Last year Ota lost twice, suffering a defeat in Canada to the touted Jermell Charlo and a loss in a Japanese title fight to Yuki Nonaka. The loss to Nonaka, in December, was a close one but one that seemed to put a temporary halt on Ota's career with the fighter himself taking almost 11 months out of the ring.
Despite the long break Ota looked solid and sharp.
To begin the fight the early moments were highlighted by the early pressure of Gelawa, though he was turned early on with Ota getting a chance to unload some heavy leather. Despite the shots landed by Ota early on it wasn't until round 3 that he really damaged Gelawa who looked like he was going to be on the receiving end of a very painful night. Notably though Gelawa then showed his toughness and managed to give Ota quite a tough tough before being stopped in round 6 by an Ota flurry.
For Ota this was a confidence building win though suspect that he will now be looking at title fights, possibly a bout Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka or a 4th bout with the newly crowned OPBF champion Takayuki Hosokawa, who Ota actually faced on debut back in 2006.