Earlier this month we saw Japan's Daigo Higa destroy Filipino veteran Ardin Diale to claim the OPBF Flyweight title. Higa however isn't the only notable Flyweight contender from Japan in action this month, and this coming Friday fans will see world ranked Japanese champion Takuya Kogawa (26-4, 13) [粉川 拓也] defending his title against Masafumi Otake (15-14-3, 7) [大嶽 正史].
Kogawa is probably best known for his two world title challenges, both in Thailand. The first of those saw the all action fighter lose a wide decision to Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam whilst the second saw him lose a very controversial one to Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep, in a bout for the WBA “interim” title. Although known outside of Japan for those losses he is known at home for being a genuinely thrilling fighter, who is rarely in a bad fight.
The champion has been in thrilling wars with not only with Yodmongkol but also the likes of Suguru Muranaka, Masayuki Kuroda, Tetsuma Hayashi and Hiroyuki Hisataka. What makes him exciting is a combination of his weaknesses, including porous defense and limited power, along with his strengths, a great will to win, a lot of energy and a very solid chin. Given those traits it is little wonder that fans fans who have seen him describe him as being a true warrior.
Although very flawed Kogawa is a hard man to beat, and through his career he has only really been beaten clearly once, the loss to Wonjongkam way back in 2011.
When it comes to the challenger Otake's record does speak for it's self in many ways and as a result he is the clear under-dog. With just 15 wins in 32 bouts he has a sub 50% winning record and is actually 1-4 in his last 5 bouts, dating back more than 3 years. Saying that however the 37 year old is a man who knows this will be the end if he loses and will know that he needs to give this bout 100%, there is no point leaving anything in the locker.
Otake was, almost a decade ago, 11-4 (6) but since then has gone 4-10-3 with his career effectively imploding in the last decade. The losses, in some cases, have been to limited opponents however he has also faced some very good fighters such as Suguru Muranaka, Ryuichi Funai and Go Onaga, who all beat him.
We have, already this year in fact, seen upsets where we didn't expect the under-dog to put up much of an effort at all. On paper this is another massive mismatch, but it's hard to see what Otake has to lose and if he goes all out he could trouble Kogawa, if Kogawa has over-looked him. Saying that however the 37 year old shouldn't be much of a test if Kogawa has prepared properly.
Whilst the bout is, in all honesty, a mismatch it does serve a notable purpose. It will be the headline bout of the first Dangan card to be streamed live on www.boxingraise.com it's fair to say that is actually likely to be a bigger talking point than the actual bout, which we suspect will be a clear win for Kogawa, possibly by late stoppage.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.