Kenichi Ogawa Defeats Fuzile; Wins Vacant IBF Super Featherweight Title!

Kenichi Ogawa Becomes New IBF Champion

IBF super featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa flexes at weigh-in for Azinga Fuzile fight
Kenichi Ogawa

Kenichi Ogawa Outboxes Azinga Fuzile en route to UD Win

In his latest tour duty, Japanese fighter Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1, 18 KO’s) picked up his second consecutive win since his December 2019 draw with Joe Noynay. With his win over Azinga “Golden Boy” Fuzile (15-1, 9 KO’s), Ogawa picked up the vacant IBF super featherweight title. The title became vacant when the former owner, Joseph Diaz, moved up to lightweight.

The defeat will be costly for the #2 (IBF) ranked Fuzile who was just one fight removed from his sole professional loss to Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov on September 29, 2019. After bouncing back with a April 29 win over Martin Ward, it’s unclear where he will go from here.

As for Ogawa, who was ranked #3 (IBF) entering the match, the sky’s the limit. It will be interesting to see how he follows this win up. Ideally the new champion will attempt unification bouts with either Shakur Stevenson (WBO) or Oscar Valdez (WBC).

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While this was not a run-away win, it was most certainly a dominant and impressive victory for Ogawa. The first half of the prizefight was more-or-less a slower affair that saw the more aggressive Japanese fighter pursuing the counter-punching Fuzile.

The bout really began shifting in Ogawa’s favor in the fifth when he caught the Golden Boy with a straight left that locked his legs. In intelligent fashion, Fuzile took a willing knee when Ogawa came in for the finish. For as bad as he was hurt, Fuzile had a decent sixth round. Over the next several rounds, the fight slipped into a slower pace once again.

The road got seriously rocky for Fuzile once again in the ninth as Ogawa caught and hurt the South African with numerous straight right-hands to the head and body. While he didn’t go down the Golden Boy picked up a cut over his right eye. Then in the tenth an accidental clash of heads left a huge gash over Fuzile’s left eye.

Despite bleeding from both eyes and his nose, the South African fought hard in the eleventh and clipped Ogawa with numerous quality shots. It was a short-lived stand as his Japanese adversary dropped him twice in the twelfth and final round. The first time came about a minute in and the second with about 15 seconds to go. 

From a moral standpoint, there is no doubt that Fuzile will be happy to have finished on his feet. Yet having been put down three times and left bleeding like he was in a knife fight, this was certainly a deflating night in the office for Fuzile. As for Ogawa, this was a great win that resulted in the vacant IBF title being wrapped around his waist. It will be fun to see how he follows up this hard-fought victory.

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By: Bakari Simpson

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