TOKYO, Japan – Nava Ino and Nanito Donier created a stone-cold bantamweight boxing classic while fighting in Japan in 2019, and the pair promise more in Tuesday’s much-anticipated sequel.
Japan’s “Monster” Ino and “Filipino Flash” Donier will reunite for the unification fight in Saitama where the undefeated Ino’s WBA and IBF world titles and Donaire’s WBC belt will be seen on the line.
When the two met at the same venue in November 2019, Inoi claimed victory by a unanimous vote, voted the best fight of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
In the 11th round, Ino recovered from an early fractured eye socket and double vision on the floor of the experienced donor of the Philippines and walked away with the World Boxing Super Series trophy.
This is the first time that Enoch, a fierce-punch hitter, has been severely tested in his career and he has since gone from strength to strength.
He is unbeaten in his 22 bouts, has won 19 by knockout and is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in world boxing.
The 39-year-old Donner returned from defeat to become the oldest world champion at 118 pounds (53.52 kg) when he lost to Nordin Obali for the WBC Bantamweight title in May last year.
Donner, who has won nine world title belts in four weight categories in his 21-year professional career, told reporters this week that his first fight against Inoy “felt like an awakening.”
“Since the last fight against Inoy, I’ve changed everything to become stronger – my diet, my training, my mind set, everything,” said Donner, who defended his title by beating Filipino Remart Gaballo in December.
“Now I have a strong desire to win.”
Donaire says his “goal” is to combine four major bantamweight belts, with Inoue and Britain’s WBO interim champion Paul Butler standing in his way.
Inoue has the same goal and wants to achieve it before the end of the year.
The 29-year-old Ino’s latest fight was a stop in the eighth round of Thai Aran Dipen in Tokyo in December.
“It’s going to end without touching me,” he told reporters, determined to make Tuesday’s fight against Donner more one-sided than their last.
“I think Donner could retire if he loses,” Inoi told reporters.
“People say Donner can still do business, but it won’t be a fight.”
Dismissing the tagline “Drama in Saitama” by Inoi Bout, he said, “There will be no drama this time.”
But Donner showed in December that he still packs a punch, knocking out Gabalo in a fourth-round lightning body shot to take his record to 42-6 with 28 KOs.
Donner is now the face of boxing in the Philippines, after spending years in the shadow of the recently retired Manny Pacquiao, and he is enjoying a resurgence towards the end of his career.
A favorite and popular figure outside the ring, he made an immediate impression of his favorite “Dragon Ball” anime character with Japanese journalists earlier this week.
He said the fight would be “a lot of fun”, and he refused to have any negative thoughts about fighting the man nicknamed “Monster”.
“I’m undisputed – whatever goes into my head, whatever goes into my meditation,” Donner said.
“It simply came to our notice then. I am the best, I am the champion, I am undisputed. “
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