We all know that Japan has a host of high profile prospects looking to set the boxing world on fire as quickly as they can. We've seen Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7) accomplish just that and it seems like Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) isn't far behind him whilst Takuma Inoue (4-0, 1) looks like another nailed on fighter to reach the top.
Aside from the high profile prospects the country also has it's share of hidden gems, prospects that haven't had the fanfare and acclaim of the media, or the attention of international fans but still have the talent, ability and belief to reach the top echelons of the sport.
Two of those fighters are currently forging their career under the watchful eyes of Shinji Takehara and Takanori Hatakeyama, two former world champions. Those fighters are Naoto Uebayashi (7-0-1, 4) and Hikaru Marugame (3-0, 2), who have both had their next bouts announced as being set for April 22nd at the Korakuen Hall.
At the time of writing Uebayashi doesn't have a scheduled opponent but the 28 year old is said to be targeting world ranked Bantamweights as he attempts to build on his most recent win, a clear decision win over former world title challenger Oscar Blanquet last December. From what we've seen of the talented former amateur standout he has the potential to go far, though does have a lot of work to do, notably on his defense. He also appears to have issues with his chin having been down several times already in his career, including in his draw to the under-rated Yusaku Kuga.
For our money Marugame, a promising Super Bantamweight, is the better of the two fighters. Aged 25 he is younger and appears more talented so far, though hos opposition has been worse so far. Whilst we're unsure about Uebayashi's opponent we do know that Marugame will be fighting against Wataru Miyasaka (9-2-1, 2), a capable yet unexceptional domestic opponent. It's hoped that Marugame, who fought just once in 2014, will be active this year and possibly end up fighting for a title at some point in 2014.
Although footage of Marugame is scarce he did look incredible on his debut, stopping Makoto Kato in the second round.
(Images courtesy of http://box-fitness-gym.com, top is Uebayashi whilst the bottom is Marugame)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!