Inoue, Donaire: We are ready to rumble

By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda

Who stopped the WBSS event organizer Kalle Sauerland’s record-making long and enthusiastic speech on Tuesday that would almost break the late Don Jose Sulaiman’s great one-hour speech here in Japan? Kalle’s speech pitifully just lasted fifteen minutes, which, however, might be too long for a pretty Japanese translator to completely follow and put it into Japanese. To make it short, this reporter describes the most important at first.

The weigh-in ceremony of the world bantamweight twinbill took place on Wednesday at the Grand Palace Hotel and the results were as follows:
Worldtitletwinbill02
WBA/IBF world bantamweight title bout
Naoya Inoue 118 lbs/53.5 kg
Nonito Donaire 117.5 lbs/53.3 kg
Worldtitletwinbill19
WBC world bantamweight title bout
Nordine Oubaali 117.5 lbs/53.3 kg
Takuma Inoue 118 lbs/53.5 kg

On Tuesday, we saw a great press conference with many press people and television people in attendance.

At first, the officials that would cover the title goes were announced as follows:

WBA/IBF bantamweight title bout
Referee Ernest Sharif (US); judges Robert Hoyle (US), Octavio Rodriguez (Panama), Luigi Boscarelli (Italy); supervisor IBF Ben Keilty (Australia), WBA Tsuyoshi Yasukochi (Japan)

WBC bantamweight title bout
Referee Len Koivisto (Canada); judges David Sutherland (US), Alejandro Rochin (Mexico), Jun-Bae Lim (Korea); supervisor Miguel De Pablos (Spain)

Hereby summarized/abbreviated are speeches of the attendants at the press conference on Tuesday.

Kalle Sauerland: The best will win. Naoya Inoue is a rising star and pound-for-pound great boxer to compared with Canelo and Lomachenko. Also, Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire is a great champion who must be competitive with “Monster” Naoya, and we are looking forward to watching a great confrontation.

Naoya Inoue: Since before I turned professional, I kept watching Donaire and always had him in my mind. I respect him and hope to follow his great footsteps. But it’s time for a change of generation. By defeating him I hope to see a bright future in front of me. It will be a breakthrough for all Japanese boxers that I finally dominate the WBSS tournament.

Nonito Donaire: The ring is my home. I will show my real power wherever I may fight. I have fought many great boxers, but Naoya must be the very best of my all opponents. I wish to be a wall to prevent him from achieving a change of generation.

Nordine Oubaali: I would like to prove that I’m the No.1 bantamweight in the WBC bantamweight category. Takuma hasn’t fought such a strong opposition as me. I’ll show my strength over him.

Takuma Inoue (the younger brother of Naoya): I just wish to do my boxing. By doing so I will be victorious without doubt. I wish to do a baton passing to Naoya with my victory in the semi-final bout. I hope to see a couple of victories by us, our brothers.

In Japan, our television watchers will see the doubleheader live from 7:57PM through Fuji Television on Thursday. It will be shown through DAZN abroad.


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  • I got a feeling this may be the last “hoorah” for Donaire if he is beat convincingly. He really has nothing left to prove in boxing except making more money. He has lived that life of being on top and his is not getting any younger. If he wins, hats off to him.

  • have no idea with Donaire is still fighting these young lions like this the man has nothing to prove and is only risking his health what good is the money if you dont have the brains left inside to be able to count it?

    I would love to see an upset but that would only be followed by another risky fight. I hope to see an upset and Donaire to announce retirement but that isnt going to happen.

    Inoue inside of 4 too much power too much speed too much youth.

  • Donaire’s tank is flashing empty, only left on him is legendary left hand and the experience of better days. Definitely he is a diminished fighter against a ruthless and powerful freak of nature. No room at all for an upset in here, if Nonito is able to reach the final belt it could be a great achievement, but I don’t see that, rather a brutal 4 to 5 rounds beating.
    I think next for Inoue will be Nordine Oubaali, who is going to defeat his brother Takuma, maybe by late stoppage or wide margin UD.

  • Kind of funny seeing Inoue right where Donaire was years ago when he was getting compared to Paq-Man. It’s almost like watching the circle of life with Donaire likely going down hard in this one. Wouldn’t be surprised to see an early stoppage if there is an opportunity for one out of respect and to protect the aged Champ.

  • Donaire is always a live dog but one has to like Inoue at this point. The guy has extreme potential. The only thing I see preventing him from winning would be over-confidence.

  • Inoue is my p4p #1 if he disposes of Donaire quickly, but I hope Nonito doesn’t go out embarrassingly. He is a first-ballot hall-of-famer teetering on ATG status. If he somehow pulls this off he will be a legitimate ATG.

  • I don’t see Donaire doing much here. He caught a couple of breaks to get this pay day with Burnett’s injury and Tete’s injury. I give Donaire credit for cutting weight and going back down to a more natural division late in his career. Just Donaire hasn’t impressed in quite awhile and Inoue is on fire right now

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