Naoya Inoue has named a British fighter as one of the best he has sparred.
The Japanese superstar is a three-weight world champion and the current custodian of the IBF, WBC and WBA Super bantamweight titles.
Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs) is currently preparing for an undisputed showdown against WBO champion Paul Butler, with the pair set to clash, with the Ring Magazine also at stake, on December 13 at the Super Arena in Saitama.
But the 29-year-old has lifted the lid on the biggest threat he’s faced in the gym while sparring in preparation for previous fights.
He told the Ring Magazine when asked about his hardest sparring sessions:
“Leigh Wood, the current WBA featherweight titleholder whom I sparred with before the Jamie McDonnell fight, had tremendous punching power.
“Wood is a natural featherweight, and his weight was probably much higher than the featherweight limit when I sparred with him.
“He was big and probably because of that, I really felt his power and strength.”
Numerous fighters within the game have had complimentary words about Wood, who is trained by Ben Davison. He is one of the most-improved fighters of recent times and is coming off a sensational 12th-round knockout win over Michael Conlan at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham back in March.
Wood, who is 34 and has 16 early finishes in 26 wins with just two defeats to his name and is rated the number one featherweight in the UK by BoxRec, returns to action next month at the scene of his win over Belfast’s Conlan when he takes on Mexican danger man Mauricio Lara, who is best known to the UK fight fans for his two fights with the current IBF king at 126 pounds Josh Warrington.