The bout was a big step up for Maruta, with some questioning whether it was a touch too early for the youngster, whilst other questioned how much Otake had left at the age of 36.
As it turned out Otake had a little too much for the youngster, and managed to force his style on the fight, cutting the distance a bit too easily, and working away on the inside more effectively than Maruta. There was times when Maruta showed his sensational skills, but those moments were a little bit too scarce, and the aggression of Otake too intense.
After 4 rounds there was very little to separate the men, with 2 of the judges judges having the bout 38-38, and the other going 39-37 to Otake. Sadly for Maruta it was in the middle stages, as Otake's engine got going, that the veteran really took over and after 8 rounds he had taken a clear lead, 78-74 on all 3 cards. It was there that Otake really won the bout.
To his credit Maruta showed his fighting heart and refused to just take the loss.
Instead of rolling over Maruta attempted a comeback. To begin with Otake sniffed it out, but in rounds 11 and 12 Maruta's skills shone through, with some lovely boxing on the outside, and a brilliant change in pace. By then however it was too little too late, and Otake had already done enough to secure the win on the cards, with scores of 116-112, twice, and 117-111.
The win for Otake keeps him in the mix for a world title fight, and there is a chance that shot could come in the near future. For Maruta the loss will hurt, but it's a "good" loss in many ways, showing the flaws that he needs to work on and proving he can fight 12 rounds, he's tough, skilled and will come again. Although a loss can be a huge set back we see this as more of a building block for Maruta who we see bouncing back and going on to have a brilliant career. It was too much too soon for the for the youngster, but his career is still very bright.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)