Of the two men the one is better known is Shindo, despite his lower ranking with the JBC. The Miyata gym fighter is a former Japanese title challenger, losing a close decision to former champion Suyon Takayama, who vacated the title recently after 6 defenses. In that bout Shindo dropped Takayama before being out worked in the second half for Takayama to retain the title.
Although not a bit name Shindo is a huge Welterweight, stood at 6'1”. He will tower over most other fighters in the division, as will be seen when he fights the 5'8” Okawa, and of course he knows how to use that height, and reach advantages, to great effect. He has also shown a grit and determination as well as solid work rate and the ability to go 10 rounds.
Whilst clearly the favourite it does need to be noted that Shindo has has come up short in his most notable bouts. That has included two very competitive losses to Takayama and a loss and draw against Moon Hyun Yun. Whilst he has failed in his 4 bouts with Takayama and Yun he has scored notable wins over the likes of Tetsuya Suzuki, Toru Chiba and Yuichi Ideta, all solid wins on the Japanese domestic scene.
Aged 31 Okawa is a 13 year pro but has never fought at title level before, in fact this will be the first time that he's been scheduled in a bout longer than 8 rounds. His career has seen him going 8 rounds on 6 occasions, as well going into round 8 in two other bouts. On the whole he has been fighting on the fringes of the Japanese scene during his 28 fight career though has managed to face Hayato Hokazono, Takehiro Shimokawara, Hidekazu Matsunobu, Koshinmaru Saito and Toshio Arikawa, with a win over Arikawa being very notable now given that Arikawa will now be tha mandatory for the winner of this one.
Whilst we've never been that impressed by Okawa he is riding a 5 fight winning streak, including the win over Arikawa. That run is, by far, the best of Okawa's career and sees him coming into this one full of confidence. For us however the worry is really about him fighting over the 10 round distance and about his step back up in class.
Although Okawa is clearly in good form we can't see him claiming the win here, instead we see Shindo's extra experience over 10 rounds, and at a higher level, just being enough to take him the win, via a decision.