Kenichi Ogawa is set for his third title fight on the road.
The defending IBF junior lightweight titlist travels to hostile territory for the first defense of his belt, as he faces unbeaten contender Joe Cordina. Both boxers made weight for their scheduled 12-round bout, which headlines a DAZN show from Motorpoint Arena in Cordina’s hometown of Cardiff, Wales.
Tokyo’s Ogawa weighed 129.55 pounds for his third career fight outside of his native Japan, all coming in title fights. Cordina tipped the scales at a fighting ready 129.95 pounds for his first career title fight.
Ogawa previously won the IBF belt in a highly questionable twelve-round, split decision over Tevin Farmer in a December 2017 vacant title fight in Las Vegas where most felt the verdict should have gone the other way. Ogawa’s reign lasted just four months, as he was stripped of the belt after testing positive for androstanediol along with being issued a six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC) doubled down, suspending Ogawa for one year after becoming the first Japanese boxer to lose a title due to testing positive for a banned substance.
Ogawa is 4-0-1 (1KOs) since that development, no win bigger than his twelve-round decision over South Africa’s Azinga Fuzile last November 27 to reclaim the vacant title.
Cordina (14-0, 8KOs) steps into the lion’s den as he completed his fifth year in the pro ranks. The 30-year-old Welshman enters off his most notable win to date, a ten-round shutout of unbeaten Miko Khatchatryan last December in Liverpool. Oddsmakers are impressed enough by his boxing skills and perhaps hometown advantage, as Cordina enters as a -170 betting favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
The show also features the latest step in the career of first-year pro Skye Nicolson (3-0, 0KOs), a Tokyo Olympics quarterfinalist for Australia who turned pro on March 5. The 26-year-old southpaw from Yatala, Australia will fight for the fourth time in 91 days, doubling as her first scheduled eight-rounder as she faces Uruguay’s Gabriel Bouvier (15-10-1, 3KOs).
Nicolson weighed 127½ pounds for their featherweight bout, while the well-traveled Bouvier came in at 127.35 pounds for her first fight in the UK
Also on the card, unbeaten all-action fighter Dalton Smith (10-0, 8KOs) was 139.85 pounds for his scheduled 10-round junior welterweight contest versus Argentina’s Mauro Perouene (14-5-1, 7KOs) who weighed 139.65 pounds.
Below are the weights for the rest of the undercard.
Faroukh Kourbanov (19-3, 3KOs), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 129.15 pounds vs. Zelfa Barrett (27-1, 16KOs), Manchester, UK, 129.9 pounds—12 rds, junior lightweight
Gamal Yafai (18-2, 10KOs), Birmingham, UK, 124.9 pounds vs. Sean Cairns (8-3, 2KOs), Liverpool, 124½ pounds—8 rds, junior featherweight
Calum French (2-0, 1KO), Gatehead, Tyne and Wear, UK, 137.4 pounds vs. Gadatamen Taylor (4-9-1, 0KOs), Gbarnga, Liberia, 137.85 pounds—8 rds, junior welterweight
Kyran Jones (3-0, 1KO), Hengoed, Wales, 163.8 pounds vs. Vasif Mamedov (2-17-3, 0KOs), Southampton, UK, 164¼ pounds —rds, middleweight
Joe Morgan (3-0, 1KO), Aberdale, Wales, 143¾ pounds vs. Rustem Fatkhullin (8-32, 3KOs), Southampton, UK, 144.3 pounds—4rds, welterweight
Ben Crocker (3-0, 1KO), Swansea, Wales, 149.85 pounds vs. Evgenii Vazem (9-29, 4KOs), Southampton, UK, 151.95 pounds—4rds, welterweight
Monique Bux (pro debut), Cardiff, Wales, 167.1 pounds vs. Ester Konecna (1-15-1, 0KOs), Ostrava, Czech Republic, 160.6 pounds—4 rds, super middleweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox