Wednesday, 03 June, 2020

Inoue staves off Donaire to win bantamweight event

Naoya Inoue Inoue staves off Donaire to win bantamweight event
Cary Erickson | 10 November, 2019, 06:26

"Donaire was a very strong opponent", Inoue said. "I need to get stronger".

However, Donaire pulled off another brilliant attack in Round 8, aggravating Inoue's right eye wound, and in Round 9, he even came close to knocking him down with solid shots that eventually forced some bleeding inside his nose.

"Donaire was a true champion", Inoue said.

Naoya "The Monster" Inoue has rarely faced adversity during his reign of terror through boxing's smaller weight classes, but when he finally did against Nonito Donaire, Inoue came through like a champion in a punishing contender for fight of the year.

Although Donaire, who has won titles at flyweight, bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, had not fought at 118-pounds in seven years, he became an early threat to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Donaire thumped Inoue with punches so hard he had double-vision from round two onwards, a bloody nose, and a terrible gash on his eyelid.

Naoya Inoue of Japan (R) and Nonito Donaire of Philippines (L) fight in their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on November 7, 2019. The 26-year-old Inoue improved to 19-0 in his pro career.

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Inoue had double vision for the rest of the fight. The plan is for him to come to the US for two fights in a row in 2020 before a trip back to Japan for a third fight later next year.

Italian judge Luigi Boscarelli had it 116-111, Octavio Rodriguez of Panama gave a 117-109 score, and American Robert Hoyle scored the bout 114-113 all for Inoue, who moved up to 19-0.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, whose multiyear co-promotional deal with Inoue to bring him to the United States and have him fight on ESPN platforms was announced immediately following the victory over Donaire, told ESPN the prospect of a unification bout with Tete is one of the fights they are interested in putting together.

Donaire landed a potentially jaw-denting straight right in the ninth round but Inoue showed great recuperative ability to ride out the effects of the blow and evade the onslaught that followed. "I will keep fighting, and I want to be the strongest of all time".

The eleventh round had Inoue almost stopping Donaire with a vicious body shot that had him forced to take a knee and try to recover.

"It is a tremendous honor to sign with Top Rank and to showcase my talents on ESPN", Inoue said. Donaire dropped to 40-6 but showed he's a Hall of Famer by battling to the final bell.