Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue admitted he was impressed by Nonito Donaire Jr.'s ability to remain competitive despite being at the tail end of a colorful boxing career.
Inoue and Donaire figured in a brutal 12-round war back in November 2019 where the Filipino Flash gave the Japanese champion the toughest challenge of his young career.
Despite winning via unanimous decision, the WBA-IBF bantamweight champion Inoue learned never to underestimate such a veteran warrior.
Just recently, the 38-year-old Donaire crowned himself champion again when he demolished France Nordine Oubaali.
“I have to give Nonito Donaire credit, his ability to avoid declining and continue to excel at this stage of his career is very impressive,” Inoue said in Boxing Scene.
“He had a great performance and it was great to see him fight like that against another world champion. It shows all of the hard work he continues to put in so that he can remain at this level.”
Inoue is set to fight another Filipino in Michael Dasmarinas, who seeks to be the first boxer to beat the Japanese unified bantamweight champion.
If Inoue hurdles Dasmarinas, he is expected to choose from a number of names for his next fight.
There's WBO bantam king John Riel Casimero, who has been chasing him for over a year now. And, of course, there's Donaire, the WBC title holder.
Inoue admitted he did not anticipate the possibility of fighting Donaire again.
“Not at all,” he said. “But he is back to being champion once again thanks to hard work.”