The crowd at Saitama Super Arena was rocking as bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue put on a show-stopping performance in his home country. Thirty-one months after fighting to a controversial decision victory, Inoue was able to stop Nonito Donaire inside two rounds. With the win, Inoue secures the WBC Bantamweight Championship and sets himself up for a shot at the undisputed title.
Inoue was able to hurt Donaire early and often on Tuesday. He dropped Donaire with a right hand to close the first round. Minutes later, Donaire found himself in the corner as Inoue landed a three-punch combination that sent him to the canvas. Donaire was able to get to his feet, but the referee stopped before the action could continue.
“In the very first round, I received a left hook from Nonito, and that punch made me wake up and stay focused,” Inoue said after the fight, according to ESPN.
“To be able to reach my status up at the top I need to win this fight so I just decided … to finish this fight at this moment.”
Inoue has captured three-quarters of the bantamweight championships. Now, he has to lock in a fight with WBO Bantamweight Champion Paul Butler before he can become the division’s undisputed champion.
“Talks have been had about an undisputed fight and Inoue’s team want the fight to happen next before he looks on moving up, so that means this year,” Butler told DAZN about a potential fight with Inoue.
“Undisputed is everything to him and he can’t do that before he fights me. I’m desperate for the fight and I’m going to go over there and give it everything I’ve got because that’s what it’s going to take to beat a fighter like Inoue.”