Naoya Inoue suffered fractured orbital bone in win over Nonito Donaire

By Boxing News - 11/09/2019 - Comments

By Chris Williams: Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue reportedly suffered a fractured right orbital bone in his victory over WBA bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire last Thursday night at the Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan. IBF/WBA 118-lb champion Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) revealed after the fight that he had double vision out of his right eye during the contest. Inoue won by the scores 116-111, 114-113 and 117-109.

Inoue reportedly doesn’t believe the fractured orbital bone will get in the way of his plans for next year. He wants to fight three times in 2020, and avenge his brother Takuma’s loss to WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs). Takuma (13-1, 3 KOs) lost to Oubaali last Thursday in the co-feature on the Inoue-Donaire card. It looks like Inoue might need to put off his plans of facing Oubaali in a unification fight in 2020.

If Inoue continues to take punishment the way he did against Donaire, he should considering moving back down to 115. The guys don’t hit as hard at 115 than they do at bantamweight. Some boxing fans are speculating that Inoue will be moving up to 122 in the near future. That would be a bad idea if Inoue intends on fighting young quality fighters like Emanuel Navarrete. That guy hits has hard as Donaire, but he’s a lot younger and is nonstop puncher. Inoue was lucky that Donaire got tired in the later rounds. Navarrete won’t get tired, and he would be a nightmare for Inoue.

Inoue fought with double vision

Somehow, Inoue was able to tough it out, and defeat the 36-year-oldĀ  Donaire to win a 12 round unanimous decision to capture the Ali Trophy in the World Boxing Super Series tourney. Inoue had to deal with the double vision problem through most of the fight.

Donaire landed a lot of left hooks on Inoue’s right eye during the fight. Inoue was cut over his right eye in the second round, but he bravely fought on. Later in the contest, Donaire staggered Inoue with a right hand in the 9th round. He also hurt Inoue in the 11th when he was attempting to knockout Donaire after dropping him with a body shot.

Depending on how bad Inoue’s eye injury is, he could be out for a long period if he requires surgery. Former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook suffered a fractured orbital bone in his loss to Gennadiy Golovkin in 2016, and he was out of action for eight months. When Brook returned in May 2017, he suffered another fractured eye socket.

Naoya had problems with Donaire’s power

The move up in weight to bantamweight might be a step too far for ‘Monster’ Inoue, as he looked bothered each time Donaire landed anything during the fight. Even the jabs from Donaire were snapping Inoue’s head back violently. Inoue’s defense is what saved him in the fight, as he was able to make Donaire miss with a lot of his best shots.

Given how much damage that Donaire did with the few punches he landed clean, it’s clear Inoue probably wouldn’t have been able to take more punches from him without falling apart.

In Inoue’s previous fight against Emmanuel Rodriguez, he looked uncomfortable with the few shots that he was hit with. Fortunately for Inoue, he stopped Rodriguez in the second round. But had that fight gone 12 rounds, Inoue would have taken a lot of punishment.

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The 118-lb division might be a little too much for Inoue. He has a small frame, and he doesn’t react well when getting hit solid. When Inoue fought at super flyweight [115], he wasn’t matched by his promoters against the big punchers in the weight class. They didn’t put him in with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Roman Gonzalez, Jerwin Ancajas or Carlos Cuadras. Perhaps Inoue would have knocked them out, but he might have been hurt by them too.

That’s the problem with Inoue moving up to 118 without having been matched against any of the good super flyweights. It looked strange the way Inoue dashed out of the division without fighting the elite level guys.

Some boxing fans think that Inoue is just interested in winning paper titles in as many divisions as he can to make his record look good. Who knows? If Inoue sticks around the bantamweight division long enough to fight Luis Nery, then one can dispel that theory.