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MANILA — The skin underneath his left eyebrow all stitched up and a bit puffy, four-division world champion Nonito Donaire said that he can return to the ring by October against an opponent to be picked by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.

After annexing the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight crown last May 31 in Macau, Donaire said he is amenable to a rematch with South African Simpiwe Vetyeka but it seems like it won’t  happen soon.

“From this point on, it is the promoter who decides but we will (try to) push for a rematch,” said Donaire during a press conference at ABS-CBN.

Donaire was awarded a technical decision after referee Luis Pabon called a halt to the scheduled 12-rounder a few seconds into the fifth round.

Under WBA rules, the decision will go the scorecards after four rounds in the event a fight is stopped due to a headbutt.

Good thing that the third man on the ring acted after the fourth round because had he ordered a stoppage in the first four rounds, the bout would have been declared a technical draw and Vetyeka would have kept the WBA 126-ln belt as he was the champion.

Donaire, 31, was leading on the all score sheets when the fight was stopped as blood continued to flow from the hideous cut he suffered in the dying seconds of the first round.

At first, Donaire wasn’t so convinced that he had done enough to win but all that changed when he finally saw a replay of the fight that took place before a sellout crowd at the CotaiArena.

“Now that I have seen the fight, I am happier and I can see the work that we did in the gym,” said Donaire, who was told by the doctor who treated him that he can go back to the gym in a couple of months.

Even though Donaire was the dominant fighter, Vetyeka also had his moments during the brief encounter. (Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin)