Nonito Donaire is able to show his children the Ali Trophy he nearly won, thanks to his conqueror Naoya Inoue
Nonito Donaire had promised his children they would have the Ali Trophy, awarded to winners of World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournaments, after his bantamweight final against Naoya Inoue, in Saitama.
However, after a captivating give-and-take battle, Inoue came out on top via unanimous decision, unifying the IBF belt he already held with the Super WBA strap previously owned by Donaire. The Filipino, magnanimous though understandably disappointed, requested that he borrow the spectacular trophy for one day, to enable him to fulfil his word. Inoue generously complied.
Donaire posted a statement accompanied by a touching video of his two sons, Jarel (6) and Logan (4), thanking Inoue and offering their congratulations.
“First of all, I want to thank God for keeping me safe in that ring,” Donaire said. “My guardian angels for holding that shield up, that armor as strong as they could. To Ringstar Sports Richard Schaefer for believing me so much to get me into this tournament. You truly have had my back through this all and appreciate you. To Mr. Honda, Teiken, the hospitality you have shown to me, my family and team has been amazing. I could not thank you enough. To Kato’s Clinic, your support is unending. I can’t thank you enough for your belief in me. To Mizuno, thank you for suiting me up for such an epic fight. You have treated me like family here and always taken care of me. To Japan, thank you for allowing us the experience of your wonderful culture both in the ring and out. Team Donaire, we trained our asses off and we just shrugged off anyone who said I didn’t stand a chance. We kept grinding and that work showed. HATERS said I was out in 1 round but we showed em our heart, our determination. To my fans, the journey we are on! You guys have gone gone thru it all with me and the amount of energy and love you’ve given is insurmountable.
“Lastly, to my family, my heart. I am a warrior on my shield. I came to Japan to take the Muhammad Ali trophy. I promised my sons they would see it in the morning. And with tears in my eyes, I humbly asked Inoue to borrow it for a night, not for me but for my word. It’ll be a life lesson my boys will soon learn. That you do your best and you come short. You will win. You will lose. But in either aspect you will do so graciously. It’ll pain them to see my face. They’ll kiss my wounds. They’ll see a trophy we don’t get to take home and understand what it means to want to train harder. And I told about the battle I fought. That I’d rather put my life on that sheild than give up. And that we will ALWAYS fight.
“I’m going to take time with my friends and family that have traveled to support me for the coming weeks. I thank you for the outpour of love and support.”