Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire's technical knockout victory over Toshiaki Nishioka was impressive on Saturday night, with the IBF and WBO Super Bantamweight champion putting his power on full display.
Donaire was able to knock the former champion down in the ninth round. Nishioka got back up and appeared ready to continue, but his corner threw in the towel.
In the other rounds, Donaire was on point as well. He was more active, more powerful and more in control of the match than his Japanese counterpart. At the most, I'd give Nishioka two rounds overall.
It's not like Nishioka is a pushover either. Aside from being a former champion, he's 39-5-3 in his career. He's a tough fighter with a good chin, and Donaire pushed the older veteran to his limit.
This was a big fight for Donaire. Despite holding two belts, Nishioka's reputation in the division made him a tough opponent. The Filipino Flash had something to prove, and he proved it Saturday evening.
Even though he only knocked Nishioka down once, Donaire steered around the ring with sneaky power. He used both hands well, worked the body and kept Nishioka off-balance despite having less experience than his opponent.
Donaire's powerful jab kept Nishioka at a distance, allowing him to control the pace of the fight. Working the body kept Nishioka on his toes, forcing him to defend himself in multiple ways.
Who should Donaire fight next?
Now at 30-1, Donaire's next opponent is up in the air. I'd like to see him fight Abner Mares, but Nishioka was arguably the toughest opponent he will see at 122 pounds. Victor Terrazas would be another interesting opponent.
The TKO win on Saturday sent another statement loud and clear for Donaire: He's here to stay, and, at 29 years old, he could be a champion for a long time. Perhaps a weight-class change is in order.
He's already beaten bantamweight veterans Nishioka and Vic Darchinyan. Now, he must find his next victim.
One thing is certain: After watching him fight on Saturday, he's a complete fighter. He handled himself like a veteran and punished one of the division's best all-around boxers.
Keep an eye on Donaire moving forward. He's a force to be reckoned with.