Naoya Inoue: “Nonito Donaire Was My Toughest Fight Thus Far”

Naoya Inoue Hoping To Use Lessons Of The Past To Overcome Jason Moloney

Naoya Inoue (left) with Nonito Donaire
Naoya Inoue (left) with Nonito Donaire

Naoya Inoue Hoping To Use Lessons Of The Past To Overcome Jason Moloney


2019 was a breakthrough and monumental year for IBF/WBA ‘Super’ World Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs). It was the year he made a key, yet vital step in his career.

The first notable win came in May 2019. He would defeat Emanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KOs) in the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight tournament in two rounds. Then, in the finals, he defeated Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) in November 2019. The victories elevated him from a highly-accomplished fighter to a mainstream, global attraction.

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The win over Donaire was particularly significant. It was 2019 Fight Of The Year by both Ring Magazine and ESPN, for one. Also, it would be the toughest fight of Inoue’s career, as he had to dig deep to win against the future Hall Of Famer. Inoue has not been in the ring since the Donaire bout. That is because he took time off to heal from a fractured orbital bone suffered in that fight. He, as well as the sport in its entirety, was forced to the sideline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fully healed and with the sport now resuming, the 27-year-old from Yokohama returns to action on October 31 to face former world title challenger Jason Moloney 21-1 (18 KOs) at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada and will air live on ESPN+.

A TEACHING GUIDE

For this upcoming world title defense against Moloney, the Japanese warrior known as the “Monster” explained during an interview with Ring Magazine, he is planning to use the experience of his last fight as a teaching tool.

“The Donaire fight was surely the toughest fight of my career thus far. But it was also a fight where I gained a lot of experience and that will make me a better fighter. The injury I suffered has fully recovered. I’ve been sparring after the New Year’s holidays and it hasn’t affected my training.

Maloney has top-level technique and the stamina to fight the full 12 rounds. I hope to show my tactical technique together with the aggressiveness in the ring.”

Despite being a 6-1 underdog, Moloney should not be overlooked. The 29-year-old from Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia is an all-around action fighter who can punch and is highly motivated to achieve his dream of becoming a world champion.

But Inoue has shown himself to be someone uniquely talented. There is a reason that he is ranked among the elite boxers in the world. Going into this title defense on Halloween, he will look to use what he has learned in the past to give Moloney a few lessons of his own.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Michael Wilson 485 Articles
Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for 3kingsboxing.com.