A few days ago Inoue was seen sparring in public with WBC Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (19-3, 9) who also sparred Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (1-0). On Saturday however Naoya stepped it up a level and began sparring with top Suoper Flyweight contender Ryo Akaho (21-1-2, 14).
Akaho, ranked #6 by the WBC at 115 lbs and #13 by the WBO at Bantamweight, seems to have been a great sparring partner for Inoue who certainly needed someone with similar traits to Hernandez.
Like Hernandez Akaho has solid and respectable power, is taller than Inoue and can fight from both the outside and the inside.
From reports of the sessions Inoue impressed and more than held his own against his experienced and bigger opponent. There is still improvements to be made before the fight but the gym work does seem to be doing the youngster a world of good in keeping him sharp and prepared before his huge test on April 6th.
Whilst we are still around a month from Inoue's fight Akaho make his own ring return on March 25th when he battles experienced Filipino Richard Garcia (25-17-1, 7) in the co-feature of Celes promoted show at the Korakuen Hall.
(Picture of Naoya Inoue is courtesy of http://www.ohashi-gym.com)