WBSS finals: Sauerland on... Inoue vs Donaire

Luke G. Williams
05/11/2019 10:08pm

Photo: WBSS (top) Mark Runnacles/Getty Images (bottom)

As the finals of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series unfold, the WBSS chief boxing officer Kalle Sauerland gives Boxing Monthly his take on the finalists and how they reached the Muhammad Ali trophy showpieces, continuing with bantamweights Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire who square off this week in Japan...

GettyImages 1144848214Sauerland on Naoya Inoue...
"It was in Glasgow that Inoue set up the final with Donaire. For me Inoue announced or possibly cemented his position as the number one pound for pound fighter on the planet with that performance. You can argue for others - the Lomachenkos, the Usyks and many other contenders - but for me there is no one at this level who has performed like Inoue over the last 18 months. I don‘t think you can have any argument that he’s the pound for pound number one.

"You strip it all down with the pound for pound list and there’s no world champion, no former world champion, no superstar or megastar who has done what he’s done in absolutely disposing of a weight class in such breathtaking fashion against top, top people in Juan Carlos Payano, Jamie McDonnell, and then Emmanuel Rodriguez.

"We saw how good Rodriguez was in the quarter-finals against Jason Moloney. He’s a very tough cookie and Inoue just absolutely dispatched him. It was quite frightening actually. The Japanese fighter is the number one fighter on the planet and we’re delighted to have him in the tournament."

Sauerland on Nonito Donaire...
"In Lafayette against Stephon Young Donaire wound back the years against a very tricky opponent following the late injury and withdrawal of Zolani Tete. That’s the system of the tournament - that we always deliver an event. It was very good that we had such a strong replacement who made it tricky early on for Donaire. In the end it was an absolute contender for knockout of the year. We had a couple of those in the semi-finals actually! I think Donaire won knockout of the year twice before and it was a sensational stoppage. He looked like he was ten years younger. He looks very comfortable and very powerful at bantamweight.

Sauerland on Inoue vs Donaire...
"It will be a great final. Size wise Donaire is by far the biggest opponent Inoue will have ever faced and definitely the hardest punching opponent he’s ever faced. Donaire will take something from the Rodriguez fight because Inoue did get caught by Rodriguez, although he seemed to walk straight through it! Will it be different against Donaire? It will exciting to find out and a very exciting final."