Back in November a WBC Bantamweight title eliminator between Luis Nery and Emmanuel Rodriguez fell through when Nery failed weight, again. The bout was supposed to decide the next mandatory challenger for WBC champion Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12).
Typically when a fighter misses weight for an eliminator the fighter who made weight gets the shot. After all they did what was asked, they were professional, and they did what they were supposed to do.
A recent example of this comes from 2016 when Ryosuke Iwasa [岩佐 亮佑] became the mandatory challenger for the IBF Super Bantamweight title after Luis Rosa failed to make weight. Fair enough, that was the IBF and not the WBC, but it doesn't make sense to make an innocent fight a double victim, missing out on a pay day and their world title shot.
Here however the WBC have taken a different choice, and instead of giving Rodriguez the shot they have decided to instead make Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) their new mandatory for Oubaali, as they explained below:
The WBC Board of Governors has voted unanimously to appoint Nonito Donaire as the WBC mandatory contender in the bantamweight division.
Whilst we are certainly not against a Donaire Vs Oubaali bout, and it is genuinely a good bout, we do need to question why the WBC have essentially punished Rodriguez for saying no to Nery. We suspect it's down to the fact they missed out on their sanctioning fees, but still makes it feel very much like they are the deck against certain fighters, fighters who are perhaps less financially rewarding than others.
Whilst we're going to enjoy the eventual bout between Oubaali and Donaire, and it gives our recent prediction (20 Predictions for 2020: PREDICTION number 10 - Nonito Donaire to win another world title!) a real boost it does seem unfair.
attendance at today's show in the Korakuen Hall, where he was sat next to former WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Despite the injuries and damage he really didn't look too banged up, bar the bandage over his right eye which was cut against Donaire.
Talking about WOWOW Inoue Vs Donaire was replayed on WOWOW today, which is what he was doing work for, and it really has been a hectic few days for the WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion, who has seemingly spoken to every part of the Japanese media since the bout on Thursday.
Yesterday's sensational bout between Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) has been widely described as one of the best fights of the year. The WBSS final that many though was going to be a mismatch, including ourselves, ended up being something very special, and that was shown not only in the ring but outside of it too.
It was, as previously reported, the first fight ever shown live in 8K and it was also a bout that did incredible numbers on terrestrial TV.
At the time of writing numbers for the second biggest region in Japan, the Kansai region who had the bout on Kansai TV, haven't been made available but the Fuji TV figures, for the Kanto region, have been released and they are impressive to say the least.
The average viewing figure from the Kanto region was 15.2% whilst the peak number from the region was 20.5%.
To put those numbers into estimates of the population, the average figure was around 6.5 million with a peak of approximately 8.7 million.
When Kansai's figures are added in, and Kansai's viewing rates do tend to be higher than that of Kanto, we would expect the average to be bumped to over 8 million and the peak to have been pushed over 12 million, though of course no numbers have been reported for the region, which includes Osaka.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Press Release - 7 November 2019
The Drama in Saitama! Inoue wins Ali Trophy after war with Donaire
Naoya Inoue overcame the heroic Nonito Donaire to claim a points victory to win the Ali Trophy in the bantamweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series in Saitama, Japan.
The three judges scored the bout 116-111, 117-109, 114-113 in favour of Inoue.
And what a drama it was.
Four weight champion Donaire opened a cut above Inoue's right eye with a left hook in the second round. The Filipino-American was then in control until the fifth when Japanese Inoue landed a right hook to the jaw, stunning the legend and seizing momentum.
But Inoue’s ‘Monster’ reputation as one of the planet’s most fearsome fighters was put in serious jeopardy in the ninth as Donaire rocked him with a sensational counter right, leaving his opponent reeling for the first time in his career.
In the closing rounds, Donaire took a knee after a body shot in the 11th, although he would bravely withstand to hear the final bell.
In respect of each other's epic performances, 26-year-old Inoue and 36-year-old Donaire embraced after their back-and-forth battle.
"Donaire was a very, very strong opponent," said Inoue, who also became the unified IBF and WBA bantamweight champion. "This is the first cut I have had in my career. I think Donaire is a true champion.
The Muhammad Ali Trophy was presented to Inoue by Japanese boxing legend Masahiko Harada better known as Fighting Harada, a former world champion in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions.
“Winning the Ali Trophy is the biggest thing so far in my career and I see a bright future in front of me. I am not the greatest of all time yet, but that is the goal.”
“We’ve seen ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’, ‘The Thriller in Manilla’ and now we have seen the ‘Drama in Saitama,” said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS.
“It was incredible. Just when you think it can’t get any better coming from the super-lightweight final with Prograis and Taylor at The O2 in London you fly over here … amazing fight week, 20,000 people at the Saitama Arena.
“This was the Fight of the Year. It was a very close fight. Hats off to Nonito Donaire and what can you say about Inoue, unbelievable. This fight for me, out of the live fights I’ve seen, is definitely the best I ever, ever seen. I’ve said it before, the World Boxing Super Series brings the best against the best. The boxing gods are smiling at us tonight.”
Muhammad Ali Trophy champions:
2018-19: Noya Inoue, Bantamweight
2018-19: Josh Taylor, Super-Lightweight
2017-18: Aleksandr Usyk, Cruiserweight
2017-18: Callum Smith, Super Middleweight
(Image courtesy of Naoki Fukuda)
Earlier today we saw an absolute fire cracker of a fighter as Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] out pointed Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) in a genuine Fight of the Year contender.
Following the bout a lot of things have happened, with the announcement that Top Rank have signed the "Monster", to Inoue himself speaking about the contest.
Inoue stated that Donaire was really strong, and explained that he had been cut twice in the second round. He spoke highly of Donaire before adding that he now wants to face off with WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12), who beat Naoya's brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真] in the show's chief support bout.
Among the many quotes given to the press after the fight from the WBSS winner were that he was. He stated the bout was "really fun", which it certainly was for the viewers. He also stated "Fighting Donaire was the best experience of my career", [Translated] stated that he had double vision from round 2 or 3.
It has also been revealed that he needed 5 stitches for the cut on his right eye.
Inoue also stated on social media that he was "proud of being able to fight Donaire" [Translated].
Hideyuki Ohashi, who has guided Inoue through his career so far, also seemed to take positives from the bout, “I think it was a battle that proved the toughness that everyone was worried about,” [Translated] and "I think this game was one of the most valuable wins,”[Translated]
Inoue was also confirmed to have signed with Top Rank, and stated that he would be devoted to having tough bouts under the Top Rank banner. It's been revealed that he is planning 3 bouts in 2020 with 2 of those taking place in the US and one in Japan.
The scorecards for the bout were also made public and left as many questions as answers. Such as what was Robert Hoyle watching in round 3 and 6, or how did Octavio Rodriguez give a 10-8 round in round 5 for Inoue.
Notably overall consensus scoring for the bout, which takes would have given a score of 116-111, the same as Luigi Boscarelli scorecard.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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