Nonito Donaire scored a fifth-round technical decision over WBA featherweight titleholder Simpiwe Vetyeka on Saturday at The Venetian Macao in Macau, China. Donaire, who won his sixth major title in a fourth weight class, scored a knockdown in Round 4 and survived headbutts and poor officiating by referee Luis Pabon.
The fight went to the judges' scorecards after Pabon halted the fight with Donaire badly cut over his left eye, the result of an apparent headbutt. Donaire also took a knee in Round 1 after suffering the cut and absorbing a shot to the back of the head.
Donaire (33-2, 22 knockouts) won by unanimous scores of 39-36 on the cards of judges Raul Caiz Jr., Francisco Martinez and Levi Martinez. Donaire, who is 31, had last been in action for a ring for a ninth-round TKO of ex-beltholder Vic Darchinyan last November.
In his previous fight, the 33-year-old Vetyeka (26-3, 16 KOs) had dethroned and retired long-reigning champion Chris John following a sixth-round stoppage win in December.
Also on the card, THE RING's No. 5-rated featherweight contender Nicholas Walters (24-0, 20 KOs), who is 28, dominated Darchinyan (39-7-1, 28 KOs) to a fith-round stoppage, flooring the 38-year-old veteran once in the second round and twice in Round 5.
In addition, IBF featherweight beltholder Evgeny Gradovich (19-0, 9 KOs) rose from a sixth-round knockdown for a unanimous decision over Alexander Miskirtchian (24-3-1, 9 KOs), taking the fight by scores of 117-110 on the cards of Martinez and Patrick Morley, and 118-110 on that of Lisa Giampa.
Also on the card, super middleweight Esquiva Falcao (3-0, 1 KO), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, won a unanimous decision over Eun-Chang Lee (7-4, 3 KO), taking the fight, 58-55, 59-54 and, 59-55.
A full ringside report by Ryan Songalia will follow.