It was almost three years in the making and Nonito Donaire has gained all the confidence to take on Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue once more.

In this file photo, Naoya Inoue (left) and Nonito Donaire exchange punches during their mega-bout in November 2019 that earned the Fight of the Year honor. (Photo from World Boxing Super Series)

Donaire and Inoue are slated to lock horns in a much-awaited rematch on June 7 at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, the same venue where they first traded punches in a bout that earned the “Fight of the Year” honor.

“Our first fight was brutal and amazing, it was a classic, but the rematch is going to be even better,” said Donaire, the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion.

“I am heading into this monumental fight with a new mindset, because the first contest with Inoue was an awakening for me and I now know I can defeat him,” added Donaire, who holds a 42-6 record on top of 28 knockouts.

READ: Donaire focuses on ‘journey to undisputed’

It was Inoue, 29, who drew first blood against Donaire and won via unanimous decision in their first encounter in November 2019. At that time, the Japanese star had unified the super World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and The Ring titles.

With the victory, Inoue, nicknamed the “Monster,” also won the bantamweight final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).

Since then, Inoue, who remained undefeated in 22 matches built on 19 knockouts, made three straight successful title defenses against Jason Moloney, Michael Dasmarinas, and recently Aran Dipaen last December 2021.

Donaire, for his part, had etched his own version of success and redemption after winning the WBC bantamweight title by dethroning and knocking out Frenchman Nordine Oubaali in May last year.

The “Filipino Flash” retained the WBC belt after stunning compatriot Reymart Gaballo in the same method, a fourth-round KO, also last Dec., days prior to Inoue’s own title defense against Dipaen.

Now back to his winning ways, Donaire, who is currently signed under Probellum, assured that he will emerge victorious this time around.

“June 7, in Japan, is going to be a special evening for the sport, and make no mistake, it will end in a Donaire victory,” said the four-division world boxing champion.

Source: Manila Bulletin (