Popular Filipino boxer Nonito Donaire made quick work of a clearly overmatched opponent on Saturday night, notching a third-round technical knockout win over the unheralded Zsolt Bedak at the Cebu City Sports Complex in Cebu City, Philippines.
The one-sided victory marked Donaire's first defense of his WBO World super bantamweight title since capturing the vacant belt with a win over Cesar Juarez in December 2015. He had previously held the WBO World title for a stunning reign in 2012, before losing it and the WBA Super World super bantamweight title to the Cuban technician Guillermo Rigondeaux in April 2013.
Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) knocked down Bedak (25-2, 8 KOs) twice in the second round, firing his lightning-fast hands to find the mark with incredible power and precision.
Bedak survived to the third round, but a left hook from Donaire stunned him and eventually forced him to his knee. The referee didn't like what he saw from the bloodied fighter and waved off the bout before Bedak could suffer any further harm.
Boxing writer Graham Houston summed up what worked for Donaire:
Bedak was simply a steppingstone to bigger and better bouts for Donaire. The 32-year-old Hungarian's only other opponent of note was Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., whom he lost to by TKO in 2010.
The 33-year-old Donaire has suffered losses to Rigondeaux and Nicholas Walters in recent years, but he remains popular in the Philippines and is still eager to prove himself with a world title in tow.
USA Today's Mike Coppinger relayed Donaire's preferred options for his next opponent:
Rappler Sports noted a large crowd was on hand to see The Filipino Flash in action:
Donaire was content to feel out Bedak in the first round, but a pair of quick-strike counter lefts late in the frame showed he was well prepared for his opposition.
Midway through the second round, Donaire's fast hands stunned Bedak and scored a knockdown. A left hook to the skull wobbled Bedak, and after a couple of misses, an uppercut sent the Hungarian falling backward to the mat.
Bad Left Hook noted it wasn't just Donaire's speed that troubled Bedak:
Bedak chose to engage Donaire rather than play defense, and his aggression led to a second knockdown in the round just before the closing bell. Donaire rocked him with a series of left-handed shots, and again Bedak went tumbling backward for another count from the referee.
Rappler Sports had a look at the second knockdown:
It was clear that Bedak, sporting a bloody nose, was not long for the fight. Donaire quickly put the night to bed in the third round, scything through Bedak's weak defense with his left hand and forcing the referee to stop the carnage early.
It was an easy win for Donaire, but that was expected. Bad Left Hook's Tom Craze noted he hasn't taken on strong opposition as of late:
Donaire isn't quite the electrifying fighter who won the Boxing Writer Association of America's Fighter of the Year award in 2012, but he's still a fine boxer capable of making some noise in the super bantamweight ranks.
Lest he lose credibility outside of his native Philippines, Donaire should seek a more challenging opponent in the near future. Rigondeaux's otherworldly defense and counterpunching might still be too much for Donaire, but the latter did manage a 10th-round knockdown in that bout.
A bout with either Carl Frampton or Scott Quigg would also serve as a necessary step up for Donaire, who looks to have plenty left in the tank.