Earlier this year Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17) [尾川 堅一] vacated the Japanese Super Featherweight titlke, after having recorded 5 defenses of the title. He vacated the national title with the intention of fighting for a world title, and it now seems like that world title fight has taken a huge step towards becoming a reality after the IBF ordered negotiations to begin between the teams of Ogawa and American Tevin Farmer (25-4-1, 5).
Ranked #4 by the IBF, Ogawa always seemed to be in the running for a shot at the title, given that the #1 and #2 slots with the IBF were vacant, though it seemed to make more sense for Ogawa to face former world champion Billy Dib (42-4-0-2, 24), who is ranked #3 by the IBF. Instead it seems like Farmer will get a shot.
The Japanese fighter is relatively unknown outside of Japan, though inside Japan he appears to be the ready made replacement for the recently retired pairing of Takashi Uchiyama and Takashi Miura, who both retired earlier this year. Like the two Takashi's Ogawa is a big puncher, though not as heavy handed as either Uchiyama or Miuira, he's more technically skilled than Miura, but lacks some the brutal mentality that made Miura such a fan favourite in the West. Domestically he's one of the two stand out Japanese fighters at 130lbs, along with the more technically gifted Masayuki Ito, and a clash between Ogawa and Ito looks almost certain to take place in the future.
As fior Farmer he's a relatively low key American who began his career 7-4-1 before reeling off 18 straight wins, including victories over Daulis Prescott, Gamaliel Diaz amd Ivan Redkach. Although not a huge name in the sport Farmer's name was in the press earlier this year after he was shot, several times, in the hand. It looks like the damage from those shootings wasn't hugely serious, but it does leave us wondering what condition he will be in when he does return to the ring.
The negotiations are expected to be completed in the months to come, and could see the bout being made before the year is over.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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