Inoue defeats Donaire in World Boxing Super Series final

Naoya Inoue lifts the Muhammad Ali trophy after win over Nonito Donaire

Naoya Inoue lifts the Muhammad Ali trophy after win over Nonito Donaire

Heading into the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final, the consensus was that top-pound-for-pound contender Naoya Inoue would make quick and easy work of Nonito Donaire and cement himself as one of the best fighters in the world.

It was clear from the start Inoue and Donaire respected each other's power because of how sharp and defensive they were, trying to avoid getting hit with a fight changing punch.

Naoya Inoue delivered perhaps the most impressive win of his professional career by overcoming four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire on points in Japan.

In round nine Donaire had his most pivotal moment when he stunned Inoue with a right hand that caused the Japanese puncher to try and hold on and survive.

With the decision hanging in the balance, Inoue stomped on the gas with the home fans cheering him on.

Finally in the 11th round, came the first knockdown of the fight, as Inoue landed a couple of big punches and eventually, scored with a left to the liver that staggered Donaire. He won the 10th round, again effectively scoring with the jab and the straight right hand, as it looked as though Donaire was wearing out.

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The punch nearly took the juice out of Donaire, who waited until referee Ernie Sharif's count reached nine before getting up.

"Donaire was a very, very strong opponent", Inoue, who improved to 19-0, said in the ring afterwards.

Veteran Donaire, who fell to 40-6 with the defeat, took a knee after absorbing a brutal blow to the body early in the penultimate round but continued until the final bell.

"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".

But at the end of the day, the Japanese star got the job done in winning a thrilling unanimous decision (114-113, 116-111, 117-109) to take the Muhammad Ali Trophy, retain his IBF championship and capture the WBA (super) title.

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