There aren't many Closet Classics that we could legitimately describe as one-sided pastings but in 2013 we had such oddity in a bout that was just incredible, despite being incredibly one sided.It was the heart and determination of one incredibly tough and brave guy up against the power and speed of another, in a bout that was nothing short of compelling. This was an insane bout, but one that everyone who saw it will remember for a long time!
Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16) vs Omar Figueroa Jr (21-0-1, 17)
Japan's Nihito Arakawa was a relative unknown. Promoted by the Hachioji Nakaya boxing gym he was known among the hardcore Japanese fans but wasn't really a star. He had spent much of his career, up to this, fighting at home and although he had won both the OPBF and Japanese titles he wasn't someone spoken about as being a future world champion. He was rugged, tough, with a good engine, but that was about the best that could be said of his ability. He was fun to watch, but wins against the likes of Yoshitaka Kato, Akihiro Kondo and Takehiro Shimada were about as good as it got. Aged 31 at this point he was seen as a lamb to the slaughter.
Omar Figueroa Jr, at this point better known than his sister, was a rising star of American boxing. He was unbeaten, aggressive, hard hitting, and a destructive ball of fury with 4 opening rounds wins in his previous 5 bouts. Although still fundamentally quite raw he was just blasting through opponent and creating a reputation as one of the most promising young Americans at the time. As Mauro Ranallo, commentating for Showtime, described him, "a star on the rise". Despite blotting his record in 2010, with a draw against Arturo Quintero, Figueroa had become a real must watch fighter and wins over Michael Perez and Abner Cotto had done much to enhance his reputation as TV friendly slugger.
Figueroa started exactly as we'd all expected, and was letting bombs go just seconds into the bout. Arakawa responded by trying to fight fire with fire. It seemed a stupid tactic from Arakawa, who took some heavy leather early on and was dropped in round 2. Arakawa took his lumps however and fought toe to toe with the American.
As the fight went on the toughness of Arakawa became more and more impressive as the two continued to trade bombs through out. As the bout went on the momentum began to shift, as Figueroa's engine began to be tested, and his hands began shown signs of being damaged.
It seemed that the gameplan for Arakawa was to come on stronger, in the later rounds and that made things incredibly interesting later on in what was an instant classic.
If you've seen this one it's worth watching once again. If you've not seen it it's well and truly worth your time! With SHOSTATS showing more than 2000 punches thrown between the two men, this was an incredible war! One sided overall but still incredible!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features