WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire has set sights on a rematch with super WBA and IBF titleholder Naoya Inoue by the end of 2021.
The two met for the first time at a chance meeting during the Inoue-Dasmariñas press conference Friday (Manila time) since slugging it out in November 2019, a mega-bout that earned the Fight of the Year honor.
“Let’s do it at the end of the year man. He wants it, I want it,” said Donaire in a video posted by Top Rank as the two bantamweight champions exchanged pleasantries and shared light moments together.
“‘Coz we’re friends, y’know. When we saw each other, he grabbed my belt and I’m like, ‘Nope!’ I’m grabbing your belt.”
Despite the ongoing rivalry, there is nothing but love between the two as Donaire expressed gratitude to Inoue for letting him grow as a boxer since suffering a unanimous decision loss almost two years ago in their unification bout.
The Japanese “Monster” beat the “Filipino Flash” to capture the super WBA bantamweight title and retain his IBF belt.
“That’s my belt. You ain’t gonna take my belt no more. I gave you once, you ain’t gonna do it again. I’m just blessed, y’know, I had that opportunity to grow with Inoue and learned what I needed to do,” added Donaire, who recently defeated Frenchman Nordine Oubaali to grab the WBC title.
“And that was a fun fight. That was a hard fight. It was fun for me and I wanna do it again. He wants to do it again because it’s a fun fight and it’s gonna be a hell of a fight and people will look forward to that.”
Before the dream rematch though, Inoue must settle unfinished business first against another Filipino challenger in Michael Dasmarinas, 28, who holds a 30-2-1 record with 20 KOs, at the Virgins Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Inoue scored a knockout victory over Australian foe Jason Moloney in October last year while Dasmariñas took down Thai opponent Artid Bamrungauea in October 2019.