Gutsy Nonito Donaire Jr. drops decision to Naoya Inoue

Naoya Inoue of Japan celebrates his win over Nonito Donaire of Philippines after their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama

Naoya Inoue of Japan celebrates his win over Nonito Donaire of Philippines

Inoue's accuracy (36% overall, 33% jabs, 40% power) was excellent, as was his jab (28 attempts/9.2 connects per round to Donaire's 27.4/3.5) and far quicker footwork, but the almost 37-year-old Donaire still landed 36% of his power punches and acquitted himself far better than most expected. Bad Left Hook had it 115-112 for the 26-year-old Inoue, who showed he can go the distance in a truly tough battle.

However, Inoue had to beat Donaire, who many expected to "humanize" him, to get the deal.

But that contract was contingent on Inoue, the No. 1 seed in the World Boxing Super Series, prevailing against the old war horse and four-division world titleholder Donaire, who was unseeded. Donaire fell back onto the ropes and absorbed punishing power punches as Inoue proceeded to load up with heavy shots. I have to get stronger.

Naoya Inoue won a unanimous decision against Philippines Nonito Donaire in the 12-round World Boxing Super Series' bantamweight bout at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Thursday.

Inoue was bruised above his right eye during the second round courtesy of a Donaire blow.

The judges had it 117-109, 116-111 and 114-113 for Inoue, who also won the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy as the victor of the eight-man World Boxing Super Series. At the end of a pulsating fight of the year contender, Inoue's hand was raised with scored of 111-116, 113-114, 109-117. "He's very strong. I was victorious, but I'm not the greatest of all time yet".

Inoue wins the Muhammad Ali trophy, millions of dollars, and was then a confirmed signing at Top Rank, a massive promotional organisation headquartered in Las Vegas. Donaire continued his momentum in the ninth round, rocking Inoue with a massive overhand right that almost floored him.

The eleventh round had Inoue almost stopping Donaire with a vicious body shot that had him forced to take a knee and try to recover.

Now Tete wants the opportunity to fight Inoue to unify 118-pound world titles that he believes he had a good chance of getting had he not suffered the injury and withdrawn from the tournament. The plan is for him to come to the USA for two fights in a row in 2020 before a trip back to Japan for a third fight later next year.

On Inoue's deal with Top Rank, Sauerland added: "It's great to see that the WBSS has given Inoue this audience during this previous year and I wish him all the success now and in the United States as well".

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