Donaire Jr. to face Inoue in unification rematch

FILIPINO superstar Nonito Donaire Jr. faces Japanese icon Naoya Inoue in a world title unification rematch on June 7, 2022 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.Donaire Jr. and Inoue fought for the first time in 2019 in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) Bantamweight Tournament at the Saitama Arena. Donaire Jr. came into the finals with the World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight title around his waist. He beat Ryan Burnett and replacement Stephon Young to earn his finals spot.Inoue, on the other hand, came into the fight as the International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight king. He beat Juan Carlos Payano in the quarterfinals and Emmanuel Rodriguez in the semifinals.Inoue defeated Donaire Jr. by unanimous decision with scores of 117-109, 116-111 and 114-113. Donaire Jr., despite being knocked down in the 11th round with a body shot, gave Inoue a run for his money and even opened a cut above his right eye with a punch. The fight was named by The Ring Magazine as the “Fight of the Year” for 2019.Following the loss, Donaire Jr. was sidelined for more than a year. The layoff would prove well for Donaire Jr. as he had a resurgence of his career even though he was already 38 years old.Donaire Jr. dethroned previously unbeaten Nordine Oubaali via a brutal fourth round knockout to claim the World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight strap in 2021 in Carson, California.Donaire Jr. successfully defended the WBC belt with a fourth round knockout of compatriot Reymart Gaballo that same year in the same venue.Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Inoue continued his monstrous run and successfully defended his WBA and IBF belts with knockout wins over Jason Moloney, Pinoy Michael Dasmariñas and Aran Dipaen.Donaire Jr. is 42-6 with 28 knockouts, while Inoue is 22-0 with 19 knockouts.The winner of this fight will be a fight away from becoming the undisputed champion in the bantamweight division.The other bantamweight world champion is Johnriel Casimero, who currently holds the World Boxing Organization (WBO) title.