Japanese fighters over the last few years have been racing away, straight out of the blocks and straight into notable fights.
Fighters like Kosei Tanaka and Naoya Inoue haven’t been waiting around to be offered their shots at titles but have actively chased them, with a combination of desire, steely determination and the will power to tell their team what they want.
Another fighter in a similar mould is Bantamweight hopeful Hinata Maruta (2-0, 1), who debuted last year year when he beat tough Filipino Jason Canoy, who at the time was world ranked following an opening round win over Drian Francisco.
Maruta’s debut set alarm bells around the Bantamweight division but the Japanese youngster and his team had been preparing hard for the debut and had taken him over to the US for an extended training camp in American gyms, giving him lessons in things he wouldn’t get in Japan.
The desire of the youngster had driven that tough debut and although it wasn’t immediately followed up with a tough fight he did have to carry the promotion of his second bout, which came against Thailand’s Krungsing Kaolamlekgym and featured little of note on the under-card.
Later this month we will see Maruta back in the ring as he goes for his first professional title, and faces off against unbeaten Filipino hopeful Wilbert Berondo (10-0, 4) for the WBC Youth Bantamweight title. That’s a title that has previously been held by Tomoki Kameda, Leo Santa Cruz, Pungluang Sor Singyu and Daniel Ponce De Leon.
On paper the bout against Berondo looks to be a step up from Krungsing but a level below his debut against Canoy. The key however is that Maruta will be training for a 10 rounder and will know that if he can’t budge the unbeaten Pinoy he may be forced to go the distance.
If he blows him out, as many suspect, then Maruta’s reputation will grow and we’d not be shocked to see him move towards a Japanese title fight in the next 12 months, as he continues to race through the ranks and move towards becoming the star his team believe he will become.
Given Maruta is just 19 years old time is on his side and he could follow the footsteps on those international fighters who develop slowly.
However his hunger to be great, a hunger shared by his Japanese contemporaries, is unlikely to see him or his team take things slowly, in fact it’d doubtful that that’s something they’d even consider.
(Image source and credit: Moriokaboxing.com)
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