WBSS: Naoya Inoue defeats Nonito Donaire on points to win World Boxing Super Series final
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 07/11/19 2:45pm
Naoya Inoue overcame the courageous Nonito Donaire to claim a points victory as he unified two world bantamweight belts in the World Boxing Super Series final.
The Japanese fighter's fearsome reputation and unbeaten record were at risk when Donaire mounted a defiant late assault, but the badly cut Inoue then blasted the Filipino to the canvas to seal a unanimous decision with scores of 116-111, 117-109 and 114-113 in Japan.
In an exciting opening, Donaire tried to force Inoue onto the back foot with early aggression, and there were roars from the crowd as both fighters traded fierce shots at the Super Arena in Saitama.
Inoue quickly demonstrated the power that earned his 'Monster' nickname, knocking Donaire off balance in the second.
But the battle-hardened veteran refused to be budged as he unloaded a fizzing combination in the third, while Inoue was left with a gaping cut over his right eye and a bleeding nose following more accurate work from Donaire in the fourth.
The home fighter exploded into life in the fifth, stiffening the legs of Donaire with a big right hand, and continued to blast away at his opponent's defences in the sixth and seventh.
Donaire stubbornly refused to wilt, answering with stiff punches of his own and seemed on the brink of a massive upset when he fired in a booming right hand in the eighth to wobble Inoue, who was hurt by the same spiteful punch in the ninth.
With his esteemed status in peril, Inoue launches a ferocious rally in the closing rounds and Donaire was floored by a body shot in the 11th, although he would withstand more punishment to hear the final bell.
"I had double vision since the second round," said Inoue, after adding the WBA 'super' belt to his IBF title.
"I'm so happy and proud of myself. I think Donaire was a true champion, he was very strong."
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