The fast handed Odaira, last seen in the ring on New Year's Eve when he was stopped by Katsunari Takayama, was making the 3rd defence of his title though really didn't look like a championship level fighter for the most part in a fight that failed to live up to it's billing.
Early on Odaira took control of the contest, though it was mostly down to Sowano not really letting much go as he waited, stalked and ate jabs. It was frustrating to see the challenger looking gun shy given the opportunity though it was also disappointing that Odaira wasn't able to show the same ability that had allowed him to give Takayama some problems early in their bout.
At the mid-way point the open scoring saw all 3 judges agreeing on the score, 49-46 to Odaira.
In the second half of the fight we began to see signs of life from the challenger who, finally, seemed to realise he had a great opportunity in front of him. By then however it was just too late for the challenger who managed to make things look interesting on the score cards, which all read 96-94 to Odaira. Unfortunately for Sowano he did seem to throw away the opportunity that presented itself to him. Had he fought for the win from early on there is a good chance he'd have been celebrating tonight with the Japanese title.
For Odaira this was poor. It may be that the Takayama fight took something out of him or it may well be that his style, based on speed and out put, is now running it's course with his body and age.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)