Kenichi Ogawa made his unexpected shot at the vacant IBF junior lightweight title count, dropping Azinga Fuzile three times en route to a win by unanimous decision on the Lopez-Kambosos undercard.
Ogawa (26-1-1, 18 KO) was a substitute for Shavkat Rakhimov, who was supposed to rematch Fuzile for the belt that Joseph Diaz Jr lost on the scales earlier this year. When Rakhimov came up injured, Ogawa was ordered into the bout, and he definitely took advantage.
Scores were 114-111, 115-110, and 115-110 for Ogawa. Bad Left Hook scored it 116-109 for the Japanese fighter.
Fuzile (15-2, 9 KO) was a slight betting favorite coming in, but he couldn’t get going fighting off the back foot, as Ogawa simply didn’t make the mistakes Fuzile needed with that approach in order to score big shots of his own. Fuzile went down in the fifth round and had already been hurt — and had his nose bloodied badly — on a right hand earlier in the fight.
Fuzile was able to hang in, and he had a good charge in the eighth and 10th rounds especially, where he was getting on the front foot finally, but he still wasn’t able to turn the tide fully, as Ogawa had answers. Fuzile was dropped two more times in the 12th and final round, and was probably lucky that referee Ron Lipton gave him a fairly long time to recover after the first one, and that the second one came with just 13 seconds left in the fight. There was no question that Ogawa wanted to finish the fight and not leave it up to the judges.
More Lopez-Kambosos undercard results and highlights
- Raymond Ford TKO-8 Felix Caraballo: A fight that grew increasingly one-sided, as Ford (10-0-1, 6 KO) was just too fast and too sharp for Caraballo (13-4-2, 9 KO), who at 34 has now whiffed his way down the prospect ladder, so to speak, getting out-classed by Shakur Stevenson, Robeisy Ramirez, and Raymond Ford in his last three fights. Ford still has question marks, of course, he’s not some amazing blue chipper, but he is 22 years old and does have obvious skills and a real confidence in himself. Not the biggest puncher but if he lets his hands go in combination, it can add up on opponents. Still a very interesting prospect and Matchroom clearly like him.
- Zhilei Zhang TKO-2 Craig Lewis: Can’t blame Zhang (23-0-1, 18 KO) for coming back soft after the major medical issues he had in his last fight, a draw with Jerry Forrest, but let’s be clear, this was soft, though Zhang made it stick by becoming the first man to stop Lewis, too. Lewis (14-5-1, 8 KO) is a 37-year-old journeyman from Detroit who hadn’t fought in 26 months and hasn’t won a fight since 2017, but he’s always been good to go rounds, including eight with Junior Fa and 10 with both Jermaine Franklin and Carlos Takam in his prior three bouts, all losses. Zhang drilled him with a shot that put Lewis down, and referee Shada Murdaugh really should have stopped the fight there, but he let it go on. Lewis had no legs and seemed to barely know where he was, and when he got dropped again, Murdaugh was still going to let it continue, but thankfully Lewis’ corner saved their fighter, because it was not going to be good.
Prelim undercard results and highlights
- Ramla Ali UD-4 Isela Vera: A pretty routine win for Ali, who is now 4-0 (0 KO) as a professional. Ali is 32 years old and has a lot going on outside of boxing, including her modeling career, so the question of how good she can really be as a pro boxer remains, and fighting opponents at this level really doesn’t tell us a lot. She’s yet to officially lose a round as a pro. But she is very likable, funny, and honest in interviews. She wasn’t terribly high on her own performance here, just as she wasn’t this past May after she won in Las Vegas.
- Christina Cruz UD-6 Maryguenn Vellinga: Cruz was a decorated U.S. amateur on a domestic level for many years. She’s now 2-0 (0 KO) as a pro, and she’s also 38 years old. This fight was no real challenge for her — scores were 59-55, 60-54, and 60-54 — and realistically if she wants to go after a world title, she might as well do it now. Fighters don’t get better from age 38 on. Cruz never had any real intention of turning pro, but she has. She could go after a belt or she could just walk away, it’ll be fully up to her. Given her age and experience level, putting her in with someone like Sulem Urbina next might be worthwhile. There’s no point in dragging it out, and I don’t mean that as criticism, I just mean it as the reality of Cruz’s situation. She can box, and she’s either capable of competing at top pro level now or she’s not going to be.
- Anthony Herrera TKO-2 Jonathan Herrera: Pro debuts for both. DAZN and the social media accounts were saying “Jonathan Tejeda,” but my results title there is not a typo. He’s Jonathan Herrera, they were just trying to avoid confusion. He was announced as Herrera at the weigh-in yesterday and by David Diamante for this fight. Anthony Herrera (1-0, 1 KO obviously) is a good prospect, the guy meant to be showcased here. You might argue the stoppage was a bit early but Jonathan Herrera wasn’t exactly looking great in there, either.