This past Saturday we saw the really surprising news break of a rematch between Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (90-5-2, 47), with the bout scheduled to take place on May 5th. The fight seemed to be very much out of left field, despite Kameda talking about a ring return since the very start of this year, in what was said to be planned as a one off for the former 3-weight world champion.
Over the last 24 hours however things have been revealed in regards to both fighters, explaining that both have a motivation to take this fight, and that's the need for money.
For those unaware these two men fought back in March 2010, with Wonjongkam travelling to Japan and dethroning Kameda of the WBC Flyweight title, reclaiming a title that the Thai had held from 2001 to 2007. The Thai icon would hold the title, in his second reign, from the win over Kameda to 2012, when he was upset by Sonny Boy Jaro. He would goon to fight 8 times after that, going 7-1 (4) with a loss to Rey Megrino the only black mark on his record.
When he retired in 2013 Wonjongkam had fought 97 times in career that had began in 1994, at the age of 17. He had gone 22-2-2 (8) in world title fights and had scored notable wins against Malcolm Tunacao, Luis Alberto Lazarte, Daisuke Naito (twice), Gilberto Keb Baas, Tomonobu Shimizu, Julio Cesar Miranda, Koki Kameda, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai and Edgar Sosa.
Sadly reports in the Thai press suggest that Pongsaklek was having money problems as far back as 2013, with women and gambling. That lead some fans to give the former fighter some sympathy, but other in Thailand had little to give, stating his lack of discipline and blaming him for not investing wisely.
Kameda's last fight came in 2015, against Kohei Kono in the USA, and despite losing that 3 weight former world champion didn't look like a man who was shot. Instead he was just up against a stylistic nightmare in Kono, who was too busy, too tough and too strong for the more naturally gifted Kameda..
Given the financial issues both men have found themselves in it could be that this supposed one off bout, will not be a one off for either men. We have seen fighters return to the ring in later life in Thailand, with a recent Muay Thai bout between 45 year old Samson Dutch Boy Gym and 48 year old Veeraphol Sahaprom, and seeing Pongsaklek return again wouldn't be a surprise. For Kameda, who is 31, this bout may well kick start a fully fledged comeback going forward, if he financially needs to. He's a trainer himself at Kyoei but will be well aware that having one last run as an active fighter will be better financially than just training the likes of his brother Tomoki Kameda.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces