We'll admit we have struggled to track down footage of the youngster though we have been informed that he has been testing himself in sparring against WBC #15 ranked Super Bantamweight Shun Kubo (6-0, 4).
Although Kubo is a relative unknown himself outside of Japan he did have a notable 2014 with a big win in December over the then world ranked Luis May. That win saw Kubo being boosted ti a WBC ranking of his own.
The sparring was used to help sharpen Kubo up ahead of his May 9th fight against domestic foe Masajiro Honda (6-5, 4) and from what we understand Hinata managed to hold his own with Kubo, who some are viewing as a potential title challenger later this year. That's not to say the teenager battered Kubo but he is certainly said to have given Kubo a very high level of sparring.
What makes this even more impressive is that Kubo is a hard hitting southpaw fighter who has really been impressive in his steps up. The fact that Maruta could shine against a southpaw is highly impressive and shows just how much belief the Morioka team have in their youngster. It also shows how much respect he demands for Shinsei gym to select hum as a sparring partner for their own prospect.
(Image of Marute (L) and Kubo (R) courtesy of Hinata Maruta's blog)