Top Rank continues it’s international development of world class boxing at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, Saturday, May 31st when Filipino-American icon Nonito Donaire tackles as dangerously hard punching fighter as exists in boxing today in South African Simpiwe Vetyeka. The newly aquired WBA Super World featherweight title will be the bauble Vetyeka defends.
The little known Vetyeka is emblematic of the tough, pressure fighting South African style that recently saw him beat up future Hall of Famer Chris John in a firefight. John had sought to defend his WBA title while simultaneously matching the storied undefeated Rocky Marciano 49 victories without a loss that stands as a permanent marker of excellence in the boxing world. T’was never meant to be as it turned, but John fought the great fight to go out on his shield and will be regarded highly in his retirement as a Thai legend.
As is becoming par in this part of the world, Bob Arum has assembled an international cast of support with a couple of Latino Americans tossed in the mix for spice along with an undefeated Jamaican WBA featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters going against Armenian former champ Vic Darchinyan, an undefeated Russian featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich who makes a return to The Venetian against a undefeated Belgian, a Japanese fighter, a touted prospect Brazilian 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao, and so on.
Featherweights are the key descriptor here, perfect for the Chinese market as I’d guess an unofficial round robin tourney of rivalries is being set up between the four of them. Unofficial in that Top Rank doesn’t want to limit these guys to a tourney format when bigger fights may become apparent after this date at other venues. I suspect the growing success in this venue will certainly see at least some returning fighters at the next Macao promotion.
Donaire should be the nominal favorite, but he’s been struggling ever since he divorced former Balco trainer Victor Conte and then was distracted by his expectant wife and arduous self training duties. Anti social media monkeys hate him as “that 2nd Filipino,” but even as he struggled Donaire has made his power quite audible, knocking down Guillermo Rigandeaux twice in a close loss, and being the only fighter to ever knock out Vic Darchinyan, TWICE now with his last win.
I favor the overall excellence and experience of Donaire, but this Vetyeka character may be the ultimate wild card in boxing right now. He simply refused to stop attacking John, walking through every thing thrown at him to ultimately blast John to smithereens, so how is Donaire going to deal with him?
Be a great fight to watch and find out.