MANILA – Nonito Donaire Jr. tried his best to keep in step with Japanese fighter Naoya Inoue but still ended up suffering a unanimous decision defeat in the world bantamweight championship clash in Saitama, Japan.
With the victory on Thursday night, Inoue became successful in unifying the IBF and WBA world bantamweight championship in a bout that served as culmination for the World Boxing Super Series.
Donaire was the aggressor in the first four rounds. He opened a cut over Inoue’s right eye before making his nose bled.
The Japanese responded by dominating Donaire in the next four rounds.
Donaire regained his form in the eighth and ninth round. He staggered Inoue but the latter responded in the 10th before he floored the Filipino in the 11th frame with a left hook to the midsection.
The Filipino fighter made his last push in the 12th and final round but the Japanese did just enough to escape with a 114-113, 116-111 and 117-110 decision from the three judges.
The 36-year-old Donaire saw his record drop to 40-6-0 win-loss-draw ring record, including 26 stoppage wins, while the 26-year-old Inoue kept his unbeaten slate of 19-0-0 card with 16 wins by knockout./PN