Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire size each other up ahead of WBSS final

Anthony Cocks

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IBF bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue 18-0 (16) is in a confident mood ahead of his highly anticipated clash with WBA 118-pound champion Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire 40-5 (26) at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Thursday night.

The world title unification bout will double as the final of the World Boxing Super Series with the winner being awarded the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.

The 26-year-old Japanese bomber, who has won world titles at junior flyweight and super flyweight, came face-to-face with his veteran opponent at Monday’s medical check in Tokyo.

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“Nonito’s only advantage is his experience, he has been in many big fights. He is taller and his reach is longer, but that’s something we have prepared for,” Inoue said.

Donaire, 36, turned professional half a lifetime ago at the age of 18 before scoring his breakthrough win against previously undefeated knockout artist Vic Darchinyan to claim the IBF flyweight championship in 2007.

After a short pitstop at 115-pounds Donaire moved up to bantamweight to annex the WBC and WBO titles from Fernando Montiel in 2011.

The Filipino Flash would go on to collect the WBO and IBF super bantamweight titles the following year and in 2014 claimed the WBA featherweight belt from Simpiwe Vetyeka before moving back down in weight following a knockout loss to Nicholas Walters in his first title defence.

With his extensive experience, Donaire is confident he can get the win.

“Like we saw with Canelo [Alvarez] vs [Sergey] Kovalev, height doesn’t matter, size doesn’t matter,” Donaire said.

“Ultimately it’s about the game plan and I believe I have the game plan to beat Inoue. And my experience will carry me through.”

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