Nonito Donaire reacts to Naoya Inoue KO win over Stephen Fulton Jr

By Robert Segal: Nonito Donaire says he wasn’t surprised about Naoya Inoue knocking out previously unbeaten WBC & WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton Jr in the eighth round last Tuesday night in Tokyo, Japan.

The former four-division world champion Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs) thinks that Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) was holding back until dropping Fulton (21-1, 8 KOs) twice in round eight to get the knockout.

Inoue held back so that Fulton would start coming forward and leave himself open for one of his big countershots, which is exactly what happened.

Fulton lacked the power in his shots that Donaire had going for him, so he could not keep the Japanee star honest. If Fulton had some pop in his punches, Inoue would have hesitated to attack.

Donaire twice lost to Inoue, but he gave him the toughest fight of his career in 2019, broke his nose & fractured the orbital bone in his left eye.

This Saturday night, Donaire will face Alejandro Santiago (27-3-5, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBC bantamweight title on the Errrol Spence Jr vs. Terence Crawford card on July 29th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Donaire’s fight with Santiago will be part of the PPV televised broadcast, which will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET.

“The fun fight and the toughest fight was Inoue because he was right in front of you, and he’ll give & take what you give him,” said Nonito Donaire to the media today. “I would say like mine, nine or ten,” said Donaire when asked to rate Inoue’s power.

Donaire did a lot of damage to Inoue in their first fight, and if he hadn’t missed with so many of his big home run left hooks, he would have knocked him out. The shots that Donaire did land were wrecking Inoue’s face, breaking bones.

“He can crack real good, and he’s got that lightning-fast hand. I got to rate him very high. I wasn’t surprised because I know he has the power like I do, and I know he can end fights at any moment,” said Donaire on what his thoughts were when he found out that Naoya Inoue knocked out previously unbeaten WBC & WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton Jr last Tuesday night.

The jabs from Inoue are what allowed him to control the fight because Fulton wasn’t safe on the outside, and he lacked the inside game to come in close.

“I wasn’t surprised because I know he’s capable of it,” said Donaire. “At the same time, I know that Fulton is the bigger guy going in there. So, I put a lot of calculations into that, but obviously, Inoue came in there very strong.

“The thing is, he holds back on that strength too,” Donaire said about Inoue.  “That’s the power that he has. Hopefully, I can dance again [with Inoue]. That’s ahead of me right now, but that’s one of the challenges. I want to impose on myself.

“Why not? Right now, I don’t have the right to challenge him. I wanted to win in the way that I did. I gambled and got caught, and that’s how it is,” said Donaire about his second-round knockout loss to Naoya Inoue last year. “The guy is amazing, and that’s for sure.

“I’m doing it for me. I’m waking up in the morning wanting to get all the belts,” said Donaire when asked what his fight with Santiago means to him.

“I believe I have a great game plan going into this fight. That’s what I want to show [vintage knockout], but I’m not going in to show anybody up.

“I would get this one and then [WBA bantamweight champion] Takuma Inoue and then whoever else and then Jason Moloney or whoever gets the IBF. I’m still going to go for all the belts,” Donaire said.

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