Naoya Inoue was too strong, the power in a nasty right and a vicious left hand detonated on Nonito Donaire at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Monday night (Tuesday morning in US). Inoue's two straps and one in the possession of Donaire (from Taliban, Philippines, lives in Las Vegas) were up for grabs. The 29 year old sent a message he wasn't going to be preserving energy when he sent Nonito down in the first. Then, the Japanese boxer stayed on message. A left hook had Donaire reeling, he tried to fight back, but the pound for pounder's left hook was too destructive. The ref waved it off at the 1:35 mark, the younger gun having reminded us that time waits for no man.
Naoya Inoue (from Japan; age 29) rose to 23-0, while the 39 year old Donaire, in his 22nd world title clash, went to 42-7. Inoue after the ending said that a left hook from Donaire woke him up. He didn't want to go deeper into rounds, he said, he wanted to close that show. “I pressured myself, and I did it,” he stated. “Without Nonito I couldn't do this…Thank you so much Nonito, for everything.” He informed us that he wants to grab the other remaining belt at 118.
The two met on Nov. 7, 2019, with Naoya Inoue winning by UD12 (117-109, 116-111, 114-113) They both got their licks in, Inoue’s left hook to the liver in round 11 very nearly finished off the ultra vet. Donaire landed heavy thunder and broke the nose and also busted the right eye socket of the Japanese boxer courtesy of a second round hook. Click here for highlights from that battle, named Fight of the Year by Ring.
A counter right dropped Donaire at the tail end of the first, it clipped the ultra vet on the chin. It was a busy round one, not too much feeling out. In the second, it was over, Donaire went down after getting buzzed a few times. A left hook at 1:50 had Donaire's legs sub al dente. A left hook was also the finisher from Naoya Inoue, it landed after two crisp rights buzzed his head badly.
“The Monster” is now high on most folks' pound for pound list, while “The Filipino Flash” came in uniformly respected as a pugilist combining superior skill and admirable longevity. Coming in, most saw Naoya Inoue emerging with his hand raised but acknowledged that assuming Donaire couldn't do it would be foolish.
Since the first tango, Naoya Inoue beat via KO Jason Moloney, Michael Dasmarinas and Aran Diapen to defend his WBA and IBF titles. Donaire scored two KO victories, over unbeatens Nordine Oubaali and then Reymart Gaballo. He grabbed a WBC bantam crown off Oubaali. Since then, though, Donaire got older. Inoue did too, but he also got better.