The first fight between Naoya Inoue y Nonito Donaire (2019) is considered one of the best of the last decade. This Tuesday, in Saitama, both had their revenge. A great show was expected, it was, and not even two rounds were consumed. The 29-year-old Japanese knocked out Donaire in 276 seconds. It was a whirlwind that the Filipino legend (39 years old) was not able to stop. With this resounding victory, Inoue unifies the WBC, WBA and IBF Bantamweight World Championships and rises to number one in many of the pound-for-pound rankings. The Japanese is world champion in three different divisions (light fly, super fly and bantamweight), won the World Boxing Super Series at 118 pounds, is undefeated in 23 fights (19 kO) and has a shot at unifying his current weight. Those lists are very personal, but with Canelo’s defeat, Terence Crawford’s inactivity in 2022 (he will fight Spence in the summer) and such an impressive victory he has earned that place.
The combat began vibrant. The first round was a study, but in the way of Inoue and Donaire. They both stood at medium-short distance and began shooting. The Japanese finished with 56% of the blows connected and the Filipino with 44%, impressive. The Japanese came clearer, but a straight right made the Filipino overturn. The fight was even, but in the end they decided to cross blows and with a clear right hand Donaire went to the ground. The bell saved the legend, who came out brave… but he was too tired for the second round. Inoue’s reception was a very hard crochet. He continued with a cascade of blows. Donaire, drawing on experience, wrinkled himself and waited for his moment, but he was not going to arrive. Every time the local connected him his legs shook.
Donaire’s courage is well known, which is why he tried to command. He put Inoue against the ropes and the Japanese just had to wait. With a half-flying and dry left he put Nonito on his rag legs, who barely managed to go to the other corner. With his back on the ropes (he was backing up and taking hits), Inoue threw a right hand that culminated in a crochet that sent the Filipino to the canvas.. The fight ended there, there was a spectacle, but it didn’t last long. Inoue was the ‘Monster’ as always, Donaire couldn’t stop him this time. The apprentice doctored himself again before the professor.