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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 3 July, 2020

'Monster' Inoue lends Muhammad Ali Trophy to Donaire because he had promised it to his kids

‘With tears in my eyes, I humbly asked Inoue to borrow it for a night, not for me but for my word.’

Donaire's sons enjoy their time with the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Donaire's sons enjoy their time with the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

THEIR WORLD BOXING Super Series (WBSS) decider on Thursday afternoon Irish time will live long in the memory of viewers, but it seems the pugilistic class purveyed by the victorious Naoya Inoue and the gallant Nonito Donaire in the ring in Saitama, Japan, was replicated even on the safe side of the ropes long after the final bell sounded.

Japanese pound-for-pound star Inoue might be ‘The Monster’ when he dons the mitts, but he showed a more forgiving side following his defeat of ‘The Filipino Flash’, who before their fight had promised his children that he would bring home to them the Muhammad Ali Trophy — the cup awarded to the winner of the WBSS.

Donaire, 10 years Inoue’s senior at 36 and one of boxing’s consensus good guys, rolled back the years even in suffering a sixth career defeat: the four-time world champion was given only a puncher’s chance by most against the feared and nuclear-fisted ‘Monster’ but somehow survived an 11th-round body-shot knockdown to see the final bell, rocking Inoue on several occasions in what was a humdinger.

japan-boxing-inoue-donaire Donaire (L) and Inoue exchange.

japan-boxing-inoue-donaire Inoue lifts the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Source: Toru Takahashi

Donaire fell short on the judges’ scorecards, though, and so the spoils — including the Muhammad Ali Trophy — went to the 19-0(16KOs) Inoue who cemented his position as one of the sport’s rising stars with a rip-roaring display.

But in an emotional Twitter threat posted some hours after their contest, Donaire revealed that he fought back tears and “humbly” asked his Japanese rival if he could borrow the trophy for the night so that he could keep a promise to his children — that they would see it when they awoke the following morning.

Inoue, who also retained his IBF bantamweight world title and took Donaire’s WBA equivalent in victory, duly obliged.

“Lastly, to my family, my heart,” Donaire wrote at the end of his series of tweets. “I am a warrior on my shield. I came to Japan to take the Muhammad Ali Trophy. I promised my sons they would see it in the morning. And with tears in my eyes, I humbly asked Inoue to borrow it for a night, not for me but for my word.

It’ll be a life lesson my boys will soon learn. That you do your best and you come short. You will win. You will lose. But in either aspect you will do so graciously. It’ll pain them to see my face. They’ll kiss my wounds. They’ll see a trophy we don’t get to take home and understand what it means to want to train harder.

“And I told about the battle I fought. That I’d rather put my life on that sheild than give up. And that we will ALWAYS fight.”

In a video posted to his Twitter account, Donaire’s sons thanked “Mr Inoue” and congratulated their father’s opponent on his victory.

“First of all, I want to thank God for keeping me safe in that ring,” Donaire had previously written. “My guardian angels for holding that shield up, that armor as strong as they could.

“To Japan, thank you for allowing us the experience of your wonderful culture both in the ring and out. Team Donaire, we trained our asses off and we just shrugged off anyone who said I didn’t stand a chance.

“We kept grinding and that work showed. HATERS said I was out in 1 round but we showed em our heart, our determination. To my fans, the journey we are on! You guys have gone thru it all with me and the amount of energy and love you’ve given is insurmountable.”

Bloodied ‘Monster’ Inoue overcomes legend Donaire in modern classic

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