Late on Saturday Japanese fight fans had the chance to watch a press conference featuring former 3-weight world champion Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) [亀田 興毅] talking about his ring return, with the press conference being shown on Abema TV. The press conference was promoted heavily on Friday, with Abema and Koki both drawing attention to the event, which was being used to announce Koki's 1 off return to the ring.
At that press conference Kameda announced that his return would see him face Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (90-5-2, 47) [พงษ์ศักดิ์เล็ก วันจงคำ] in a rematch of Kameda's first professional loss.
The 40 year old Thai, a 2-time WBC Flyweight, hasn't fought since a 2013 win over Falazona Fidal to reach 90 wins. His long career saw him establish himself as one of the most notable Thai boxers,and he notched up numerous key wins, including victories over Malcolm Tunacao, Luis Aberto Lazarte, Daisuke Naito, Gilberto Keb Baas, Tomonobu Shimizu, Julio Cesar Miranda, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, Takuya Kogawa, Edgar Sosa and of course Kameda. Sadly though he would go on too long, and suffer late career stoppage defeats to Sonny Boy Jaro and Rey Megrino.
Kameda on the other hand claimed world titles at Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Bantamweight. His career was a controversial one at times, but he was one of the most notable Japanese fighters of his era and scored notable wins over Juan Jose Landaeta, Daisuke Naito and Hugo Ruiz. His last fight came in 2015, when he was out pointed by Kohei Kono in a Super Flyweight title bout.
From what we understand this rematch will take place on May 5th at Bantamweight, and will take place at the Korakuen Hall. It's likely to be the final bout for men.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Earlier today fans at the International Conference Hall in Nagoya saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (30-7-1, 18) [林翔太] take part in his retirement ceremony, as he officially ended his long and memorable career.
The 30 year old made his professional debut in September 2005 and would go on to claim the Japanese title in 2016, when he beat Noriyuki Ueno with a 10 round decision. As the champion he would go on to make one defense, out pointing former world champion Akifumi Shimoda, though would lose the title in April 2017 when he was stopped in 3 rounds by Kosuke Saka. Following the loss to Saka we only saw Hayashi fight twice, defeating Markquil Salvana in September last year before being beating by Mark Magsayo last November.
At today's ceremony Hayashi was thanked by his trainer who gave a speech, thanking his former charge for having had the opportunity to work with him and experience winning a Japanese title together, before wishing him the best in his post-fighting life. As for Hayashi himself he thanked everyone who had helped and supported his career.
We'd also like to wish Hasyashi the best in his post boxing career, and thank him for the memories of his bouts with Ueno, Shimoda, Saka and Magsayo.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans had the chance to see rising prospect Kento Hatanaka (5-0, 5) [畑中 建人] take a huge step up in class, and shine as he stopped former Japanese title challenger Kenta Matsui (8-8, 1) [松井謙太].
The talented youngster, who had fought just 10 rounds prior to today's bout, took control of this one very early as he inflicted a cut on Matsui's left eye in the opening round.
The cut was a huge target for Hatanaka who looked sharp and accurate as he tagged at the cut with his jab. The cut worsened as the fight went on, and twice forced a doctors inspection in round 4.
The cut was clearly a growing issue for the fighter, and officials, but in the end it wasn't the key factor in the fight with Hatanaka hurting Matsui in round 5 and forcing the referee to stop the bout as Hatanaka began to unload.
This is a second straight loss for Matsui, who also lost in a Japanese Minimumweight title fight in December against champion Reiya Konish. It should be noted however that this is is only his second stoppage loss, with the other being an 8th round loss in 2016 to Tetsuya Hisada. Whilt that might sound terribe for Matsui it really does show how much promise Hatanaka has and how impressive today's win was.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over the last few years we have seen Japanese fighters put on the fast track to success, with a number of Japanese youngsters racing their way to titles and notable victories. One of the most notable of those is former WBO Minimumweight and Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成], who became a world champion 5th fight and a 2 weight champion in his 8th.
Today Tanaka began his pursuit of a third divisional world title as he took on Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (10-1-1, 7) and gave the visitor his first defeat, stopping him in the 9th round of a fairly one-sided contest.
Tanaka looked to control the distance early on, using his speed and jab though was clearly cautious of Baldonado's dangerous power shots. As the bout went on though Tanaka became more aggressive, bullying Baldonado on to the ropes in round 3, and dropping him with a series of body shots in round 4. Baldonado was clearly in pain from the body assault but showed his toughness to beat the count, and get saved by the bell.
To his credit the Filipino gritted his teeth and looked to turn the fight around from rounds 5 and 6 as he showed his resolve. That however wasn't enough and in round 9 Tanaka again found the place for his body shots and badly hurt Baldonado, with the referee saving the Filipino.
After the fight Tanaka and WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura has some friendly words and it's clear that Tanaka is wanting to fight for a Flyweight title next time out,. On this performance he looks ready and like he has developed into a Flyweight well, but Kimura will be a much tougher tests than Baldonado was here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Jakarta will get the chance to see unbeaten loal prospect Tibo Monabesa (16-0-2, 8) defending his World Boxing Council International Silver Light Flyweight title, as he takes on Filipino Lester Abutan (12-7-3, 6). Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both fighters came in at an identical weight for the bout whilst making the limit, and both men looked in great shape.
The champion will be making his second defense of the title, which he won in January 2017 when he defeated Rene Patilano. His only other defense saw him take a 4 round technical draw against Arnold Garde, despite the draw Monabesa was leading on all 3 cards at the time of the stoppage.
For Abutan the bout is a bit of a must win. Last December he was stopped by novice Ryota Yamauchi, and despite scoring a win against Rene Patilano last May he has been struggling for results in recent fights. The poor and inconsistent form of the Filipino has seen him go 5-5 in his last 10, with notable losses to not only Yamauchi but also to current world champion Ken Shiro and former world title challenger Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr.
The winner of this bout will take a huge step towards getting a world title fight, and it should be noted that Monabesa is ranked by 3 of the world title bodies, the WBA, WBC and WBO and will see this as a great chance to prepare for a bigger and better bout down the line, as he looks to become the saviour for Indonesian boxing.
(Image courtesy of Mikko Marttinen)
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