Inoue defeats Donaire in Entire world Boxing Tremendous Collection final

Naoya Inoue

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.

Inoue swarmed over the hurting Donaire, who miraculously survived the onslaught that had more than 20,000 fans on the edge of their seats at the Saitama Super Arena.

"Naoya Inoue is a generational talent, the sort of fighter who comes around once a decade", Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said.

The pair were competing for not only the IBF and WBA bantamweight titles, but also the World Boxing Super Series crown and Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Inoue looked clearly faster throughout the fight, but Donaire (40-6, 26 KO) was unsafe, and not just from his vaunted left hook.

Four weight champion Donaire opened a cut above Inoues right eye with a left hook in the second round.

It was a passing-of-the-torch fight similar to Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko's blockbuster heavyweight duel in 2017, when the younger Joshua had to pass a tough test to beat the older, more accomplished warrior, whose own stock rose despite the defeat.

Donaire got back up to finish the round and the bout but couldn't turn things around.

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Naoya Inoue of Japan celebrates his win over Nonito Donaire of Philippines. In the penultimate round, it appeared like Donaire was in no fit state to continue after taking a bodyshot that pained him so greatly he ran around the edge of the ring, grimacing, before dropping to the canvas on his knees to buy some time and take the count.

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

Inoue and Donaire traded heavy blows from the opening round to the final bell.

The 12th round was Inoue's, too, as he didn't allow Donaire a chance for a serious argument to have won the fight. "After a year of fights, I'm satisfied to win this championship". He's not simply a slugger with no Plan B.

"Donaire was very, very tough for me", Inoue said through a translator. "He's very strong. I [was] victorious, but I'm not the greatest all-time yet. I've fought in America once before, and I look forward to doing so again in the very near future".

Asked about Donaire recovering from the knockdown in the 11th round, Inoue said, "Donaire was a true champion. Next year and on, I'll keep fighting, I'll [be] victorious, and I wanna be the strongest of all time". I think I have to go over [the fight] and get stronger.

But Inoues ‘Monster reputation as one of the planets most fearsome fighters was put in serious jeopardy in the ninth as Donaire rocked him with a sensational counter right, leaving his opponent reeling for the first time in his career.

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