Earlier today the Tokyo District Court made their ruling on the case between the Kameda family and the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC).
The case stems from an issue in 2013 where Daiki Kameda retained the IBF Super Flyweight title, despite losing to Liborio Solis in a unification bout, due to Solis failing to make weight. The rule for Kameda to remain champion followed the IBF rules, though it appears the JBC were told that if Kameda lost he would lose his title. Something TBS were seemingly told as well.
After losing the bout Kameda continued to hold the title which left anger from fans in Japan, and later lead to the JBC holding a hearing that later saw the Kameda gym being stripped of their license and essentially being "exiled" from the sport in Japan.
Originally the Kameda clan had tried to essentially sue the JBC for ¥660,000,000. The decision from the court was much less than that, with the court deciding that the payment would be ¥45,500,000 in total.
The break down of the ¥45,500,000 is interesting. From that ¥12,000,000 is set to go to Koki Kameda, ¥11,000,000 to Tomoki Kameda, ¥7, 500,000 to Daiki and ¥15,000,000 to Kameda promotions.
Interestingly the lawyer who was there on behalf of the Kameda's explained that they may appeal and that he was very dissatisfied by the amount, but was satisfied with other aspects of the rule.
A huge worry now is the financial status of the JBC. Their financial statements said they had around ¥6,200,000 in assets at the end of 2018, and there is now genuine worry about whether they will survive, and the future governing of the sport in Japan.
Worrying news for Japanese boxing is being reported by the Asahi Shinbun, suggest the JBC could be on the verge of bankruptcy due to a lawsuit brought against it by the Kameda brothers.
Several years ago the Kameda's brought a ¥660 million lawsuit against the JBC. It seems unlikely the court will side in the Kameda's to the full amount, but those involved in the situation are reporting that the JBC may be ordered to pay ¥40 million by a district court. That would be more than the JBC could afford, at least given their net worth in 2018 was a reported ¥6.2 million.
At the moment the full settlement hasn't been made official, with the settlement expected to be made on January 31st. It's then expected to be appealed to a high court down the line.
If the court rules in the way that is being reported it will leave the future of the JBC in a very tough place, and could either see the JBC declared bankrupt or have a long term payment arrangement put in place with the Kameda's to repay the full amount.
The ruling is likely to be appealed to a higher level of court down the line.
Over the weekend there was real confusion over the future of the legendary Kyoei gym. A press conference was held on Saturday with Keiichiro Kanehira announcing that he was stepping down as the gym's chairman due to issues with the gym's owners, and that the gym's activities in professional boxing would be suspended. Soon after that announcement the website stated that the media had got it wrong and the gym wasn't set to close.
Today we saw some clarity, and it wasn't great news for the gym.
Mr Kanehira visited the East Japan Boxing Association offices in Tokyo where he submitted the notice to suspend pro boxing at the gym. The association accepted the notice and with Mr Kanehira stepping down as chairman the gym is essentially without a license.
Reports from Japan suggest that on November 27th tensions escalated to breaking point, and that was when a decision was essentially made for Kanehira's contract with the gym to end. Mr Kanehira stated there had been monetary troubles, though specific details were unclear at the time.
Whilst the gym is expected to restart professional boxing activity in the future, this very much seems like a real issue of trust and finances. The once powerful Kyoei has fallen behind Teiken in recent years, and the gym that Mr Kanehira's father had established is now a shadow of what it once was.
Although personal issues between Mr Kanehira and the gym owners seem to be central to the gym suspending it's activities it is worth noting that two of the gym's fighters, Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) [亀田京之介] and Takeshi Takehara (5-0, 1) [竹原毅], are pencilled in for the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year Finals on December 22nd. They look very much like innocent victims of the situation, and the hope is the JBC will allow them to transfer to a new gym sooner rather than later.
Interestingly the Kameda Gym, who have long had Mr Kanehira as strong ally, may well look at this as a chance to petition the JBC for a new license under Mr Kanehira. Though that is speculation on our behalf, as a potential work around more than anything that has gotten mentioned in the Japanese press.
(image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In 2014 the Kameda Gym was stripped of it's professional boxing license by the JBC, who went further than just stripping the gym but also it's management stripping the licenses of both gym Chairman Yoshi Shinji and that of gym manager Shima Satoshi. With the licenses being revoked following a situation where Daiki Kameda [亀田 大毅] lost in a unification bout to Liborio Solis, but kept his title as Solis missed weight. The issues was said to have annoyed both the JBC and the Japanese boxing fans, who had felt mislead, being informed that a loss would see Kameda lose the belt.
Now it seems the JBC will issue both Mr Shinji and Mr Shima their licenses back as they begin to try and let the gym re-enter Japanese boxing.
At the moment the three fighters linked to the gym, the Kameda brothers, are no longer there. Both Daiki, and Koki Kameda [亀田 興毅] have retired and taken over the duties of trainers, whilst Tomoki Kameda (34-2, 20) [亀田和毅] has transferred to the Kyoei gym, who have backed him in his last two fights and helped him to fight back in Japan.
What is interesting however is that Koki has began training a new novice, one of the fighters he faced in a special show on AbemaTV. It could well be that that fighter will sign with the Kameda gym when it reopens, ahead of his proposed debut later in the year.
As a result of the two men getting their licenses back they have agreed to drop their damage claims against the JBC. The same however cannot be said of the Kameda brothers, who are trying trying to sue the JBC for a large sum, said to be the equivalent of 2 years of fight money. That case is still pending but we suspect thecase may have been harmed by the fact that all 3 Kameda's were either active during much of that two year period, with all 3 fighting in the US, or injured, with Daiki under-going serious eye surgery at one point. That case is expected for some time and isn't likely to be dropped as easily as the damage case of Mr Shinji and Mr Satoshi.
Things just seem to go from bad to worse for the Kameda's and earlier today it was announced that both Koki Kameda (32-1, 17) and Daiki Kameda (29-4, 18) were to be removed from the Japanese rankings.
The two brothers have not fought at all this year they've been meaning more than 6 months of inactivity. The JBC, in accordance with their rules, have therefore taken both men from the rankings rather than allowing them to sit there taking up high ranking places.
This move is the latest in a string of JBC Vs Kameda brothers incidents which has, of course, seen the JBC strip the license away from the Kameda Gym and refuse to allow Shigeyuki Otake to become the president of the K3 gym. In effect this has left the Kameda's with out a home to fight from domestically with the JBC almost demanding them to transfer to a more trusted gym.
As for Tomoki Kameda, the current WBO Bantamweight champion, he is still recognised as a world title holder though he's not allowed to fight in Japan, just like his brothers. He's gotten around that by basing his next fight in the US though it appears that his bout won't be televised in either the US or Japan and it may end up only being shown on Thai TV of all places!
Although we won't second guess the Japanese Boxing Commission there is every chance that this this wasn't so much the JBC following their own rules as them again trying to force the Kameda's to either accept the situation they are in or force them out of the sport, at least in Japan.
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