Although WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) [井上 尚弥] may not be sticking around at Super Flyweight for too much longer, following Roman Gonzalez's recent loss, the talented "Monster" is said to be preparing for a May defense of his title, before considering a move up to Bantamweight.
Sadly when you hit like a monster you tend to struggle getting durable sparring partners at the same weight. As a result Inoue has been sparrign with Teiru Atsumi (12-1, 6) [テイル渥美], who is a highly regarded Japanese based Korean Featherweight who has had success at Super Featherweight.
According to sources Inoue hasn't only looked great in those sessions, showing a more mature mature against the significantly bigger man, but has looked vicious with Atsumi said to have been clearly hurt by Inoue in the spar. That's a man who is 3, or 4, divisions bigger than Inoue and is a tough strong fighter himself.
Inoue gave quotes to the media recently saying that he is starting to work on punching and blocking, working on his guard and defense and it seems likely that a move up in weight is imminent. When he does move up he will have to be more defensively cautious and it seems like that's already in his mind, planning ahead now for that move.
As for Inoue's next bout, an announcement is expected shortly.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
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