There are those who think Koki is great. He's a champion, he's claimed titles at 3 weights and he's a fighter who's bouts are extremely high profile and massively well watched.
There are of course others that dislike Koki. He's a loud mouth, he's cocky, he's easily matched, has had several controversial decisions in his favour and most tellingly he was filmed advising his brother to fight dirty in a major bout.
Whether you love him or hate Koki is big news in Japan.
On July 23rd Koki will be looking to score the 7th defense of his Bantamweight title as he takes on the WBA ranked #3 fighter John Mark Apolinario (17-2-3, 4) of the Philippines. A fighter who has twice drawn with former 2-weight world champion Roberto Vasquez in bouts for thhe WBA Bantamweight interim title.
The challenger fighting in Japan for the first time is seen as a giant under-dog though comes in to the bout undefeated in 8 bouts dating back more than 4 years. Incidentally Koki's own unbeaten run is also 8 bouts, though dates back just over 3 years and has been fought at a much higher level.
In terms of the competition the two men have faced Koki has been in with the much better fighters. He has faced legendary Thai's including Saman Sorjaturong and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, former WBA interim Minimumweight champion Juan Jose Landaeta, Daisuke Naito, Alexander Munoz, David De La Mora and Hugo Ruiz all of whom are better than anyone Apolinario has faced.
As well as the competition, home advantage and experienced edge that Koki has he also has the more proven skills. Sure Apolinario has done 24 rounds with Vasquez but he certainly looked very limited in their second bout, a bout he was very fortunate to get a draw in. The challenger lacks he power needed to keep someone like Koki honest, he lacks the work rate to really push him and his movement is likely to become an issue here.
Koki for all his faults, and he has a lot, is a talented fighter. He is defensively very solid and often looks to land counter punches whilst using a high guard. At his best however Koki is a dominant front foot fighter who uses his fast hands to land clean shots to both the head and body of his opponent. Sadly it's been a while since we've really seen the best of Koki with arguably his bout against Mario Mcias being the most recent example.
Fortunately for Koki it's unlikely he'll need to be at his best to defeat Apolinario who in all honesty is a weak challenger. Dubbed the "Iceman" Apolinario will receive a cold reception from the crowd at the Tokyo Big Sight and from Kameda who will likely be set on making an impression after 3 less than impressive performances.
We're expecting Koki to take a round or 2 to see what Apolinario has got. Then as the champion grows in confidence he'll slowly break Apolinario down before probably forcing a stoppage in the middle rounds.
Many are hoping that if Kameda comes out of this with a win, as expected, he will face either the highly regarded Ryosuke Iwasa next or unify with WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka, a man some feel is the best Bantamweight on the planet.