After the most painful and damaging fight of his life, Naoya Inoue, unified bantamweight champion made it look easy in his rematch with Nonito Donaire on Tuesday morning in Japan.
Inoue (23-0-20 KOs), unified Donaire’s WBC title at 118 pounds with his WBA and IBF belts. He continued his claim for the pound-for-pound world champion after a sensational second-round TKO at Saitama Super Arena, Japan.
Inoue and Donaire met again in 2019, but this time Inoue battled through broken noses and orbital bones to defeat Donaire in a unified bout that was the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Although Donaire, 39 years old, won a pair of resurgent wins to regain his world title in 2021, he was still a weak fighter against Inoue's destructive force.
Donaire spoke through a translator, "It was two and seven months ago, when I fought against Nonito Donaire in the WBSS final. And came back here at this same venue." "I received Nonito's left hook in the first round. That punch made me a lot more awake for the rest.
Inoue, the 29 year-old three-division champion, was able to absorb Donaire's power in the first round, before landing a right-cross of his own that landed the Filipino legend.
Inoue stated, "I saw the video [of fight] and I knew that this punch would be the one."
Inoue, who had just won a trio of knockouts, continued to fight with confidence in the second round. Donaire, 39 years old, was thrown off balance by Inoue with a left hook. Donaire continued to be hurt with his right hands until Inoue used a second left hook to make Donaire look like he was ready for the next round.
Donaire was hit with another left hook, and Michael Griffin, referee, immediately stopped the fight at 1:24.
Inoue expressed his hopes of further unifying titles at 118 pound, which could be in the form of a championship bout against John Riel Casimero (current WBO titleholder), who was originally scheduled to face Donaire in a 2021 Unification fight. Unfortunately, the fight fell apart.
Donaire (42-7 and 28 KOs), won titles in four divisions, and was ranked among the top three pound for pound since 2013. He has experienced an inspiring resurgence over the years, despite multiple defeats at 122 pounds and 126 pounds.