WBO and WBA champion Inoue defeats four-division champion Donaire in thrilling fight
Powerful 5’5” inch dynamo Naoya Inoue floored Nonito Donaire late en route to capturing a hard-fought unanimous decision at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan Thursday night.
Scores were 116-111, 117-109, and 114-113.
Maxboxing had Inoue winning the fight by a 116-111 tally.
The fight started quickly. Inoue jabbed to the body. Donaire circled and probed. Inoue connected with a sharp combination. Donaire fired his patented left hook. Inoue landed a hard-right hand.
Inoue continued to mix up his attack in round two. His left hook found Donaire’s chin. Donaire fought back with a classic one-two. Inoue, quicker, jabbed but ran into a short left hook. Inoue went back to his corner with blood dripping from a cut over his right eye.
Donaire pushed forward in round three. He stabbed Inoue with a hard left. Inoue was being forced back by the aggressive Donaire. Inoue landed a counter. Both fighters connected with solid shots at the bell. Donaire ‘s pressure was making Inoue uncomfortable.
Inoue landed a combination in round four. A hard right also found Donaire. Donaire absorbed the blow without incident and popped Inoue with a left.
The fight was even through four rounds. The 36-year-old Donaire was exceeding expectations. He looked calm and collected in his corner.
Inoue staggered Donaire with a left hook in round five. A big right also connected. Donaire missed with a sweeping right. A huge hook almost sent Donaire to the canvas.
In rounds six and seven, the faster Inoue looked to fire his right. He remained patient. Donaire was a step behind as he walked into a check hook, but still very dangerous. He stalked and looked to rock. A combination connected. Inoue fired a double jab. Donaire’s right was short, Inoue’s was not.
Inoue came out bouncing on his toes in round eight. Donaire stepped in and connected with a solid right. Inoue felt that one. Inoue fought back. Donaire clocked Inoue with another right. A short-left hook caused more crimson to flow from Inoue’s eye. Inoue did well in round nine, until Donaire rocked him again with a big right hand. Inoue looked shell-shocked. His nose was bleeding.
With three rounds to go, Inoue appeared to have the edge. Donaire, bruised around the eyes, stalked forward. Inoue came out aggressively in round 10. He forced Donaire into the ropes. Donaire snapped Inoue’s head back with a jab. He connected with a combination. Donaire looked buzzed at the end of the round.
Inoue let fly in round 11. He worked upstairs and down. A body shot sent Donaire stumbling away in pain. He took a knee and barely beat the count as Inoue came in for the kill. Donaire landed a big left hook that stopped Inoue in his tracks. Inoue hurt Donaire again at the bell.
In the 12th and final round, the fresher Inoue flashed combinations. Donaire was looking for one shot. Inoue cracked him with more rights. Somehow Donaire stayed up. Inoue kept punching. Donaire kept catching.