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‘Fireplace burning’ inside Nonito Donaire forward of Naoya Inoue rematch


IBF and WBA bantamweight boxing champion Naoya Inoue of Japan (L) and WBC champion Nonito Donaire of Philippines (R) pose during a press event in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture on June 3, 2022. - Donaire said on June 3, 2022 there was "a fire burning inside" him as he prepares to face Naoya Inoue next week in a hotly anticipated sequel to their 2019 boxing classic. (Photo by JAPAN POOL / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT

IBF and WBA bantamweight boxing champion Naoya Inoue of Japan (L) and WBC champion Nonito Donaire of Philippines (R) pose throughout a press occasion in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture on June 3, 2022. (Photo by JAPAN POOL / JIJI PRESS / AFP) 

Nonito Donaire mentioned Friday there was “a fire burning inside” him as he prepares to face Naoya Inoue subsequent week in a hotly anticipated sequel to their 2019 boxing traditional.

The Filipino veteran misplaced a unanimous factors resolution to Japan’s unbeaten Inoue after they went toe to toe in Saitama, north of Tokyo, in a struggle hailed as among the finest of the 12 months.

The pair are able to do battle once more in a world bantamweight unification bout Tuesday on the similar venue, with Inoue’s WBA and IBF titles and Donaire’s WBC belt all on the road.

The 39-year-old Donaire mentioned his motivation was “the highest it’s ever been” as he prepares to take one other crack at considered one of boxing’s greatest pound-for-pound fighters.

“After the last fight, there was a fire burning inside of me — the motivation, the feeling that I wasn’t at my best, and I know I can beat him at my best,” Donaire mentioned at a press convention in Tokyo.

“That was what was inside me going into the locker after the fight. I wouldn’t want this rematch if I didn’t think I could win this fight.”

The ferocious-punching “Monster” Inoue is unbeaten in all his 22 bouts, successful 19 by knockout.

In their first struggle, he recovered from a fractured eye socket and double imaginative and prescient early on to flooring Donaire within the eleventh spherical.

Inoue mentioned going the total 12 rounds had been “a positive experience” for him.

“It’s been two years and seven months since we had the first fight, and now we have the rematch in a few days’ time,” mentioned the 29-year-old.

“I’m very motivated and excited. I think everyone is excited.”

Donaire grew to become the oldest world champion at 118 kilos when he beat Nordine Oubaali for the WBC bantamweight title in May 2021.

Both he and Inoue have set their sights on unifying the bantamweight belts, with Britain’s newly topped WBO champion Paul Butler standing of their method.

Inoue mentioned his struggle with Donaire was a “stepping stone” in the direction of attaining that aim, whereas Donaire described it as “the biggest fight of my career”.

“I’m very, very motivated — this is the fight that I’ve been aiming for, to accomplish everything that I have not accomplished in boxing,” Donaire mentioned.

“I’ve accomplished everything in boxing except become the undisputed, and this is the road to the undisputed.”

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