For us the best fights have to have drama, twists and turns. It's great to see two guys wail away on each other, but if it seems neither man can hurt the other it does take something away from the fight. The high intensity low drama bouts can be very fan friendly, but in many ways they leave us feeling just a little bit empty inside and wishing that there was a sense of danger for both men. It's with that in mind that we dig into our treasure trove this week and find a bout that had series drama and momentum shifts. It wasn't a big bout in terms of it's profile, but it was the type of bout that we love rewatching and it worth it for the turns and twists.
Ryugo Ushijima (2-0, 1) vs Shota Ogasawara (3-1, 2)
The unbeaten, 17 year old, Ryugo Ushijima he had made his debut in July 2018, with a narrow win, and followed it up with a blow out win. He looked a really talented, and promising youngster, but at the age of 17 he was still a gangly kid who looked like he needed some meat on his bones. His jab and movement were impressive for such a youngster, and he had the frame that will carry him up a weight class or two when he matures into his body.
Shota Ogasawara on the other hand was 23, he had taken a couple of unbeaten records and his only loss was in the 2017 Rookie of the Year to Mirai Imagawa, the eventual All-Japan Rookie of the Year winner. He looked more powerfully built than Ushijima, but was giving away significant size and reach to the teenager, and Ogasawara had actually been competing as a Super Flyweight or a Bantamweight through his career. He was clearly the smaller man, but the puncher of the two and if he could get inside Ushijima could be in trouble.
Unsurprisingly the taller man wanted to use his reach, his speed and his movement, the smaller man wanted to get inside and bully the teenager, take advantage of his potential fragility and make him pay for still being a kid in a man's world. The opening round saw the kid get the better of it, before we had intense back and forth drama in round 2, a round that gave us all we could ask for in the drama department.
This was proof, again, that some of the most entertaining and dramatic bouts come when both fighters believe they can and is a genuine bit of boxing treasure. Despite lacking a little something in the overall intensity of the fight this had the drama to make up for it.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.