Courtesy of Boxrec.com
July 27th appears on paper to be one of the most exciting nights in boxing so far this year. Whether you're from Asia, Europe, North America or South America there is something there for you.
For us the most exciting bout of the night sees Japanese veteran Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16) taking on the explosive and highly entertaining youngster Omar Figueroa (21-0-1, 17) for the WBC "interim" Lightweight title.
This is a bout that screams "war" to us and of course we all love an in ring war.
For those who haven't seen Figueroa lets talk about him first. He's a very talented and very aggressive youngster who has started to create a real buzz in recent bouts. In his most notable victory to date he blew out Abner Cotto in just 177 seconds.
The explosiveness and fast starting nature of Figueroa has seen him scoring 8 opening round victories and 17 inside 3 rounds (including 1 DQ). It appears that if you can ride out the early storm of Figueroa you can test him, though so far only Arturo Quintero has actually managed to really take him close as he fought Figueroa to a draw.
At 23 Figueroa is not the complete article. He's very promising but also pretty untested and still relatively wild and wasteful. So far he's managed to get away with his flaws (other than the draw with Quintero) but he is stepping up notably here.
Aged 31 Arakawa is a 9 year veteran and despite his 27 bouts he is still referred to as the "Baby Faced Sniper". He's known to be a very tough fighter and both of his losses to date have been controversial.
The first of Arakawa's losses came in 2006 to Yoshitaka Kato via a majority decision whilst his most recent loss was last year in a technical decision to Daniel Estrada in Mexico. The loss to Estrada was highly controversial with Estrada winning a technical following injuries that appeared to come from punches (and should have forced a TKO).
Arakawa is not only tough but also defensively smart taking a lot of shots on the arms. He's awkward and can apply intelligent pressure whilst looking to land his powerful straight left. He's not the most active fighter but appears to be almost impossible to discourage and with the damage his shots can do he'll be dangerous through out the fight.
What we effectively have here is a fast starting youngster against a gradually grinding veteran. If Figueroa can't take out Arakawa with in the opening few rounds he'll be seriously tested in the middle and latter stages of the bout when the Japanese fighter starts to connect with his heavy left.
Figueroa has only been beyond 5 rounds 5 times in his career, he's only been 10 rounds once and has never been the championship distance. With such untested stamina we are going with with Arakawa to break him down down the stretch. Sure Figueroa might manage to take Arakawa out early, but no-one else has managed to. If Figueroa can then boxing has a new superstar on it's hands. If he can't and if Arakawa wins then Figueroa will grow from a loss and develop with the experienced he'll have gained from the bout.
One thing is for sure, this has "exciting" written all over it.
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