Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire put on a show in their first contest, and it seems like we could be on our way to seeing a rematch of the 2019 Fight of the Year.
According to Donaire’s promoter Richard Schaefer, he is currently in negotiations to have the bout happen this April. Schaefer also stated that they’re also looking to have it staged again in Inoue’s home country of Japan.
“We don’t have a problem going to Japan. Donaire has the balls to go into the lion’s den again. This is one of the biggest fights you can make in the sport,” Schaefer told Boxing Scene. “I can’t speak on behalf of Inoue, but I know that’s the fight he wants as well. I’ve always believed that when there is a big fight to be made, you make it – and this is a big fight. I am going to exhaust every resource and will not leave any stone unturned to pull off this fight. This is what Nonito and the fight fans want. We as a sport need to deliver it. I believe we’ll get it done.”
To make the bout happen, Schaefer will have to work with Aikihiko Honda of Teiken Promotions, as well as Top Rank, who co-promotes Inoue as well. Hosting the card in Japan will also depend on travel restrictions, with the country tightening its borders due to the Omicron variant.
The 28-year-old Inoue has won all 22 of his fights, and is considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the sport today. Since his bout with Donaire, he has won three straight bouts, which all ended in knockouts.
Donaire, a four-division world champ and surefire hall-of-famer, has had a career resurgence as of late, making history to become the oldest bantamweight champion at 39-years-old. He currently holds the WBC bantamweight belt, and is coming off back-to-back KO wins in 2021 over Nordine Oubaali and Reymart Gaballo.
The Filipino superstar has won four of his last five bouts, with that one defeat being a decision loss in his Fight of the Year with Inoue.