Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire both made weight ahead of tomorrow’s WBSS Bantamweight Ali Trophy final at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
It’s the Japanese ‘Monster’ and the ‘Filipino Flash’ questing for the Greatest Prize in Boxing, the next man to enter the exclusive club of Ali Trophy winners.
Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs), IBF, WBA ‘Regular’ and Ring Magazine champion, 53.5kg /117.5 lbs:
“Official weigh-in is over and the only thing we can do is to get ready for fight night,” said Inoue after the weigh-in. “We are going to show the greatest fight ever. A victory will be a very satisfying moment for me and it will be a very big step for a bright future.”
Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs), WBC Diamond & WBA ‘Super’ World champion, 53.3 kg /117.5 lbs:
“It’s very special to me,” said Donaire. “It’s for the Muhammad Ali Trophy. It’s the best of the best. Everything a fighter wants to want is to become the best of the best. I’ve been through it all and this is for me another step towards becoming undisputed.
“It’s one of the top moments of my career and I get to fight in Japan. I’ve been here so many times and I love the place. The fans are incredible, the people are incredible.”
Inoue vs Donaire, WBSS Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final with the WBA ‘Super’, IBF & Ring Magazine World titles on the line will be shown live via DAZN in the U.S. and Sky Sports in the UK.
Inoue at final press conference: “I want to be the greatest of all time!”
‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) reveals GOAT ambition and vows to put on a career-best performance against Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) in Thursday’s WBSS Bantamweight Ali Trophy final at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
“A year ago this tournament started, a year later I am in the final against Nonito Donaire, and I am very grateful for that,” said 26-year-old Inoue at a jam-packed final press conference in Tokyo.
The IBF and Ring Magazine champion at 118 pounds told him he grew up being a fan of his Filipino counterpart.
“I’ve been watching Nonito’s fights even before I became professional, and he’s one of the fighters who I admire. I am truly proud of myself to be in the ring with him the day after tomorrow.”
The Muhammad Ali Trophy was on display on a plinth just on the right side of the Japanese superstar at the top table.
“It’s a beautiful trophy, I like the design,” said ‘The Monster’ about the ‘Greatest Prize in Boxing’ named after ‘The Greatest of All Time’. As if he was inspired by WBSS’s virtual ambassador he went on to say:
“The winner of this tournament will be crowned as the greatest of the division. I am representing Japan as a professional boxer and I will show the greatest performance of my career as an answer to all the exceptions here.
“The appeal of the WBSS is that we can decide who is the best in the division. I would like to be victorious, but I’m not stopping there. In the future, I want to be the greatest of all time!”
Said 36-year-old Nonito Donaire, the WBC Diamond and WBA ‘Super’ World Bantamweight champion, who has held multiple world championships in four weight classes:
“Naoya is the top fighter in the world pound-for-pound which is very exciting for me. But I trust in my ability, and I will be able to adapt to the situation.
“Fighting Naoya Inoue has given me motivation. I’ve accomplished so much, so I needed someone to motivate me. It’s brought back my youth again because I have to be at my best.
“Being in this tournament has been tremendous. All these young guys trying to prove themselves and weed out the old generation. But so far, I’ve proven I’m a wall that needs to be climbed, and it’s not an easy wall to climb.”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS: “Two weeks ago we witnessed what was potentially the Fight of the Year (WBSS 140-pound final – Josh Taylor MD 12 Regis Prograis) at The O2 in London, and this Thursday we have another fascinating final. Donaire, the old lion protecting his lair vs Inoue, the pound-for-pound king at the moment.”
The road to Saitama and the concluding bout in the bantamweight edition of Season II of the World Boxing Super Series:
Tournament No. 2 seed Inoue knocked out Juan Carlos Payano 70 seconds into their quarter-final and then stopped Emmanuel Rodriguez in round two of the semi as he blasted his way to the final contest for the coveted Ali Trophy.
Unseeded Donaire defeated No. 1 seed, Ryan Burnett, as he suffered a lower back injury and had to withdraw from their quarter-final, and then knocked out replacement Stephon Young in round five after Zolani Tete was ruled out of their semi due to a shoulder injury.
High expectations – Inoue & Donaire face-to-face in Tokyo
Japan’s ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) and legendary Filipino-American Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) met on Monday in Tokyo ahead of their showdown for the 118lb Ali Trophy at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on November 7.
“I recognize how important the WBSS final is to my career,” said 26-year-old Inoue, WBA ‘Regular’ and IBF World Bantamweight titlist. “And how important it will be for my career going forward. I am very aware there are high expectations of me from everyone.
