By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – A Filipino boxer has been voted Fighter of the Year for 2012.
Nonito Dionaire Jr., known as “The Filipino Flash,” was picked the best boxer of 2012 by fight fans on RingTV.com’s online voting, edging Juan Manuel Marquez, whose stunning win over another Filipino fighter, Manny Pacquiao, was voted Fight of the Year.
The 30-year-old Donaire, who hails from Cebu in the Philippines, fought four times in 2012 and captured the flyweight and bantamweight titles, making him the best 122-pound fighter on the planet.
According to Doug Fischer of RingTV.com, Donaire (31-1, 20 knockouts) garnered 55.2 percent of the online votes. Juan Manuel Marquez took 27.3 percent of the votes.
In the ring, Donaire won the vacant WBO 122-pound title by out-pointing Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February.
The Filipino then unified the junior featherweight titles by taking the IBF belt from Jeffrey Mathebula, a 6-foot South African veteran who was floored and suffered a broken jaw in July.
Three months later, Donaire beat junior featherweight Toshiaki Nishioka. who had not lost a fight in more than eight years. To cap the year, he scored a one-sided third-round knockout of Mexican veteran Jorge Arce on Dec. 15.
Off the ring, Donaire, who is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, caused a stir when he hired Victor Conte, a controversial nutritional consultant, but agreed to an unprecedented random, year-round drug testing.
The test will be conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, based in Nevada, and the results will be publicly available. So far, Donaire is the only high-profile professional boxer who is willing to commit to comprehensive year-round drug testing.
In addition, Donaire admitted to having thoughts of killing himself in his youth in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
He said he hoped his admission would encourage other young people who have thoughts of harming themselves to consider other options and find the courage to face problems and look for opportunities to improve their lives.
“I think that I have to accept my past and who I am, because it made me who I am. You know, I know how it was to feel like you were nothing,” Donaire said in a recent interview.
“I know what it is like to feel like the whole world really didn’t need you and that you weren’t important and like you don’t exist. Like you shouldn’t be in this world. Ultimately, though, it came down to knowing where I am and what I’m doing in my life to share that anything is possible,” he said.
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