In 2015 we saw a lot of really good fights at Super Featherweight, including of course the Takashi Miura Vs Francisco Vargas war in the US. On the Japanese scene we saw the emergence of a couple of quality fighters. One of those was talented out-fighter Masayuki Ito [伊藤 雅雪 ], who claimed the OPBF title, and the other was the heavy handed Kenichi Ogawa (17-1, 14) [尾川 堅一], who claimed the Japanese title.
We now know that Ogawa will be making the first defense of his title on April 2nd at the Korakuen Hall as he faces Satoru Sugita (11-2-1, 7) [杉田 聖] in a mandatory defense of his title.
Ogawa, for those who haven't seen him, is an exciting, aggressive and heavy handed fighter who really came to prominence last June when he beat Raymond Sermona, before adding Deivi Julio Bassa to his resume in September. Those two results were solid but paled in significance to his December win over Rikki Naito to claim the Japanese title and end the unbeaten run of Naito, who was dropped, out muscled and beaten down before the bout was stopped due to an accident cut.
At 27, soon to be 28, Ogawa is a fighter in his prime and is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak. That current streak includes 8 KO's with only the technical decision against Naito not ending by stoppage as Ogawa has become a seriously dangerous fighter and a man who has avenged his only defeat. Although a puncher Ogawa is a solid boxer who has a hard, hurtful jab, imposing physical streak and very under-rated skills, making him a real handful. And more worryingly, he's just getting better and better.
Whilst we have seen a fair bit of Ogawa the same cannot be said of his challenger, who is set to take a major step up in class. Aged 26 Sugita is starting to hit his prime and is a long way from the 1-2-1 run that marked up his record, dropping him to 6-2-1 (4) , back in 2013. Since that poor run he has gone 5-0 (3) and scored wins over the likes of Ryota Kajiki and Yoshiyuki Takabayashi. Despite being in a great division domestically it does need to be said that Sugita hasn't faced any of the truly notable guys and that's a genuine shame.
Although without a notable win so far it is fair to say that Sugita has a huge opportunity here and could well be the next fighter to announce himself as a serious player on the Japanese domestic scene at 130lbs, alongside the likes of Masao Nakamura and Daiki Kaneko.
Sadly we've struggled to find video's of Sugita, so we've only managed to include a video of Ogawa below.
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