It seems that every few months we are talking about “The next Japanese Star”. When we started this site that was Naoya Inoue, who went on to become one of the stars of boxing, then it was Kosei Tanaka, who is now on the verge of winning a world title, and then Takuma Inoue. The line of emerging Japanese stars is really a never ending one and it now seems we're hearing more and more stories about fighters who haven't even made their debuts yet.
One such fighter is Hinata Maruta (3-0, 2) who is being tipped as yet another future star from Japan despite the fact he's yet to make his professional debut.
The 18 year old Maruta, a fighter currently training at the Morioka Gym, is viewed as man with so much potential that he could well be one of the next truly sensational boxing talents, not just from Japan but from around the world.
Maruta's ability has been known about in some circles for the better part of a decade. It sounds astonishing but he really did catch the eye when he was in kindergarten. That was when he first started boxing and since then some of those in the know have kept a watchful eye over his progress. Progress that has seen a young boy become a young man, and a young man become a potential sensation.
Maruta's prodigious talent saw him win titles at various levels. These included crowns at the Junior High School level as well as the U15 national tournament in Japan. These allowed him to show off the experience and skills he had developed from almost 10 years of being involved in the sport. The most notable of his amateur achievements however came more recently with 2013 in particular being a stand out year for the youngster.
It was in 2013 that Maruta claimed a bronze medal in the Asian Youth Championships, losing to eventual gold medal winner Javokhirbek Karimov in the semi-final. In the same year Maruta was the runner up in the Japanese National Selection tournament, losing a close decision to Mikito Nakano. Incidentally Takuma Inoue was also the runner up this tournament, albeit at 49KG's whilst Maruta was competing at 52KG's.
In total Maruta's record in the unpaid ranks reads as a sensational 55-11 (31)
As you may notice Maruta was fighting at 52KG's, or a little over 114lbs, in 2013. From what we understand as a professional Maruta is pencilled in to begin his career at 58KG's, a little over the Featherweight limit. It may seem a large growth given the time frame but the youngster stands at a little over 5'9” and has a very big frame.
Maruta's team showed their confidence in him by allowing him to take his pro-test bout against the Japanese ranked Yuki Strong Kobayashi at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center. Not only did Maruta look good in that “bout” but he did so in front of a sizeable crowd who knew perfectly well that they were watching someone a little bit special. The pro-test resulted in Maruta battering Kobayashi, who was made to look like a novice.
Maruta made his debut in November 2015, when he faced the world ranked Jason Canoy, and despite some nervous moments, particularly in round 5, he was a worthy winner and showed a lot to be excited about. Not only did he show the physical skills, the speed and strengths, that had made his team so excited, but also the mental skills, the composure and the decision making when it came to letting his shots go. Defensively there was holes but it appeared that he was happy to prove his chin, just as much as his skills, and from the bout it was clear he could take a very solid shot. For those who missed that bout, it can be seen in full below.
Maruta would be out of the ring for 4 months following his debut, though returned briefly in March 2016 when he stopped an over-matched Thai foe in 114 seconds, and impressively speedy win that proved his power. That power was again on show this past July when Maruta claimed his first title, stopping Wilbert Berondo in 6 rounds to claim the WBC Youth Bantamweight title, the first title of his career. This bout was shown on boxingraise and showed just how good Maruta is with the youngster showing everything a young fighter needs to have in their arsenal to be a star.
(Image courtesy of http://www.moriokagym.com)