3 More Rounds

Donaire, Darchinyan, Gradovich to headline HBO tripleheader

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

While the WBA undisputed featherweight title fight between Nonito Donaire and Simpiwe Vetyeka was made official a couple of weeks ago, two more featherweight bouts were made official for the May 31 tripleheader at Cotai Arena in Macau, China.

“All eyes will be on the fabulous Cotai Arena with these three world title fights in one of boxing’s hottest divisions,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Featherweight Fury is one of the most exciting events I have promoted in a long time.”

Nicholas Walters, who holds the WBA world featherweight title, will be taking on Vic Darchinyan in the co-main event.


After winning the title in December of 2012 with a knockout victory over Daulis Prescott, Walters (23-0, 19 KO) followed up that performance with fourth-round stoppage win against Alberto Garza last November.

The 38-year-old Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28 KO) seems to have had a career renaissance. After back-to-back losses, “Raging Bull” scored two straight wins and gave Nonito Donaire all he could handle in their November rematch, the same card that Walters last fought on. Darchinyan was actually ahead on the scorecards through eight rounds. When the ninth came along, Donaire was able to score the come-from-behind knockout.

Also announced for the card in Macau is a bout between IBF featherweight champ Evgeny Gradovich and Alexander Miskirtchian.

Evgeny Gradovich in training. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Evgeny Gradovich in training. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

In his most recent outing, Gradovich (18-0, 9 KO) successfully defended his title in a rematch against Billy Dib, the man he originally won the title from in their first fight. While the first fight ended in a split decision, there was no questioning the result of the rematch, as Gradovich dropped Dib in the sixth round and eventually stopped him the ninth round.

Miskirtchian (24-2-1, 9 KO) is the mandatory challenger for the IBF title and has not lost in five years. The Belgian fighter will be fighting in China for the first time.

Chris Avalos (23-2, 17 KO) will also take on Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-6, 7 KO) on the same card and will be aired as the main event of Solo Boxeo on UniMas later that night. The winner becomes the mandatory challenger to IBF junior featherweight champion Kiko Martinez.

The Donaire-Vetyeka title fight will be televised on the same day in the U.S. on HBO, beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET/PT.  The telecast will also include the world super middleweight title rematch between defending champion Carl Froch and top contender George Groves, which will take place at Wembley Stadium in London.

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