We don't see many unification bouts in boxing, sadly, though when we do they are always worth extra atrention as two world class fighters share the ring, each looking to prove they are the better man. Sometimes things don't really go as planned, and in 2013 we saw a unification go awry after one of the fighters missed weight for the bout. Technically it was still a unification bout, if the fighter who made weigh won, though due to a technicality with the IBF rules if their champion, who had made weight, lost they would remain the champion. That would later become a huge issue for all involved, and sadly left a nasty taste in the mouth following what was an incredible bout, a bout that is still over shadowed by boxing politics.
Daiki Kameda (29-3, 18) Vs Liborio Solis (15-3-1, 7)
It was December 2013 and Daiki Kameda, the middle child of the Kameda boxing family, was the IBF Super Flyweight champion. In the opposite corner was WBA former champion Liborio Solis who had been stripped on the scales the previous day for coming in at 117.5lbs for the bout. The IBF rules dictated that win or lose Kameda would remain the champion, rules that weren't well explained to the fans or TBS, the broadcaster. Despite Solis being stripped of his title the WBA belt was still up for grabs for Kameda, who could become a double champion.
Up to this point Kameda had been a hugely controversial figure in Japanese boxing, with his 2007 performance against Daisuke Naito still leaving a bitter taste in the memory of fans. That bout, for those unaware, saw Kameda repeatedly foul Naito, throw him around and state he would commit harakiri if he lost, despite the loss Kameda, thankfully, didn't go through with the suicide. He would have a 12 month ban for that performance, though on to rebuild his name. Kameda would become a world champion in 2010 and 2-weight in 2013, thanks to a fantastic win over Rodrigue Guerrero.
Solis had long been a criminally under-rated Venezuelan warrior. He had suffered 3 losses in his first 13 bouts but had rebuilt well with 6 straight wins including notable wins against Rafael Concepcion, Jose Salgado and Kohei Kono, with the win over Kono coming in a thriller in Tokyo where both men were dropped. It was that win over Kono that saw Solis become the WBA champion, and saw him being welcomed back to Japan for the Kameda fight.
On paper Solis had the chance to have a decent fan support against the decisive Kameda, had he made weight. By failing to make weight however he had turned those who had wanted to see him win against him, enhancing the pro-Kameda fan base. Despite the fans being well against him Solis didn't let that affect him, and instead he took a composed mentality into the ring, launching attacks with hooks and big right hands as Kameda tried to apply pressure. Kameda managed to back up Solis, but in the early going Solis ate up the pressure and tagged Kameda with hard counter shots.
By the mid way point the style of the fight had changed slightly, with Solis pressing forward more, trying to back Kameda off with his power shots and volume. It seemed as if Kameda's resilience was wearing down as we got through the middle section of the fight, with round 8 being a particularly tough one for the Japanese fight, who was dragged into a toe-to-toe war in the round of the fight.
To his credit Kameda gritted out a few hard rounds and tried to turn it all around late on. He knew he had to do something big in the final rounds and he failed, losing in an entertaining bout, but not one that was never in contention as a FOTY contender. It was just a solid, hard hitting and pulsating contest.
Sadly for Kameda the IBF's decision not to strip him later lead to the JBC stripping the Kameda gym of their licenses and incensed Japanese fans who felt they had been lied to. This essentially ended the Kameda family as a major force in Japanese boxing, and it took years before any of the clan would fight in Japan. It would also be close to 2 years until Daiki fought again, retiring after an upset loss in his return to Victor Ruiz in 2015.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features