This coming Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, we get the chance to see one of boxing best young champions take on one of the toughest old fighters in the sport as WBO Super Bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe (19-0, 13) faces off with Japanese challenger Hidenori Otake (31-2-3, 14). The bout will be the first defense by the 23 year old from Ghana whilst the 37 year old Otake will be getting his second world title fight. Not only is there a 14 year age gap between the two men but there is also significant differences in natural size, experience and amateur pedigree, which helps to make this match up as interesting as it is.
Dogboe, known as “Brave Son”, competed at the 2012 Olympics in London, where he was living at the time, and was one of the youngest fighters at the tournament. Interestingly he would lose in his only fight at the games to Japanese foe Satoshi Shimizu, the current OPBF Featherweight champion. He made his professional debut the following year, in Switzerland of all places, before picking up early career wins in the Northern Ireland and then the USA before beginning to make a name in Ghana from September 2015.
Although fighting in what was relative boxing obscurity Dogboe was getting some quality opponents, such was Neil John Tabanao and Javier Nicholas Chacon, as he continued his development leading into 2018. To begin this year Dogboe took a huge step up in class, and rose to the occasion, stopping Mexican tough guy Cesar Juarez to claim the WBO “interim” Super Bantamweight title. Less than 4 months later he travelled to the US and scored an excellent 11th round KO of the then unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno to claim the full WBO title. Despite being dropped in the opening round Dogboe was in the lead on all 3 cards at the time of the stoppage and, despite some flaws, he had looked very impressive.
Stood at just over 5'2” Dogboe is a diminutive fighter, even at Super Bantamweight. He is however an unpredictable, explosive, fast and powerful fighter. There are a number of flaws with his boxing, which wouldn't be expected of someone with his amateur background, but he manages to use them to his advantage rather than them really costing him. It could be a case that a big, strong, accurate fighter could make him pay for his wilder style, but there is also a good chance he'll be able to use his lack of size and explosiveness to get in and work away on opponents, drag them into a war and use his supposed disadvantages to his advantage.
Otake is the next in a long line of insanely tough Japanese fighters, who can walk through shots that would leave others on the floor in agony. Saying that however he is more technically skilled than the likes of Nihito Arakawa, Yoshihiro Kamegai and Akihiro Kondo and has got solid, yet basic, boxing skills. He comes forward behind a busy long jab, he uses the ring well and looks to back up opponents behind his boxing, and not behind his physicality. Despite being 37 he has an incredible engine, with his work ethic being one of the best in Japan. All that was shown when he had his first world title fight, back in 2014 losing to Scott Quigg in a WBA title fight.
Since losing to Quigg we've seen Otake go on an excellent run of 9 straight wins, including wins over Jelbirt Gomera, Kinshiro Usui, Hinata Maruta and the hard hitting Brian Lobetania. Those wins have seen him win the OPBF title and make 3 successful defenses of the title. He has shown power late, stopping two of his last 4 opponents in the 10th round, but has also shown an ability to go 12 rounds with no real issue. He has however shown some struggles in his 9 fight winning run, notably struggling past the hard hitting Alexander Espinoza in November 2016.
At the age of 37 Otake is looking to set the Japanese record for the oldest man to win a world title, a record currently held by Hozumi Hasegawa when he claimed the WBC Super Bantamweight title. Despite being 37 he's a young 37, an amazing thing to say about someone who debuted back in December 2005 and has had more than 240 professional rounds. His toughness and physical strength however do explain, perhaps, why he has had such longevity. Notably he will have around 5” of height advantage over Dogboe, as well ad the huge gulf in experience.
Dogboe is, rightfully, the betting favourite. He's the young upstart who has been stopping world class fighters like Juarez and Dogboe and is the defending champion. This is, however a very different test for Dogboe than anything he's faced so far. He's going to be punching upwards against an insanely tough fighter, he's going to be in with a technically solid, though slow, fighter and going to have an opponent who won't back off. Otake has the ability to give Dogboe real problems, especially if Dogboe looks to take him out early and finds the Japanese fighter to be a bit of an immoveable object.
Otake has got a chance, he's the under-dog for a reason, but has the ability to keep Dogboe on the back foot and at range, frustrate him with his long right hand and look to “old man” Dogboe out of rounds. We don't know if he'll be able to do that for 12 rounds against someone as unpredictable as Dogboe, but we certainly see him having some real moments here. Sadly though we think those moments for Otake will be too few and far between, with Dogboe taking a wide decision, but one he will really have to earn.
It's fair to say this weekend is a monster weekend for boxing fans all around the world with major fights taking place with fighters from Thailand, China, the Philippines, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, Ukraine, UK, Colombia and the USA. It's a day that really brings the global idea of boxing all into one giant melting.
One of the more over-looked bouts will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) attempt to become a world champion as he travels to the UK to take on the unbeaten Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22), the current WBA Super Bantamweight champion. The bout was a controversial one when it was announced, given that Otake wasn't in the WBA top 15 ranked fighters, but it is nice to see Otake given his shot at the top. We'll admit that we're not fans of the bout in many ways but we do suspect it will entertaining for as long as it lasts.
Quigg, for those who haven't seen him, is one of the most naturally strong Super Bantamweights on the planet. He's not the smoothest of movers, though he can move relatively lightly on his toes, but he is an aggressive fighter who applies a lot of pressure in an attempt to break opponents down with heavy shots that are sharp and accurate. Sadly however he come under a lot of criticism for avoiding other top Super Bantamweights and instead facing a string of smaller men such as Diego Oscar Silva, Tshifhiwa Munyai amd Stephane Jamoye, all natural Bantamweights. Whilst it's true to say that Quigg has had to face some men on short notice following injuries to opponents it does still seem frustrating to follow his career and not see him in the ring with fighters like Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Kiko Martinez and domestic rival Kid Galahad.
Questions regarding Quigg are how he handles a real boxer-mover, how he handles a true Super Bantamweight and he he handles a proven world class opponent. Sadly we've yet to see him do any of that which is a shame as it seems he wants to prove himself but isn't being matched in a way that sees him fighting some of the best in the division. What we see with his match making is the British fighter being matches with men who make him look good and make him look stronger and better than he is. We suspect that may be the case again here.
Otake is, in many ways, similar to Quigg. He's an offensive fighter first and foremost. Sadly where Quigg is strong, powerful and hurtful with his shorts Otake is more of a grinder who lands a lot of shots in the hope of every shot taking some effect. It's the fact Otake has great stamina that saw him winning the Japanese title and subsequently notching up 4 defenses before vacating the belt a few months ago to focus on world title bouts. All 5 of his Japanese title bouts were won on points with several of them being amazingly close, including his technical decision over Nobuhisa Coronita Doi his title winning effort against Takafumi Nakajima and his first defense, against Mikihito Seto.
Watching Otake in action is fun. He comes forward behind a tight guard and tried to cut the distance before letting his hands go. Unfortunately for those wanting to see him in action footage of his bouts are scarce with his bout against Yuji Maruyama being the only full fight we could track down. In that fight he looked "made to order" for Quigg who would love to fight that style of fight against Otake and sadly for the Japanese fighter that's what we're suspect will happen here.
We think Otake will fight with his hands up and walk forward attempting to apply constant pressure and this will lead to Quigg standing in front of him and giving us a phone booth, toe-to-toe battle. Sadly for Otake his lack of power will be the difference with Quigg's shots being more telling, more damaging and eventually too much for Otake who will be ground down at some point in the middle of the fight.
(Image, of Otake, courtesy of http://www.kaneko-boxing.com)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.