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Despite loss to crafty Japanese foe, Donaire still fulfills vow to kids

Though visibly outgunned by his younger and more powerful Japanese foe, Nonito Donaire stood his ground and showed the world the true essence of bravery in the ring.

Nonito Donaire (right) connects with a vicious left on the face of Japanese  Naoya Inoue in the 6th round of their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final match in Saitama, Japan. Inoue beat Donaire via a unanimous decision to win the championship. (AP)

Nonito Donaire (right) connects with a vicious left on the face of Japanese Naoya Inoue in the 6th round of their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final match in Saitama, Japan. Inoue beat Donaire via a unanimous decision to win the championship. (AP)

Ranged against the heavy-handed Naoya Inoue before more than 20,000 fans at Saitama Super Arena in Japan on Thursday, the soon-to-be 37-year-old Donaire was a picture of courage as he endured the severe punishment from his rival more than 10 years his junior.

Punchstats overwhelmingly favored Inoue, whose seven-fight knockout win streak ended when Donaire pushed him to the limit.

But it was evident Inoue had the upperhand as he logged a total of 227 punches thrown out of 628 that he fired for 36.1 percent.

Donaire unleashed 605 but connected on just 141 for 23.3 percent.

In power punches, the two fought on almost even terms with Inoue taking the advantage with 116 landed out of 292 thrown for 39.7 percent.

NAOYA Inoue holds the trophy. (AP)

NAOYA Inoue holds the trophy. (AP)

Donaire, who had his best moment in the eighth round when he rocked Inoue with a right to the jaw, tallied 99 out of 286 for 35.9 percent, figures that essentially proved that the Fil-Am four-division champion was extremely competitive.

In the end, Donaire was gracious in defeat, acknowledging that Inoue was the better man on the night that he vowed to steal.

The morning after his savage defeat, Donaire spent some quality time with his two sons, including Jarel, who he had to console.

“First of all, I want to thank God for keeping me safe in that ring.  My guardian angels for holding that shield up, that armor as strong as they could.  To Ringstar Sports Richard Schaefer for believing me so much to get me into this tournament.  You truly have had my back through this all and appreciate you.  To Mr. Honda, Teiken, the hospitality you have shown to me, my family and team has been amazing,” wrote Donaire in his Facebook account.

“I am a warrior on my shield.  I came to Japan to take the Muhammad Ali trophy.  I promised my sons they would see it in the morning.  And with tears in my eyes, I humbly asked Inoue to borrow it for a night, not for me but for my word.  It’ll be a life lesson my boys will soon learn.  That you do your best and you come short. You will win.  You will lose.  But in either aspect you will do so graciously,” said Donaire, who was on the verge of a knockout loss in the 11th round when he got felled by a brutal body shot.

In a video Donaire posted, Inoue indeed gave in to his opponent’s request and allowed the coveted symbol of his superiority to stay overnight so the two kids can take a closer look at it before being transported back to the rightful owner.

Despite the stabbing pain, Donaire stood and faced the fighter nicknamed ‘Monster’ and weathered the storm en route to losing on points.

“It’ll pain them to see my face.  They’ll kiss my wounds.  They’ll see a trophy we don’t get to take home and understand what it means to want to train harder.  And I told about the battle I fought.  That I’d rather put my life on that shield than give up.  And that we will ALWAYS fight,” added Donaire. (Nick Giongco)

 

 

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