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DRAMA IN SAITAMA: SUMIO YAMADA PHOTOS


PhilBoxing.com




Globe-trotting photographer Sumio Yamada captured some of dramatic moments of the 'Drama in Saitama' as the now unified IBF/WBA world bantamweight champion and winner of the World Boxing Super Series Muhammad Ali Trophy Naoya 'The Monster' Inoue prevailed over future Hall of Famer four division world champion Nonito Donaire Jnr in an enthralling encounter at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan Thursday night, Nov. 7.

The younger, faster and more powerful Inoue got the better of Donaire in the first half of the contest specially in the fifth round where the celebrated Japanese puncher beat the Filipino Flash to the punch almost at will. Judge Octavio Rodrigues of Panama scored the round 10-8 in favor of Inoue. Although Inoue was dominant, Donaire inflicted a cut above Inoue's right eyebrow in the second round that cause blood to pour at Inoue's face throughout the contest.






Donaire has his moments in the fight.

Donaire rallied in the 8th and in the 9th round, he staggered Inoue with a powerful overhand right. Inoue had to hold Donaire to survive the round. With his confidence back, Donaire was looking for an opening to finish his opponent in the championship rounds. Inoue, who had not gone beyond the 10th round since 2016, looked tired and ready for taking and appeared the fight had slipped from his hands.


Inoue delivers the left that drops Donaire.



But as fate would have it, it was the Inoue who turned the tables on the Filipino and came back strong to snatch all the remaining rounds highlighted by a vicious left to Donaire's body in the penultimate round that sent the former fighter of the year reeling to the canvas. It was a miracle Donaire was able to finish the fight on his feet.

The fight delivered as advertised and definitely should be considered as a candidate for the fight of the year. There was no shame in Donaire's loss even as many experts gave him little change to survive Inoue's powerful punches. For Inoue, 26, with his fast hands, power and skill, he will continue to become a terror in the bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions for years to come.


Inoue raises the Muhammad Ali trophy after Thursday's scintillating victory over Donaire.


The judges' scorecards.



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