Inoue Wins Ali Trophy After War With Donaire
Photos: Naoki Fukuda
Naoya Inoue overcame the heroic Nonito Donaire to claim
a points victory to win the Ali Trophy in the
bantamweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series in
The three judges scored the bout 116-111, 117-109,
114-113 in favour of Inoue.
And what a drama it was.
Four weight champion Donaire opened a cut above Inoue's
right eye with a left hook in the second round. The
Filipino-American was then in control until the fifth
when Japanese Inoue landed a right hook to the jaw,
stunning the legend and seizing momentum.
But Inoue’s ‘Monster’ reputation as one of the planet’s
most fearsome fighters was put in serious jeopardy in
the ninth as Donaire rocked him with a sensational
counter right, leaving his opponent reeling for the
first time in his career.
In the closing rounds, Donaire took a knee after a body
shot in the 11th, although he would bravely withstand to
hear the final bell.
In respect of each other's epic performances,
26-year-old Inoue and 36-year-old Donaire embraced after
their back-and-forth battle.
"Donaire was a very, very strong opponent," said Inoue,
who also became the unified IBF and WBA bantamweight
champion. "This is the first cut I have had in my
career. I think Donaire is a true champion.
The Muhammad Ali Trophy was presented to Inoue by
Japanese boxing legend Masahiko Harada better known as
Fighting Harada, a former world champion in the
flyweight and bantamweight divisions.
“Winning the Ali Trophy is the biggest thing so far in
my career and I see a bright future in front of me. I am
not the greatest of all time yet, but that is the goal.”
“We’ve seen ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’, ‘The Thriller in
Manilla’ and now we have seen the ‘Drama in Saitama,”
said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS.
“It was incredible. Just when you think it can’t get any
better coming from the super-lightweight final with
Prograis and Taylor at The O2 in London you fly over
here … amazing fight week, 20,000 people at the Saitama
“This was the Fight of the Year. It was a very close
fight. Hats off to Nonito Donaire and what can you say
about Inoue, unbelievable. This fight for me, out of the
live fights I’ve seen, is definitely the best I ever,
ever seen. I’ve said it before, the World Boxing Super
Series brings the best against the best. The boxing gods
are smiling at us tonight.”