Nonito Donaire’s spotlight sadly faded on Saturday night as the once dominant force was beaten up and stopped by new kid on the block Nicholas Walters in Carson, California.
The 31 year-old, who hasn’t been impressive in his last few contests, found the younger Walters, 28, too much to handle and in the process surrendered his WBA 126lb belt at the StubHub Center.
Walters edged the first having established a superior jab, although Donaire was connecting with eye-catching counters that saw him take the second with a huge finish that had the Jamaican in trouble.
Into the third and a solid uppercut dropped Donaire will just a few seconds of the session to go, a round which may well have gone the Filipnio’s way had he not been caught flush and touched down in the centre of the ring.
Considerable damage had already appeared on Donaire’s right eye by the start of round four as Walters’ confidence grew that he could hurt the four-weight world champion at will. That solid jab Walters possesses was a prominent feature throughout and provided the base for considerable success – doing enough to put Donaire off as he tried to return fire.
The fighters went toe-to-toe in round five, but it was the younger man who came out of the exchanges in the better shape and Donaire’s eye worsened the more he engaged with Walters who was building up a head of steam.
Donaire had slowed considerably by the sixth and was shipping too many punches until a huge right hand from Walters dropped the weary former pound for pound star and he was unable to recover his senses.
Referee Raul Caiz Jr. reached the count of nine with Donaire still struggling to regain his balance and the fight was called off to crown a new king in the featherweight division. Walters scored a 21st stoppage from 25 wins to capture the WBA title outright and put himself in the hunt for more lucrative bouts going forward.
Earlier, former world super-middleweight title challenger Edwin Rodriguez made a successful debut at 175lbs following his one-sided loss to Andre Ward almost a year ago.
‘La Bomba’ toyed with opponent Azea Agustama for the majority of the contest to see out a 100-90 (twice) and 99-91 victory, although looked rusty in recording his 25th career triumph.
Also on the card, Abraham Han defeated Marcos Reyes at middleweight as two of the three judges gave the 30 year-old Texan the verdict 97-91 whilst the final official saw it even 94-94.
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