On Sunday Japanese fight fans had the chance to see Hinata Maruta (5-0, 4) extend his perfect record with a straight forward defense of his WBC Youth Bantamweight title. The following day the bout was made available to subscribers of the Boxingraise service. Anyone who has followed Maruta since he first stated his intention to turn professional will know that those in Japan rate the youngster incredibly highly, with many suggesting he may be the next Japanese super talent, like Naoya Inoue.
Maruta wasn’t the only touted novice in action over the past few days, however, and on Tuesday Japanese fight fans saw former amateur stand out Hidenori Mishiro (1-0, 1) make his professional debut, and like Maruta he shone.
The 22 year-old Mishiro, who is fighting around Super Featherweight, had been a notable fighter on the Japanese amateur scene where he compiled a 41-16 (4) record before signing with the resurgent Watanabe Gym and gaining a B grade licence before his debut. He, and his team, were so confident about him passing that they had his debut bout lined up before he had actually qualified to fight as a professional and thankfully that didn’t back fire.
On his debut, on Tuesday he took on Thai teenager Natthaphon Numnak and almost immediately got to grips with professional boxing, quickly establishing the range and tempo, before sticking his stiff jab into the Thai. There were some nerves, but it was clear that he was a real talent as he began to feel more at ease in the ring. Within 90 seconds it was clear that Mishiro had shaken any nerves and was looking to put on a show for the fans, letting his hands go and dropping the Thai with a barrage of spiteful shots. Not long after that he closed the show, sending the Thai down for the second time.
Although a novice professional, Mishiro is with a great team at the Watanabe gym, and given how they have treat prized prospects like Hiroto Kyoguchi, Masataka Taniguchi and Chaoz Minowa, it’s unlikely that they have any intention of holding Mishiro back.
Whilst Mishiro won’t be fast tracked quite as quickly as Kyoguchi, who won an OPBF title in just his 6th fight, he will be moved with some haste as Watanabe look to become one of the most dominant gyms in Japan, and a match for Ohashi and Teiken and it will be well worth following him going forward.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)