September 1st is set to be a huge day for female boxing in Japan with a single card featuring 5 title bouts. One of the easier to over-look on that card is a Japanese female Flyweight title bout, between two promising and rising young fighters each looking to move their careers forward, claim their first title, and continue on to bigger and better things. That particular bout will see the wonderfully well school Mizuki Hiruta (2-0) battle against Hinami Yanai (2-0, 1), and both will know a win here will not only net them a Japanese title but also move them towards a world title fight, potentially in 2023 or 2024.
Of the two fighters the more proven is 26 year old Hiruta. As an amateur she went 29-16 (13) and she has already made a big impact since turning professional. On her debut, last October, she dominated Nanae Yamaka, then 4-0, in a wide 6 round win. She then followed that up with an excellent win in April against veteran Terumi Nuki, in an 8 rounder. Not only did she beat Nuki, but she also showed her heart and grit, to recover from a knockdown late in the bout and show there was more to her than boxing skills.
In terms of her skills and style. Hiruta is a well polished out-side fighter fighting from the south paw stance. She uses very polished boxing skills, good hand speed, technical skills and light feet. She seems to lack power, and doesn't sit on her shots, but she has the skills, speed and ring IQ to go a long way and a win here, to claim her first title, would likely see Misako Gym look to continue her rapid ascent through the rank. Sadly her lack of power will be a problem at the top level, but at domestic, and even regional level, she has the tools to control fights, especially over the 6 round distance. Over the long distances, 8 and 10, she could find her gas tank struggling, especially with her movement, and could become more susceptible to big shots, as we saw against Nuki, but over 6 rounds we suspect her flaws won't be exposed all that often.
Aged 24 Yanai, from the Shinsei Gym, is a very different type of fighter, but one who also had a solid amateur background, going 20-6 (7), before making her professional debut last December. In her debut she out pointed the limited but experienced Michiko Abiru over 6 rounds before making her international debut back in May, when she stopped the very poor Daoprakary Trathong in Bangkok. That win gave Yanai some international experience, which is always valuable, but did little to show how good she was or what her potential is like going forward.
Whilst her competition hasn’t been great Yanai has shown enough to let us get a read on her style, which is aggressive, high tempo and exciting. Yanai likes to dictate the action, come forward and despite being offensive she is also well polished, with good technical traits from her amateur background. Sadly for her she does appear somewhat clumsy at times, especially with her defense, and it does seem like she could walk onto a big shot at times, however she is strong, powerful and appears to be able to take a shot well. With her aggressive style it should be noted that she is very effective with body work, and that could be a major factor here, against Hiruta, who relies on movement and could struggle if her legs are taken away from her.
Whilst Yanai has got the type of style that could be a problem for Hiruta, we really think that Yanai would need 10 rounds to really make the most of it, and over 6 rounds her pressure and aggression won’t be enough to neutralise the clean effective boxing and movement from Hiruta. Instead we expect to see Hiruta boxing, moving, pot shotting, getting shots off and getting away, and simply out landing her rougher and less polished foe.
Prediction – UD6 Hiruta
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.