Nonito Donaire stopped Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round of their junior featherweight showdown at a packed Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Saturday. Donaire, who dropped Nishioka in rounds six and nine, won THE RING’s vacant championship with the TKO.
Prior to the first knockdown, which Donaire scored with a left uppercut, the HBO-televised fight was a tactical chess match between two master boxer-counter punchers. Donaire (30-1, 19 knockouts) had the edge in those rounds by being the more active fighter and by taking more chances. Nishioka (39-5-3, 24 KOs) did little more than jab and block Donaire’s punches — until he got caught.
The Japanese veteran got up from the first knockdown and took the fight to Donaire until the bell. Nishioka stalked Donaire from that point on, which eventually played into the heavier hands of the Filipino champ. Donaire caught Nishioka with a big right hand while Nishioka pressed him to the ropes midway through the ninth.
The southpaw got up but he did so on wobbly legs, prompting his corner to ask referee Raul Caiz Sr. to stop the bout. The fight was halted at 1:54 of the ninth.
A post-fight column on the match will follow.