Quijano: Who is Simpire Vetyeka?

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


THIS weekend, Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21KOs) will be gunning for WBA featherweight crown against Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa.

Now I’m pretty sure most of you are wondering who in the world is Simpiwe Vetyeka? That very same thought crossed my overly caffeinated brain the same day the news came out and so I did some research.

FAME. Yeka of South Africa is 33 years old and has a record of 26-2, 16 KOs. His claim to fame was a stoppage win over Chris John (48-1, 22KOs) of Indonesia last year.

Now if the name Cris John is still too obscure for you, remember that John actually owns a win over Juan Manuel Marquez, back in 2006. That was a legitimate victory on points over a prime Marquez.

But then again that was eight years ago, and John was 35 years of age when he lost to Vetyeka.

Though John remained undefeated up until the loss to Vetyeka, the former rarely ventured out of his comfort zone to fight the best that the division had to offer save for the Rocky Juarez fight in 2009.

Against Vetyeka, John looked tired and lethargic and though it was fought on fairly even terms in the first four rounds, by the fifth, Vetyeka started to dominate.

A rapidly fading John resorted to throwing wide punches, which Vetyeka picked off and countered with accurate right hands. John was knocked down several times, and the fight was stopped in the 6th round.

STYLE. Though I read reports that Donaire has guaranteed victory, I see this to be a potentially difficult fight, style-wise.

Vetyeka is a boxer-counter puncher. He is lanky and rangy and prefers to bide his time and wait for openings.

Against John, he was at his best, backpedalling and spearing the onrushing Indonesian with jabs and counters.

Oftentimes the fighters would clinch, necessitating intervention from the referee. I expect Vetyeka to do the same to Donaire to stifle and neutralize the fearsome power in those fists.

That prodigious power will make all the difference in this fight and if that left hook finds a home, it will be a short night as Vetyeka will be fighting to survive.

But if he succeeds in thwarting Donaire’s offense, the danger is if the latter gets frustrated and loses patience in setting up his combinations.

Vetyeka has speed and power, too, and is certainly capable of making life difficult for the “Filipino Flash” and making this an ugly, unwatchable fight.

Again, the styles-make-fights aphorism will come into play, but the ace up Donaire’s sleeve is his fearsome one-punch knockout power, which makes him the heavy, heavy favorite in this fight.

MILESTONE. ALA Promotions achieved a milestone in the field of boxing promotions when it was recently granted a license by the California State Athletic Commission as the first promoter in the whole of Asia, to hold events in the United States.

After working on the license since November 2011, ALA Promotions is now ready to invade the USA.

The implications of this are expansive and far reaching. Previously, local promoters had to tie up with their US counterparts when they wanted to showcase Filipino boxers and of course, the US promoters had their own agenda to promote which resulted in reduced purses and limited primetime exposure.

The ball is now in ALA’s court. This unique opportunity to promote local boxers on the world-wide stage on their own terms is a seminal moment for Philippine boxing.

LAST ROUND. It’s on Ric Sunico who celebrates his birthday this week. Cheers!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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