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Video: Naoya Inoue beats Nonito Donaire in back and forth FOTY contender

Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire put on a show in the WBSS bantamweight final.

Thursday night in Saitama, Japan, Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire put on a tremendous show for boxing fans. In the finals of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament, the pair slugged it out for the full 12 rounds, with the 26-year-old Japanese star winning a well deserved unanimous decision.

The official scores were 116-111, 117-109 and 114-113, all for Inoue, but the scorecards don’t really tell the full story of the spectacular fight these two put on.

Inoue seemed to have a significant speed and power advantage early on, winning most of the exchanges in the opening rounds. Donaire though, kept it interesting all throughout and had his moments as he constantly pressured his younger foe and landed big bombs of his own.

In the eight and ninth rounds, Donaire landed big shots that visibly cut, wobbled and hurt Inoue, testing the mettle of the Japanese champion. The Filipino boxing legend tried to finish and secure the upset, but Inoue survived and eventually managed to land a massive liver shot in the 11th.

Donaire was put down by the big body shot, but he beat the count, showed some heart, and still made it a firefight up until the final bell. The Filipino underdog seemed to have won over even the local Japanese crowd, but in the end, the rightful winner in Inoue took the unanimous decision.

The Japanese knockout artist was thoroughly tested by a future hall-of-famer, and went to a decision for only the second time in his career. After this impressive and highly entertaining match, Inoue now goes home with the WBA, IBF and Ring bantamweight titles, as well as the WBSS Muhammad Ali Trophy.

The 26-year-old improved his undefeated record to 19-0. The four-division champion in Donaire on the other hand, drops his overall record to 40-6.

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