Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Naoya Inoue battles past Nonito Donaire to unify bantamweight world titles

Japanese fighter was given a tough fight by the Filipino legend, who proved he can still mix it against the very best

Naoya Inoue, right, and Nonito Donaire during their thrilling fight in Japan. AFP
Naoya Inoue, right, and Nonito Donaire during their thrilling fight in Japan. AFP

Naoya Inoue cemented his status as one of the leading pound-for-pound boxers on the planet after he became the unified IBF and WBA bantamweight champion with a thrilling points win over Nonito Donaire.

After 12 absorbing and punishing rounds, Inoue was awarded the win via unanimous decision. Two ringside judges awarded the victory by wide margins, while the third gave it to Inoue by one round.

As well as becoming a unified world bantamweight champion, Inoue also took home the Ali Trophy for winning the World Boxing Super Series finale and extended his perfect professional record to 19 fights.

While the Japanese fighter leaves the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with all the belts and accolades, Donaire will receive plenty of plaudits and showed that even after 46 fights and at the age of 36, he still has the ability to trade with the very best.

Indeed, Donaire looked as though he could have caused a major shock in the ninth round when he rocked Inoue with a flush right hand to leave the 26-year-old in a spot of bother for the first time in his career.

Inoue, who was cut in the second round and sustained a bloody nose in the ninth, managed to regain his composure to see out the victory.

"I had double vision since the second round, but I was victorious and I am very proud of myself," Inoue said. "I believe that I have a bright future. Nonito Donaire was very, very strong. He is a true champion.”

Updated: November 7, 2019 06:41 PM

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