Naoya Inoue did not appear to be holding too much back as he participated in a charity exhibition bout in Japan on Thursday morning.
The three-weight world champion appeared on the event which was put together to raise money for the nation’s medical workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
— パトリック (@SaikouKakutou) February 11, 2021
His opponent was former WBC flyweight world champion Daigo Higa, who has since moved up to Inoue’s division – bantamweight.
Perhaps the idea to match two young, active, top level fighters from the same weight class in a ‘charity exhibition’ was unwise.
The pair started off lightly in the contest which was effectively just a sparring session.
However, in the third and final round, they opted to take off their headgear and upped the tempo.
Inoue is the bantamweight kingMikey Williams/Top Rank
They exchanged what seemed relatively heavy blows as the action truly heated up.
Inoue, the pound-for-pound star, was clearly the superior fighter of the pair and put his defensive ability on show as he dropped his hands and used his head movement to avoid punches.
At the end, everything was good natured and the contest was ruled an unofficial draw.