“When this tournament started Nonito Donaire was the fighter I wanted to fight most. I am truly pleased that I am able to fight him in the final of this tournament. So, on November 7th I will give everything I have in this tournament final and attain the Ali Trophy.
“This fight is against Inoue who is one of the best fighters in the world,” said Donaire 36-year-old, WBC Diamond and WBA ‘Super’ World Bantamweight Champion. “To see where my career has been and what people have said about where I am and coming back to the division it inspires me, it motivates me, but most of all it excites me. This is where I wanna be.”
“It is going to be amazing to see the Ali Trophy be lifted by one of these sensational athletes,” adds Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of Comosa, the organiser of the World Boxing Super Series.
“On November 7 at the Saitama Super Arena, one of the largest indoor arenas in the world, it is the defining moment for the ‘Monster’ and ‘The Filipino Flash’. It is going to be a drama: The Drama in Saitama!”
Spectacular Inoue-Donaire Ali Trophy Final Set for November 7 in Saitama, Japan
Japan’s ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) and legendary Filipino-American Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) clash for the 118lb Ali Trophy at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on November 7.
Comosa AG, the organiser of the World Boxing Super Series, is delighted to travel to Japan for the bantamweight final.
“The Muhammad Ali Trophy and the best production in boxing arrive in the Land of the Rising Sun for a huge spectacle,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “Two bonafide superstars are going to find out who is the very best in the division and bring home the Ali Trophy.
“Inoue has proved why he is called the Monster, he is a freak of nature, his power from another planet, and the already iconic Donaire, who produced one of the knockouts of the year in his semi-final, is looking as strong as ever in the twilight of his career.
“What a duel, what a conclusion and what an arena. We simply can’t wait to see who of these gladiators will lift the Trophy on November 7!”
Inoue and Donaire have both impressed in the bantamweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series on their way to the final to fight for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Inoue has sent shockwaves throughout boxing and the wider world of sport with his quarter-final and semi-final performances. The three-weight champ, and current WBA ‘Regular’ and IBF World Bantamweight titlist was already a well-known name in boxing but has become almost a paranormal phenomenon in the quest for the greatest prize in boxing.
Late last year after his famous, electrifying jab-cross’ and ‘Gone in 70 seconds’ win over Juan Carlos Payano, the 26-year-old became the first Japanese national to occupy The Ring cover since the magazine’s foundation in 1922, and following a stunning second-round stoppage of Emmanuel Rodriguez in the semi-final he bolstered his reputation to the top of the pound-for-pound ranks.
The ‘Monster’s total fight time in the tournament is incredible 5 minutes and 29 seconds. Of Inoue’s 18 bouts, impressively 13 were for the world title, but his biggest test to date lies ahead in the shape of Nonito Donaire, the WBC Diamond and WBA ‘Super’ World Bantamweight Champion, who has held multiple world championships in four weight classes.
“I can’t wait for the final,” said Inoue. “Donaire is to me a legend in the sport of boxing, and I am honoured to be sharing the ring with him in the final. But I will do my very best to win against the legend to claim the Ali trophy.”
Said Mr. Ohashi, Inoue’s promoter: “Inoue is known as The Monster’ and Nonito Donaire is a legend in the sport. I have always felt these two were destined to fight in the ring. It will be a spectacular finale of a great tournament.”
Donaire won his quarter-final, as tournament No 1. seed Ryan Burnett was forced to retire from after four rounds of action due to a lower back injury. And the 36-year-old scored a stunning one-punch 6th round knockout of American Stephon Young in the semi-final; a devastating left hook put Young down and out – after the original opponent, Zolani Tete, had to pull out with a shoulder injury only days before the bout.
Donaire said before watching Inoue’s semi-final against Emmanuel Rodriguez: “Inoue has always supported me in this tournament and we have an unspoken thing that we wanted to face each other in the final.”
On November 7 at the Saitama Super Arena, one of the largest indoor arenas in the world, just north of Tokyo, it’s Judgement Day for the ‘Monster’ and ‘The Filipino Flash’.
“I am looking forward to the final in Japan and a great fight,“ said Donaire. “I have fought several world champions, and I will come well prepared. Inoue is an amazing fighter, but I saw flaws in his semi-final, and I think I can definitely create a game plan against him and win the Ali Trophy.”
Said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Ringstar Sports, Donaire’s promoter: “November 7 will be a monstrous night for boxing! They call Inoue ‘The Monster’ but Nonito Donaire is undefeated at bantamweight. He is the real Monster and will yet again show the world why he is a true legend of the sport!”
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