrex Tapdasan began to count, his cornermen sent a towel flying into the ring to signal surrender at 1:41 of the second round.
Donaire Sr. was ecstatic over Nonito’s performance, telling The Standard/BoxingScene.com that “he was strong and for the first time followed all the instructions.”
The former champion even confirmed it.
“I am satisfied because I followed the game plan. Usually, if I hurt an opponent I’m like a wild animal, I batter him right away but this time, I was patient and realized that I needed to study his movements and his style and when I saw the opening thats when I caught him with the right hand. I’m happy because I followed my father’s game-plan which was not to be tense, be smart, look at the timing and the opportunity then take him, but be smart,” he said.
Donaire Jr. stressed that he now has “an arsenal of punches not just the left hook. I need to use all I have, including the right hand and the body shots.”
“Dodong” Donaire was also profuse in his gratitude to renowned boxing patron Tony Aldeguer for allowing them to use all the facilities of the ALA Gym in Cebu and providing excellent sparring partners in Magsayo and Pagara, “who gave Nonito quality sparring.”