On his blog Inoue stated that the size difference forced him to use his head for the 4 round spar, which would have been a great work out against a fighter has proven his toughness over and over again, including in Korea where he was involved in a blood bath with Jaesung Lee and a Japanese title fight with Inoue's stable mate Satoshi Hosono [細野 悟].
Not only was this spar against a naturally much bigger fighter, with an 11lb weight difference between the fighting weights of the two men, but it was also against a man who training for his own bout in late February, with Watanabe scheduled to be in action on February 29th. Meaning that Watanabe was likely in better fighting shape that Inoue, who isn't expected back in the ring until late April or early May.
This spar is expected to be followed by more tough ones for Inoue who has typically brought in very experienced and tough sparring partners to prepare for bouts, and as we head towards the announcement of Inoue's next bout we suspect we'll see him in the ring with more notable names.
(Image courtesy of Naoya Inoue's blog)