Earlier today Japanese fans in Osaka saw the fast rising Hinata Maruta (4-0, 3) [丸田 陽七太] score his first defense of the WBC Youth Bantamweight title as he stopped Filipino southpaw Joe Tejones (6-2, 2) in 7 rounds.
Maruta was viewed as the big favourite but it was clear that his inexperience against southpaws was going to see him face some new questions here, and that showed early on when Tejones landed a solid right hook on Maruta, showing a key weapon a southpaw's arsenal.
That southpaw stance of Tejones saw the Filipino being right in the fight through 4 rounds, with two of judges actually having the bout level after the firsr 4 rounds, and the other judge having Maruta in a narrow 39-37 lead.
Having taken a few rounds to figure out the the Filipino Maruta started to take over, cutting the right eye of Tejones with a big right hand in round 5 and then breaking down the Filipino who was dropped in round 7 from a vicious combination punctuated by a nasty body shot. The Filipino failed to beat the 10 count,and gave Maruta his third straight stoppage win
Although the Japanese teenager took his time, and lost a few rounds, here the experience against a hungry southpawwill have been invaluable going forwardand he'll have learned about the right hook from the southpaw stance. The win was a key and he's now said to be chasing more titles in 2017, with the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles clearly on his radar. Sadly for Tejones the a good start was essentially wiped out by a fighter who is several levels above him. It was a bad performance from the Filipino but he was out of his depth against a fighter with the ability and skills of Maruta. He will bounce back, but it's hard to see how far Tejones will potentially go in the course of his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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