Top of the class – Nonito Donaire believes Carl Frampton is World’s best featherweight


Never mind Selby, Santa Cruz, Valdez, or Russell – Nonito Donaire believes Carl Frampton is the best fighter in a talent-packed featherweight division.

‘The Filipino Flash’ was comprehensively outpointed 117-111 on all three judges’ scorecards by ‘The Jackal’ on Saturday night at the SSE Odyssey Arena and the future Hall of Fame fighter was more than impressed by his defeator.

It was a return to a more familiar Frampton as he impressed against a motivated, dangerous, if somewhat past his best, fight legend – and it wasn’t just the home support that took note of the talent that the 31-year-old Belfast fighter displayed.

Speaking after the clash, Donaire, who showed massive love to the Belfast fight fraternity before, during, and after the fight, heaped praise on the two-weight world champion.

The 35-year-old four-weight world title holder saw enough over 12 up-close-and-personal rounds with the Jamie Moore trained-fighter to surmise that Frampton is top of a pile that includes the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby, Oscar Valdez, Gary Russell Jr and more.

“He’s definitely on top of that [featherweight division]. I hope that he can grow and I told him that I support him and whatever I can do to help him get up there but I know that his mind is set and this is a boost for him,”  Donaire told BBC Northern Ireland after the fight.

Ahead of the bout, the former pound-for-pound star was full of respect for Frampton’s ability, but it seems during the clash he found out the man with world title ambitions has substance to back up his style.

Donaire, a fighter renowned for his power and sleep-inducing left hook in particular, claims he caught Frampton with shots that would shudder most fighters, especially in the penultimate round, only to see the Irishman stand firm

“He surprised me. His chin is very surprising,” reflected Donaire.

“I mean, I hit him and a lot of guys would go down and he stood there. Just the way he fought was very surprising to me.”

“I hit him with everything that I got,” the American-raised Asian said of that eleventh round.

“I just went out there with grit in my hand and I hit him with everything.”

“I knew that I had to do that because that was my way of winning the fight and I was willing to win it and I gave it all I got.”

“I threw bricks every single punch and I knew it was a hard punch and he took it.”

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