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Bloodied 'Monster' Inoue overcomes legend Donaire in modern classic

Four-weight world champion Donaire gave the feared young champion plenty of scares in a thriller.

Inoue celebrates in the ring.
Inoue celebrates in the ring.

NAOYA ‘MONSTER’ INOUE has won the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight edition after prevailing in a war with four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire to earn a unanimous-decision victory in Japan.

Inoue, a pound-for-pound contender, raised the Muhammad Ali trophy and walked away with the IBF and WBA belts following a modern classic which was deservedly awarded in his favour on scores of 116-111, 117-109 and 114-113.

Veteran Donaire, a future Hall of Famer and consensus nice guy, took a knee after absorbing a brutal blow to the body early in the penultimate round but somehow continued until the final bell. 10 years older than Inoue at 36, Donaire at times rolled back the years, rocking the feared young champion on several occasions throughout the contest.

japan-boxing-inoue-donaire Donaire lands a left hook on Inoue. Source: Toru Takahashi

Inoue, who moves to 19-0(16KOs), sustained a deep cut above his left eye early in the fight and had to contend with blood pouring from the wound for the final four rounds. He was also bloodied to the nose, Donaire’s straight right hand and famed left hook finding their mark plenty.

“Donaire was a very, very strong opponent,” Inoue said in the ring afterwards.

“This is my first cut in my career and I had double vision since the second round, but I was victorious. I am so happy. I believe I have a bright future.

“I think Donaire was a true champion. He’s very strong and I was victorious but I’m not the greatest of all time yet.

“I think I have to get stronger. I will keep fighting, I want to be the strongest of all time.”

Inoue started to take control of the bout in the fifth round when he rocked his opponent with an overhand right, though he appeared in trouble in the eighth.

A counter right-hand from Donaire left Inoue wobbling, yet he recovered and soon started to deliver his combinations.

japan-boxing-inoue-donaire Inoue prepares to unleash. Source: Toru Takahashi

The end appeared nigh in an extraordinary 11th round when a piercing left hand to the body left Donaire distressed, and then down; he reluctantly took a knee, beating the 10-count by less than a second.

Despite being barely able to move, Donaire saw out that round – incredibly rocking Inoue with a nuclear left hook as he was himself half-folded over in pain.

Donaire was still standing when the final bell rang and played his part in a fight which earned rave reviews on social media, but Inoue was the clear victor when it went to the cards.

- Omni, with reporting from Gavan Casey

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