In 2013 Nihito Arakawa made a name for himself on the international stage when he went to war with Omar Figueroa. Prior to that fight Arakawa was hardly known outside of Japan though he left that fight as a man known for his insane toughness and heart. In 2014 it seems another Japanese fighter has done the same, as Hidenori Otake (22-2-3, 9) proved his toughness on route to a clear loss to Britain's Scott Quigg (30-0-2, 22) in a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight.
From the opening round it seemed clear that the two men were on different levels with Quigg showing a better variety of shots, more power and better technique than Otake. What Otake showed however was no sense of fear or intimidation and even when Quigg landed his trademark left hook to the body Otake seemed to shrug it off and come forward with tireless effort. Unfortunately for Otake his skills weren't able to make his toughness or work rate and all too often he found his shots hitting air or the arms of Quigg who showed great defense and movement.
The first 4 rounds or so were dominated by the fast action of both men as they stood in front of each other and let their hands go without thinking too much about boxing. It was a high octane all action start to the fight though a start that was clearly a better one from Quigg, despite the fact Otake was often the man bringing the action.
In the middle of the contest the action changed somewhat. We we from the toe-to-toe action to seeing Quigg get on his toes and box a bit. This saw the champion really easing his way through the middle rounds and showing his extra class as Otake hit the air and took hard counters in return for his misses. It was again showing off Otake's toughness and work rate though certainly showed his technical limitations as he chased Quigg rather than cut the ring off.
At the end of round 9 Otake's eye was beginning to show signs of damage, the result of the clean shots to the head that he was being forced to take. In the following round the cut was worsened by a slicing uppercut from Quigg that left Otake with a cut above his right eye. The cut seemed to give the doctors a reason to stop the bout though they rightfully allowed it to continue noting the cut wasn't a fight ending one, especially not in a world title contest.
Whilst the cut could have discouraged the Japanese warrior it actually seemed to just drive him on more than ever and he upped his work rate attempting to try and break Quigg down. Sadly Otake was unable to really land too many clean shots on the Brit but he did manage to force the unbeaten champion to work extremely hard in what were some very exciting championship rounds.
At the end of the contest there was no doubting the winner. Quigg had taken everything Otake had and came back with interest landing the better, sharper and more eye catching shots and was a worthy winner with cards that read 118-110 and 119-109, twice,, however Otake had impressed and given a fantastic account of himself in his first bout on foreign soil.
It's fair to suggest that this was Otake's one big chance at a world title and although he came up short we do hope that fans from the UK will remember the gutsy warrior from Tokyo who we suspect will, sadly, fade back into relative obscurity on the Japanese domestic scene.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.