Donaire (right) won the IBF/IBO flyweight titles
By Michael Norby: Defending IBF and IBO world flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan was stunned on Saturday night as challenger Nonito Donaire powered his way to 112lb glory, knocking out the unbeaten Armenian in five dominant rounds at The Harbor Yard Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA.
“I came in here as an underdog,” said Donaire. “Nobody believed in me but I did it. I said yesterday that one punch can make a difference between me and him. I think the key for me in tonight’s fight was every time Darchinyan threw and landed, I punched back and that got him thinking. It took the bully out of him.”
Southpaw hardman Darchinyan 28-1 (22), who beat Donaire’s older brother Glenn last year, looked completely out of his depth against his 24-year-old opponent and finally succumbed to Donaire’s powerful and accurate punching in the early stages of the fifth round.
In the opening round, the Filipino came out swinging and tattooed the unsettled champion with hard right hands to the body and head. Darchinyan responded with his left hand on two occasions in the middle of the round, but a big uppercut from Donaire again upset the Armenian, who was being manhandled for the first time in his career.
Donaire 18-1 (11) began slower in the second round and Darchinyan was getting closer with his power. After missing with a majority of what he threw early, a big left hand in the final minute was Darchinyan’s best punch of the fight and gave the speedy challenger something to think about.
However, upset-minded Donaire quickly regained control and banged away with right hands to the body in the third round, whilst combining his footwork and jab to frustrate Darchinyan. A huge left hook landed flush against the champion’s jaw and badly hurt him with 30 seconds remaining. Stunned and shaken, Darchinyan tried to fight back but got caught again with counter punches at the end of the round.
Darchinyan’s reckless and wild punching was leaving him wide open for Donaire’s counters and the challenger continued to have success as the champion lunged inside in the fifth round. This proved to be Darchinyan’s downfall as Donaire caught him flush with a massive counter left hook that knocked the stunned champion heavily to the deck.
Darchinyan valiantly attempted to get up, but he staggered again midway through the count and fell against the ropes, forcing referee Eddie Claudio to wave things off.
Time of Stoppage: 0:38RD5
“I’ve fought guys who were heavier than Darchinyan, so I timed my shots,” said Donaire. “He has heavy hands but my brother told me he’s not as tough as he thinks he is. I shut him up and he still wouldn’t admit in the ring after the fight that I beat him.”
“I’m very disappointed,” said Darchinyan. “He caught me with a very good shot. I’ll be back. I definitely want a rematch. I was trying to load up too much.”
“I feel so unbelievably great it hasn’t even dawned on me yet what I have accomplished,” said Donaire. “This fight wasn’t just for me. It was for my family and the Filipino people, too. I could feel their energy tonight. I felt so good in the ring.”