Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire had the undisputed Fight of the Year in 2019, and now they’re set to do it again on June 7 in Saitama, Japan.
Inoue confirmed the date and fight on social media, and noted that it will air on Prime Video in Japan. U.S. broadcast rights should be known soon; it would be expected that ESPN+ will pick up the rights, as Inoue is a Top Rank fighter, but that’s not official just yet.
Inoue (22-0, 19 KO) will be defending the WBA and IBF bantamweight titles, and Donaire (42-6, 28 KO) the WBC belt, meaning the fight will be for three of the four recognized championships at 118 lbs. John Riel Casimero has the WBO title, and will defend against mandatory challenger Paul Butler on April 22 in the United Kingdom.
Inoue won a decision over Donaire in a brutal, instant classic bout in Nov. 2019 when the two met the first time in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
This is a long-awaited rematch that somewhat surprisingly hasn’t become anything less than the best fight to make in the division in the two-and-a-half years that have passed, even though Donaire is 39 years old. If anything, his back-to-back stoppage wins over Nordine Oubaali — which netted him the WBC belt — and Reymart Gaballo have only made it clearer that this is still the best fight out there in the bantamweight class.
Since his win over Donaire, Inoue has fought three times, dominating Jason Moloney in 2020 and the even more over-matched Michael Dasmarinas and Araen Dipaen, both of whom were mandatory challengers, in 2021.