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Nonito Donaire wants return to Belfast before hanging up his gloves

By David Kelly

Nonito Donaire left Belfast after once again proving what a great warrior he is - and admitting that he didn't realise just how good Carl Frampton is until they had completed their 12 rounds at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.

The Filipino Flash had moments of success but found the Jackal superior in so many ways that it proved to be a frustrating night for Donaire, who nevertheless wants to return to Belfast before he hangs up his gloves, which he insisted would not be any time soon despite this loss.

"I loved my time in Belfast, the people are great and the way the fans reacted to me before and after the fight was very respectful and I would love to have the opportunity to come back and fight here," said Donaire after a warm embrace with the Jackal backstage.

"Credit to Carl as he knew how to handle me. We did everything we could to study Carl to know what he was like but he was a lot better than I expected.

"I gave it everything I could in there, I threw everything into my punches and he stood there like a wall. That's what champions do, they suck it up. He is one tough fighter. It was actually a pleasure to be in the ring with him.

"Physically he was a lot wider than I thought. All my set-ups couldn't work because I had to double up my movement to get in range compared to the way I was in the gym.

"Leading up to this fight I had dropped a lot of guys in the gym with the right hand and I was so certain I would do the same to Frampton but in there with him it was like fighting a super-lightweight, he was so wide!"

While soundly beaten, Donaire was adamant that he would not walk away from the sport even though having achieved so much it might well be the wisest move for this great warrior.

"The best man won, he was great and this isn't the end for me. If I had lost to somebody who was nothing then that would be the end for me but I lost to a former world fighter of the year, who was incredible and I know he would beat anyone out there," added Donaire.     

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