At the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, junior lightweight contender Kenichi Ogawa won a hard-fought and controversial 12 round split decision over Tevin Farmer. With the win, Ogawa won the vacant IBF junior lightweight title.
The southpaw Farmer (25-5-1, 5 KOs) built an early lead, outboxing the taller Ogawa. As the bout progressed and sensing he was down on the scorecards, Ogawa pressed the action, scoring more repeatedly than in the early rounds.
Both fighters had their moments in the final round, but two judges thought Ogawa (23-1, 17 KOs) did enough to win, awarding him the fight by scores of 116-112 and 115-113. The third judge scored the bout 116-112 for Farmer.
Farmer was furious with the scorecards. HBO had Farmer winning by a sizable margin - telling their viewers that it was an 8-4 or a 9-3 fight in Farmer's favor.
The boxer was shot in his hand earlier this year while trying to break up an altercation and he also went through a bad bicep injury. He was emotionally stunned when the decision was announced.
"I worked too hard to get robbed. I performed my tail off and positive I deserved the victory. Keep in mind that I had a 8 month layoff because of some injuries (shot in hand and torn bicep) and even though It took a while to get my groove I still feel I deserved to be a champion tonight. That's twice I get robbed in row! It's just not fair," Farmer said.
Ogawa is now going to look for bigger things, in Japan and the United States. The tough slugger is backed by Teiken Promotions, who have a stable of stars in Japan and internationally like Roman Gonzalez, Jorge Linares, Naoya Inoue, Carlos Cuadras and many others.
"It is the best day of my life. I can’t believe it. I work so hard to get to this point is an incredible feeling. But now I am going to be working even harder and will get a lot better," Ogawa said.