It appears there’s no stopping this “monster” from conquering the boxing world. No, not even Filipino fighter Nonito Donaire, who has been considered as one of boxing’s all-time greats.
Naoya Inoue, the 26-year-old Japanese boxer known as “the Monster,” was indeed an absolute beast when he outshone a world-class Donaire in what came down as a modern boxing classic at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Thursday.
Inoue concludes the bantamweight World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) season with the memorable win which left him with an unblemished record of 18 wins (15 of which from KOs) and 0 losses.
The hard-fought and well-earned victory has been dubbed by pundits as Inoue’s career-defining bout that would set him for global superstardom. According to Business Insider, the win also granted the Japanese rising star with millions of dollars, IBF bantamweight world title, Donaire’s WBA belt, and the Muhammad Ali trophy.
It was also revealed that Inoue has signed a deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, one of boxing world’s biggest promoters. Top Rank will co-promote his bouts with Ohashi Promotions on the ESPN family of networks.
“Naoya Inoue is a generational talent, the sort of fighter who comes around once a decade,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum in a statement. “He is already a superstar in Japan, and he will be major star stateside in no time. You are looking at an all-time great who is entering the prime of what will be a historic career.”
Donaire, a former four-weight world champion, started the fight in his usual blazing fast speed and punching power that earned him the moniker “The Filipino Flash.” During the fight, Inoue sustained a bloody nose and a terrible cut on his eyelid which also leaked blood into his eye but was able to overcome it to give the 36-year-old fighter from the Philippines a crushing loss.
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Inoue’s mettle was tested at one crucial point in the ninth round when Donaire landed a powerful straight right. The younger fighter took the blow but persisted until he ultimately gained the upper hand. A flurry of punches left Donaire obviously hurt late in the 10th round, and then in the 11th, Inoue’s left hook to the body dropped Donaire.
Donaire was able to stand up after that but it was already clear who had won, with the ringside judges scoring the bout 116-111, 117-109, and 114-113 in favor of Inoue. Donaire, whose brilliant career may eventually land him on the Boxing Hall of Fame, now has 6 losses against 40 wins (26 by KO).
Meanwhile, Inoue’s multi-year promotional agreement with Top Rank will take his talent to the United States with a planned bout in early 2020.
“It is a tremendous honor to sign with Top Rank and to showcase my talents on ESPN,” Inoue was quoted as saying. “I look forward to 2020. I’ve fought in America once before, and I look forward to doing so again in the very near future.”
Featured image via @naoyainoue_410