We've known for a while that the team behind Japan's Hinata Maruta (0-0) were not messing around. Their man had been dubbed "The Number 1 Hope", those in Japan were claiming he was going to be the next big thing in Japanese boxing, if not one of the biggest things in global boxing and their was serious talk of him trying to set a new Japanese speed record. His team were so confident in his abilities that they had sent him on a month long training camp in the US earlier this year and had invested very heavily in his development.
Their had been talk of Maruta's debut for a while but details weren't the most forth coming.
Firstly we had been told that he would be debuting in November in Osaka. Then it was revealed that his debut would be on November 22nd in Osaka, before more recently it was revealed that his debut would take place at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center.
There had been rumours that Maruta's team were going to match him with a world ranked opponent on debut but the general view was that it would be a weak world ranked fighter. A fighter who had gotten the ranking solely due to politics, for example someone who had held and defended a regional title to help bolster an otherwise undeserved ranking.
Today those rumours came true with his team announcing that their 18 year old prospect would indeed be facing a world ranked opponent. As it turned out however it won't be an undeserving guy in poor form who leaves us questioning their ranking. Instead it will be a dangerous, tough, hard hitting Filipino who brings genuine danger to be the bout.
That Filipino fighter will be IBF #12 and WBC #14 ranked Bantamweight Jason Canoy (24-5-2, 18).
Canoy is a 25 year old fighter from Cebu who has never been stopped in a 31 fight career and is a seriously nasty puncher. His last 9 bouts have seen him go 8-1 (7) with his most notable victory coming this past May against Drian Francisco, who was dropped 3 times in 132 seconds. That win over Francisco was Canoy's third successive stoppage following a loss in Russia to the world ranked Nikolay Potapov in November 2014.
Whilst we've seen big name debutants around the world take on tough tests in recent years we've got to say that this may well be one of the toughest. It really challenges the likes of Ryota Murata's debut, against Akio Shibata, and Vasyl Lomachenko's, who faced Jose Ramirez, and considering that Maruta wasn't an Olympic champion like those two men this is even more impressive.
If Maruta is as good as they are saying then this is likely to be the first step towards one of the most memorable careers of a Japanese fighter. If he's not as good as touted then this could be a very miscalculated gamble by his team who have thrown him in deep from the off. Only time will tell but we are certainly very excited.
(Image courtesy of Daily.co.jp)
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