Gritty Donaire falls to Inoue in bantamweight title showdown
Japan's Naoya Inoue outpointed Nonito Donaire Jr. in their bantamweight title unification.

Gritty Donaire falls to Inoue in bantamweight title showdown

Dino Maragay (Philstar.com) - November 7, 2019 - 9:53pm

MANILA, Philippines - Nonito Donaire Jr. displayed tremendous heart in losing a unanimous decision to Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue in their bantamweight title unification bout Thursday at the Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan.

Donaire, who entered the bout as the WBA 118-pound champion, got up from an 11th round knockdown and hung on for dear life to survive the fight, which saw him giving the undefeated Inoue a stiff test throughout.

Scores were 116-111, 114-113 and 117-109 for Inoue, who unified the IBF and WBA bantamweight championships.

The 26-year-old local star, whose 16 of 19 victories ended up in knockouts, suffered a cut in his right eyelid and a busted nose thanks to Donaire, who at 37 years old showed that he could still give a good fight.

But Inoue proved to be the superior fighter with his power punching and overall aggressivness to dominate Donaire, who has held titles at flyweight, super flyweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. He sent Donaire stumbling with a body shot in the 11th round and seemed poised to take Filipino out.

Donaire, however, managed to beat the count and even rocked Inoue with a haymaker in a fine display of heart. 

With the win, Inoue improved to 19-0, with 16 knockouts. Donaire, meanwhile, fell to 40-6, with 26 KOs.

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