Donaire falls to Japanese champ, fails in world title defense

Naoya Inoue of Japan and Nonito Donaire of Philippines fight in their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama

Naoya Inoue became unified world bantamweight champion and secured the World Boxing Super Series with a thrilling win over Nonito Donaire.

Inoue and Donaire had a feeling out process in the opening round.

Inoue, who stunned Donaire with a hook in the fifth, scored the fight's only knockdown with a delayed-action hook to the body in the 11th, and in the final three rounds Inoue led 82-34 overall, 33-12 jabs and 49-22 power to extend his final leads to 227-141 overall, 111-42 jabs and 116-99 power.

Inoue, holder of the International Boxing Federation crown, was cut as early as the second round when a Donaire left hook caused some damage but his corner did a wonderful job containing it.

But the battle-hardened veteran refused to be budged as he unloaded a fizzing combination in the third, while Inoue was left with a gaping cut over his right eye and a bleeding nose following more accurate work from Donaire in the fourth. That changed in the 11th when Inoue landed a vicious left hook to the body to force Donaire to take a knee. Realizing he was trouble, Inoue held on to Donaire to make it through the rest of the round.

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"I'm so happy and proud of myself". Donaire, who may be close to retirement now, had won the WBA belt in the quarterfinals a year ago and then successfully defended it in April over Stephon Young by 6th round KO in Lafayette, Louisiana.

In the twelfth and final round Inoue tried to finish the show knowing his opponent was hurt bad from the last round, but Donaire didn't go down from any of the power shots landed by Inoue and made it to the final bell. I think I have to go over [the fight] and get stronger.

In addition to the prestige of the Muhammad Ali Trophy, Inoue also collects over a $1 million purse bonus for having captured the WBSS championship. "I will keep fighting, and I want to be the strongest of all time".

Donaire's loss left the Philippines with just three world champions in Manny Pacquiao, Jerwin Ancajas and Pedro Taduran.

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