Bob Arum: “We’re Really Close To Making Inoue v Donaire Rematch”

Naoya Inoue Answering The Challenge By Deciding To Rematch Nonito Donaire

Bob Arum looking to match Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire
Bob Arum looking to match Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire

Bob Arum Says Inoue v Donaire II Close to Being Finalized

Ever since Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs) defeated Nonito Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs) in the finals of the WBSS bantamweight tournament in November 2019, fans have been clamoring for a rematch between the two warriors. It looks like folks are close to getting their wish.

During an appearance on the 3 Knockdown Rule podcast, Inoue’s co-promoter, Bob Arum, was asked about the two warriors squaring off in a rematch. Working closely with Inoue’s manager, Hideyuki Ohashi, and co-promoter Akihiko Honda, Arum said he’s hopeful the fight will occur this Spring.

“I think that’s really close. Everything depends on not Donaire or not Inoue, or not Ohashi or Honda, but on the Japanese government lifting the restrictions and so forth. But from what we understand, April will be an all clear”.

Their previous match was 2019’s Fight of the Year by most pundits. Fighting on home soil in front of over 30,000 fans at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, Inoue was given the fight of his life. Overcoming a fractured right orbital bone and a broken nose, he dug deep to unify for the win, unifying the WBA and IBF 118-pound titles.

Donaire has rebounded nicely since that defeat. In May of 2021, he steamrolled Nordine Oubaali in four rounds to win the WBC bantamweight title. He followed that with a fourth-round TKO win over then-mandatory challenger Reymart Gaballo in December 2021. Afterward, the future Hall of Famer said he wants to run it back with Inoue.


Given what Arum said, the rematch will happen in Japan. Due to continued concerns over the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the country has been very cautious regarding holding sporting events. In November 2021, they increased travel restrictions which included a travel ban. Japanese boxing has been affected as a result.

IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin was to fight WBA 160 pound champ Ryota Murata on December 29, 2021, in Saitama. Junto Nakatani was to face Cristian Gonzalez on that undercard. WBO champ Kazuto Ioka and IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas were to fight in a junior bantamweight unification bout on December 31, 2021, in Tokyo. Those cards were canceled due to the increased restrictions.


Some insiders were starting to raise questions about Inoue. Following the win over Donaire, his opponents have been underwhelming. Sorry, but Jason Moloney, Michael Dasmarinas, and Aran Dipaen are not top-level competition under any criteria.

There were rumblings about whether the Japanese superstar has become comfortable and is no longer willing to fight the best of the best. With plans to move up to junior featherweight by the end of the year, it’s good to see that the “Monster” is stepping up to the plate. While Arum and the company are targeting April, he failed to mention a specific date. Stay tuned 3Kings Boxing for further updates.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.1996 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for