Nonito Donaire, Gary Antuanne Russell, Subriel Matias, Delvin Haney … All Big Winners (5-29-21)
By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
In 2007, Nonito Donaire defeated the fearsome Vic Darchinyan, who was at the time undefeated and a killing machine. Donaire defeated him by TKO at the age of 24 years old. Last Saturday night, the 38-year-old Donaire fought yet another undefeated fighter for the title and just as he did 14 years ago, he defeated Nordien Qubaali. The previous fight he lost a tough decision to Naoya Inoue, the super bantamweight and for this fight, he moved downward in weight .
Donaire fought a smart fight as he proved patient in fighting the defending champion and used his skills as he set Qubaali up for his patent left hook. The first two rounds, he boxed and landed solid shots but in the third round, he nailed Qubaali with a solid left hook that sent the champion down. He continued to pressure the champ and at the end of the round, he landed another left hook that sent Qubaali down . Quabaali barely got up from the knockdown and wasn’t quite sure where his corner was, but he was allowed to continue since he had a minute between round to collect his senses.
In the fourth round, Donaire stopped Quabaali as he landed yet another left hook that stopped Quabaali and Donaire became the oldest fighter who captured the bantamweight division .
In the preliminaries, Gary Antuanne Russell fought Jovanie Santiago and won easily, Russell is the younger brother of Gary Russell Jr., the featherweight champion. Santiago previous fight was a close loss to Adrian Broner so this would be Russell toughest test in a career that Russell had yet to see the fifth round. Russell did see the sixth round, but he literally dominated from the start. Santiago’s corner saw enough and decided to stop the fight after the sixth round . He has his brother defensive skills but more power as he stopped his 14 fighters in 14 fights.
Subriel Matias fought Batyrzhan Jukembayev in an intriguing match. Both men had power and Jukembayev was making his United States debut. Matias had won all his victories by knock out but had one loss by decision and Jukembayev had never been defeated.
Jukembayev showed technical skills over the first two rounds as he used angles and landed solid shots against Matias. Matias had the bigger reach and had a slender body versus the more muscular Jukembayev but by the third round, Matias started to let his hands go more as he put pressure on his undefeated opponent and in the fourth round, his power came through as he sent his opponent down.
Jukembayev came out in the fifth with solid left against Matias and while Matias started to take control of the fight, his defense was often found wanting as Jukembayev connected on straight left out of his southpaw stance and right hooks . Going into the eighth round, I had the fight 67 to 65 but Matias let his hands go in the eighth round as he pummels his opponent. In between rounds, Jukembayev’s corner saw enough and stopped the fight.
In another fight, Delvin Haney won a decision over veteran Jorge Linares but had to survive a Linares surge as Linares nailed Haney with a solid shot that stunned Haney at the end of the tenth round. While he won the decision, many fans remembered his survival at the end of the fight as opposed to his performance in the early part of the fight.
Haney connected on twice as many punches throughout the fight and showed his technical prowess. He may be the best boxer in the lightweight division but not the most powerful puncher.
This past weekend, a future hall of fame fighter reclaims his place in the present boxing as he turned back father time and won a title and young fighters like Russell, Matias and Haney showed that they have the talent to challenge for at title or in the case.