By Miguel Maravilla at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
Japan’s Kenichi Ogawa (23-1, 17 KOs) won a split decision over Tevin “American Idol” Farmer (25-3-1, 5 KOs) to claim the vacant IBF junior lightweight world title on Saturday night at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Judges favored Ogawa’s aggression over Farmer’s punch volume. Scores were 116-112, 115-113 for Ogawa, 116-112 for Farmer.
The taller Ogawa backed Farmer landing big punches in the opening round. Ogawa landed the right hand solidly as the southpaw Farmer was on his feet backing away. In round three Ogawa stalked as Farmer used a spin move to stay away but Ogawa kept the pressure through the round.
Farmer connected against Ogawa in the fifth round with a left hook as the Japanese fighter lunged forward and the momentum appeared to be going Farmer’s way. Late in the sixth Ogawa landed a right hand that backed Farmer to the ropes as the Japanese attacked. Ogawa connected Farmer with the right in the seventh but Farmer continued to be slick. Boxing away Farmer landed a left hand in round eight as Ogawa appeared to be frustrated by Farmer’s elusiveness.
Late in the ninth, Farmer had the rhythm going being the slick fighter as Ogawa stuck the jab and stalked. Ogawa connected with a right hand in the tenth but Farmer continued to be the faster-handed fighter tallying up points. In the championship rounds, Ogawa applied pressure as Farmer continued to be slick. In the twelfth and final round, Ogawa was the aggressor as he sensed the urgency, Farmer played it safe staying away and elusive.