Earlier today Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (20-1, 16) [尾川 堅一] score the third defense of his title, as he took a close decision win over former champion Rikki Naito (15-2, 5) [内藤 律樹], the man he actually beat for the title last year.
When the men first met they were both on the rise, both looking towards bigger and better things. In the fights that followed both looked like they had lost a gear today and looked disappointingly disjointed in their performances. Today however fans got the chance to see both men put in solid efforts in a really compelling and competitive fight.
It was Ogawa who got off to a hot start winning the first two rounds and establish himself as the front runner by also taking round 4 and keeping himself ahead when the scores were announced at the end of round 5. Although in the lead Ogawa did see Naito catching him with several shots, and begin to build some momentum.
Naito's momentum continued to grow in the second half of the fight and he won round 6, sweeping it on all 3 cards, and took round 7 on two cards to take a narrow lead. Sadly for Naito his fight back was all for nought in the end with Ogawa picking up the pace and doing enough over the final 3 rounds to take a razor thin decision, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 96-94 to the Teiken man.
Although both men were better than they were last time out, with both struggling in their most recent bout, it did seem that neither man was happy with Ogawa admitting there was very little between the two men and he seemed to look disappointed at the end of the contest despite the win. As for Naito it was an understandable disappointment given his effort and desire.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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