Since his loss to Okawa back in 2013 we've seen Arikawa 5-1 (4), bouncing back from a 69 second blow out to Daisuke Sakamoto to claim notable wins over Yoshihisa Tonimura, Akinori Watanabe and Nobuyuki Shindo. In those bouts Arikawa has been pretty basic, but he's also shown scary power, with every shot being a thudding, damaging shot. He's not the most skills, or the quickest but what he hits he hurts and that was seen particularly well against Shindo, where a bloodied and beaten Shindo was saved by his corner.
Whilst it's hard to say how much Arikawa has developed in recent years he is certainly a better fighter than he once was, and with the power he has he will always be able to hurt opponents. The big question however is how he copes with being hurt, and he has been stopped 3 times in his 17 fight career. This possibly suggests he's a glass cannon, like former foe Akinori Watanabe, however it could also mean that he's a much improved fighter and the title may well fill his with extra confidence.
Although not an amazing fighter Arikawa has the air of a man who feels unbeatable, and that sort of air can carry a fighter far. That is likely to be seen again here and it's going to take an excellent performance from anyone at Japanese domestic level to beat him
Okawa's win over Arikawa kick started his rise through the ranks with 4 subsequent wins leading to his first title shot, a narrow and competitive loss to Nobuyuki Shindo in a bout for the then vacant title. That was Okawa's first loss in almost 5 years and ended a 5 fight unbeaten run, that also included a win over Tomoyuki Omura.
In the ring Okawa isn't a special fighter, but he is better than his record suggests and he holds notable results on his record, like wins over Daisuke Sakamoto and Hidekazu Matsunobu, along with a draw against Hayato Hokazono, as well as the win over Arikawa. Unfortunately for Okawa he has been inconsistent, losing to fighters like Shinta Kintamura and Tomoyuki Shiotani. There is no shame in some of his losses, such as defeats to Takehiro Shimokawara, Koshinmaru Saito and Nobuyuki Shindo, but the inconsistency has been an issue until recently.
Although not the biggest puncher, or the most physically strong Okawa is a hard working fighter with good stamina and a willingness to fight up in an opponents face. It's not always done him well but he's significantly better than his record suggests and knows that he can beat Arikawa.
Although Okawa has scored a win over Arikawa, we can't help but think the champion, who had an injury earlier this year, will avenge that loss and claim his first defense whilst looking to make a mark on the wider boxing scene, possibly moving towards an OPBF title fight in 2017.