The month of May is set to be a genuinely insane one, with notable fights on an almost daily basis. This isn't a top heavy month, but is a very consistent and packed month. One of the first major bouts of note will see Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) take on Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4). The talented Maruta will be looking to build on a career best win, stopping Tsuyoshi Tameda back in December, whilst Hiroto will be seeking redemption after a being kicked out of the Kadoebi gym for failing to make weight, which also cost him a bout against Shohei Omori.
For those who haven't followed Maruta's career you've missed out on following a sensationally talented youngster. The fighter from the Morioka Gym turned professional with huge expectations on his shoulders, beating the then world ranked Jason Canoy on debut. He would quickly win a WBC Youth title but his career faltered in 2017, when he lost a decision to Hidenori Otake and then took another a hit with an unfortunate draw in the Philippines against Ben Mananquil. Those set backs have slowed his ascent, but Decembers win over Tameda saw Maruta fighting as a Featherweight and looking like the fighter many knew he could be.
In the ring the 22 Maruta is a slick, sharp punching, hard hitting boxer-puncher. He can fight on the back foot or the front foot, has freakish dimensions and great technical ability, with heavy hands. What has been a problem however is his work rate, and his urgency. Too often he has looked like a man happy to have rounds, rather than a fighter who wants to move through the gears and make a statement. He did however show more urgency last time out, and it was great to see him go for the finish against Tameda, adding spite to his technical ability, speed and physical traits.
Hiroto is only 28 but made his debit almost a decade ago. Sadly things have been stop-start from him, with 14 fights prior to 2012, before almost 5 years out of the ring. He's fought 3 times since his return in 2017, but has now been out of the ring for over a year, with his last bout being an 8 round draw against Ryo Hino in January 2018. The reason for that long break was him failing to make weight for the aforementioned bout with Omori, that lead to him essentially being turfed out of the Kadoebi gym back in March 2018. He has now transferred to a new gym, but the inactivity won't have helped him leading into what is one of his biggest bouts to date.
Despite not being the most well known fighter Hiroto has faced a small who's who of Japanese boxing. he's shared the ring with Takenori Ohashi, Shingo Wake, Takafumi Nakajima, Gakuya Furuhashi and Ryo Hino. Through his career he has proven to be a capable fighter, but not and extraordinary one. He's not amazingly quick, slick, heavy handed or explosive. He's a solid all round, but nothing amazing, and with both of his losses coming by stoppage he's also not a fighter boasting an iron chin.
Whilst we have been disappointed by Maruta at times we do feel that as he matures we'll begin to see more spite, more urgency and more fire in his punching. When that happens we're expecting to see him really shine, and we suspect that's going to be exactly what he does here. Hiroto is a decent enough test for Maruta, at this stage, but we're expecting the young prospect to do everything to impress, and to move towards a title fight.
Our prediction here is a stoppage win for Maruta, in round 5 or 6.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.