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I'll learn from loss to top-quality Jackal: Donaire

 

By David Mohan

It wasn't the outcome Nonito Donaire wanted, but he says he can take a lot from his defeat to Carl Frampton at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.

The Filipino Flash was out-gunned by the Jackal on the night, losing a unanimous decision, but was dangerous throughout and came close to pulling it out of the fire in the 11th round when he rocked the Belfast man, who was forced to retreat.

At 35 years of age, Donaire's best days are perhaps behind him, but there was no suggestion that this was his career over when he reflected on the fight at the Crown Bar on Sunday.

"I can still smile because that was Frampton (I lost to)," he said. "That's not a B-level or C-level fighter - that's an A-level fighter right there. That's a champion right there.

"I went out there and almost took it from him, it was close, so my head is high.

"I'm going to go back to the gym, get better and be inspired by this experience."

That huge left hook that hurt Frampton in the penultimate round was a little reminiscent of Donaire's 2013 meeting with Vic Darchinyan when, trailing on the cards, he produced the goods to force a stoppage.

Frampton didn't allow that at the weekend, and Donaire paid further tribute to the victor.

"He kept changing his style, I was changing my style and we were going back and forth," he said.

"He came in with a better technique and strategy than I did, but I came out there and thought, 'You know what, I have to hand it to him', but he was tough.

"He took everything I gave him and that was the big difference between the Darchinyan (rematch) - Frampton took it.

"I think a lot of it was that everyone was screaming for him and he took energy from that. He stood his ground and took the punches."

While he didn't win the fight, Donaire certainly won the hearts of the local fans thanks to his down-to-earth and genuine approach.

Belfast and Donaire will share a special bond and the fans turned out again on Sunday to bid the Filipino, who has been fulsome in his praise of the city, farewell.

"From the moment I got here, everyone has been amazing, really nice and really kind, assisting my team in any way they can," he added. "I have had no bad experiences.

"Regardless that I didn't get the decision and came up short, everything was just amazing.

"I'm going to go home with a friend forever in Carl and we are going to support each other. Belfast, the fans and the crowd were all an amazing experience."

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