Kenichi Ogawa, who controversially outpointed Tevin Farmer to win a vacant junior lightweight world title on Dec. 9 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, probably won't get to keep the 130-pound belt for long.
In a urine test conducted a few days before the fight -- but whose results were not returned until after the fight -- Ogawa was positive for two forms of androstanediol (synthetic testosterone) and he was suspended on Thursday at the Nevada State Athletic Commission's first meeting of 2018, the first time details of his positive test were made public.
Ogawa's postfight drug test was negative, but the A sample and B sample of his prefight test days earlier were both positive. Ogawa will have the opportunity for a hearing at the Feb. 14 commission meeting, although if his attorney, Joseph Brown, is not ready to proceed with the case, commission executive director Bob Bennett told ESPN that the commission would move the hearing to March "as a courtesy."
If the commission finds Ogawa guilty -- and it is highly unusual for there to be another outcome when both the A and B samples are positive -- he faces a possible two-year ban and a fine of up to $21,000 (30 percent of his $70,000 purse).
The result of the bout, which was part of an all-junior lightweight tripleheader on HBO, would also be changed to a no contest, which would then lead the IBF to strip Ogawa of its world title.
In his first fight in the United States, Ogawa (23-1, 17 KOs), 29, of Japan, won a split decision against Farmer (25-5-1, 5 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw from Philadelphia. Two judges gave the fight to Ogawa, 116-112 and 115-113, and one scored the fight 116-112 for Farmer, who appeared to clearly outbox and outpunch Ogawa, especially in the second half of the bout.
Last month, Farmer promoter Lou DiBella made a formal request to the IBF seeking that it order an immediate rematch. The IBF has yet to rule on the request, but now Farmer probably won't need one. Instead, he would be ordered to fight an opponent appointed by the IBF for the title should Ogawa be stripped.
"You want to talk about a roller-coaster ride," DiBella told ESPN after he was informed of Ogawa's positive test. "I'm sort of stunned by this. I thought Tevin Farmer won that fight. Ogawa put out a great effort in the fight. He was like an Energizer bunny. He was aggressive but not effectively aggressive and he took a lot of peppering from Tevin, and now to find out he tested positive is remarkable. It looks like Tevin Farmer is going to get the opportunity to win that title again after all."
DiBella reiterated his belief, one shared by many, that performance-enhancing drugs are a serious problem in boxing.
"I'm always disappointed to have it re-emphasized how big of a problem we have but I think there should be zero tolerance," DiBella said. "It's extremely prevalent and it's dangerous. That being said, there's a relief. After everything this guy (Farmer) went through, and to have that tainted loss that I didn't think was a loss at all -- now I will call Tevin Farmer and say, 'Guess what, buddy? Looks like you probably didn't lose.'"