By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
After a fourteen-month hiatus caused by a suspension after testing positive in a doping test, hard-punching Kenichi Ogawa (23-1-1NC, 17 KOs), 132, returned to ring warfare and defeated Philippine lightweight ruler Roldan Aldea (11-7-1, 6 KOs), 131.25, by a unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 99-92) over ten hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
Ogawa was once declared a winner over Tevin Farmer and a new IBF 130-pound champ in Las Vegas in December 2017, but a doping test result forfeited his newly acquired belt and the fight result was reversed to no contest. Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended him for six months, while the JBC announced a more strict punishment for a year to force the prospect inactive until December 9 of the previous year.
Ogawa, however, didn’t look ring rusty at all, battering the game southpaw all the way to pile up points steadily. He had the durable Aldea at bay in round seven, but the Filipino admirably withstood Ogawa’s solid onslaught.
In a semi-windup, unbeaten WBC#4 Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13 KOs), 112, acquired the vacant Japanese belt (renounced by Masayuki Kuroda who will have a mandatory shot at Moruti Mthalane’s IBF belt) when he halted JBC#2 Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8 KOs), 112, at 0:23 of the ninth round. Nakatani, a talented 21-year-old southpaw, attempted to finish his foe in the opening session, but he regained his composure from the second on and swept almost all rounds prior to a well-received stoppage by the ref Nakamura.
Bright prospect with a good amateur mark of 102-10, Gonte Lee, 140, made a fine professional debut by demolishing Thailand’s Aphisit Namkhot (1-2, 1 KO), 138.75, with a single southpaw left at 3:08 of the opening canto in a scheduled six. He is worth watching.