Nonito Donaire might be turning 40 this year but not only does he believe he can still compete against the best fighters in the world, he thinks he is getting better. He will be rematching a man that many see as the pound for pound king next month.

Donaire is set to rematch Naoya Inoue in Tokyo. The first match was a battle for the ages and was named ‘fight of the year’ by The Ring Magazine.

Donaire became the first fighter to ever cut Inoue. That was in 2019 but the Filipino does not see his advancing years as being a disadvantage heading into the rematch.

In fact he believes he is improving faster than Inoue,

“Inoue has improved a little bit, but I think the biggest improvement has been in me,” he said.

Different realm

Donaire has won two out of two since the first fight while Inoue has beaten three opponents. All of these victories came inside the distance but the Filipino feels he has been fighting higher calibre opponents,

“I’ve fought the better guys compared to him, since we fought. He’s still learning to be better but for me, I’m learning to ascend to a different realm in terms of boxing IQ and boxing ability.”

Not many boxers continue to thrive at the elite level once they reach their 40s. But Donaire feels he can be an exception to this rule,

“My body is on a different level now as well.”

Greater threat

But he does acknowledge that Inoue could be even more of a threat than he was the first time they fought,

“I do believe that he is getting better, but we will see who is better on June 7.”

The WBC, WBA and IBF titles will all be on the line at the Saitama Super Arena. The former belongs to Donaire while the latter two are the property of Inoue.


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Plenty to offer

One of the scorecards read 114-113 in Inoue’s favour after the first fight which just goes to show how fine the margins were. That gave Donaire the confidence and belief that he could become the first fighter to ever defeat Inoue,

“When I finished the last fight I instantly had a feeling of ‘I can beat this guy, I’ve got to get the rematch’. Right off the bat when I was walking into the locker room after the fight.”

Donaire’s subsequent performances suggest that he was justified in feeling he had more to offer. He has finished Nordine Oubaali and Reymart Gaballo in the fourth round which goes to show that he still has plenty to offer a decade after being named ‘fighter of the year’.