Japanese sensation Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue unified the WBA and IBF titles and won the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament coveted Ali Trophy on Thursday night against Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The 26-year-old Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) a known power puncher couldn’t knockout the 36-year-old four division champion Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) and was given his toughest fight to date going the distance.
The fight was a very tactical battle, with both boxers starting off the round sizing each other up and trying to find openings.
It was clear from the start Inoue and Donaire respected each other’s power because of how sharp and defensive they were, trying to avoid getting hit with a fight changing punch.
Donaire was hit hard by Inoue in the first round and took the punch without going down, so it was some what of a ice breaker to help Donaire build up his confidence knowing he could take the vicious power of the man they call The Monster.
Donaire was stunned by a left hook but was able to cut Inoue over his right eye in round two with a punch and seemed to have the momentum with the Japanese champion trying to time his shots to avoid getting caught again.
The fight continued to be a very high level technical encounter between two hard hitting counter punches with Inoue doing most of the damage and taking over from round four on.
In round nine Donaire had his most pivotal moment when he stunned Inoue with a right hand that caused the Japanese puncher to try and hold on and survive. Donaire was unable finish off Inoue and his best opportunity for a KO was lost.
The eleventh round had Inoue nearly stopping Donaire with a vicious body shot that had him forced to take a knee and try to recover. Donaire was damaged but he refused to quit, got up and continued on to survive the round.
In the twelfth and final round Inoue tried to finish the show knowing his opponent was hurt bad from the last round, but Donaire didn’t go down from any of the power shots landed by Inoue and made it to the final bell.
The two warriors hugged after the fight in a show of mutual respect. Inoue went on to win by unanimous decision, the scorecards were 16-111, 117-109, 114-113.