Hulu Theater, Madison Square Garden, New York City - Japan’s Kenichi Ogawa parlayed three knockdowns to a world championship, as he won the vacant IBF junior lightweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over South Africa’s Azinga Fuzile.

Scores were 115-110, 115-110 and 114-111 for Ogawa, now 26-1-1 with 18 KOs. Fuzile falls to 15-2 with 9 KOs.

The first round was largely tactical, Ogawa pursuing while Fuzile looked to counter. The pattern continued in round two, but this time, Ogawa got in some stiff jabs while Fuzile’s counters began hitting their mark with more regularity.

In the third, Ogawa continued trying to make it a physical fight, but Fuzile was winning that battle by practicing the sweet science from long range, even jarring his opponent with a straight left before Ogawa surged and tried to steal the round. A fourth round clash of heads opened a cut under Ogawa’s eye, but the round was close, with Ogawa’s crowd-pleasing flurries hitting air and shoulders for the most part.

A right hand by Ogawa stunned Fuzile in the fifth, and as the Japan native rushed in, Fuzile wisely took a knee. Once upright, the South African went on the defensive, content to recover and let his foe have that round instead of trying to win a firefight.

Ogawa was patient in his attack as the bout reached the midway mark, but he was clearly in control. Fuzile had a nice bounce-back round in the seventh, and that momentum carried into the eighth stanza as Ogawa’s work rate slowed.

The Tokyo product got busy again in round nine, nailing Fuzile with right hands and opening a cut under his right eye. The cut was bothering Fuzile, and Ogawa made sure to target it with his jab before firing more rights.

Round ten saw Fuzile take the role of aggressor as he tried to turn things around, and he had a good frame to lead into the championship rounds.

The 11th was close, with Fuzile refusing to give in while Ogawa’s spurts of inactivity allowed the ‘Golden Boy” to keep hope alive. But in the 12th round, a right hand by Ogawa again stunned Fuzile and prompted him to take a knee, with the South African hitting the deck once more before the final bell tolled.