For the first time in history we got the chance to see an All Japanese world title fight take place in the US on Friday night, and we got a treat in a brutal, high paced, all action FOTY contender. And an Upset of the Year contender.
The fight in question saw the criminally under-rated Kohei Kono (31-8-1, 13) shock countryman Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) and retain the WBA Super Flyweight title, whilst potentially setting a big Macau show down.
The bout saw two men, who had been jibing each other for months, go straight to action with both men having a shout to claim an action packed opening round. Despite the great back-and-forth it was clear the referee wasn't going to take any infractions and in round 2 took a point from Kameda for low blows, in a horror round that has also seen him dropped. Another deduction from the challenger was made in round 3 as well and although Kameda was more than holding his own the deductions were certainly not doing him any favours at all.
In the middle the challenger started to set himself. The southpaw bad-boy seemed to manage to hurt the champion, sadly however it was the referee who was beginning to get more attention than the fighters with much being made of Celestino Ruiz's bizarre decisions, which included another deduction in round 9.
Kameda had put a lot into the middle rounds and had failed to make the most of his natural boxing and speed to engage in a war. The decision had been a bad one and in the later rounds his pace began to slow and Kono began to have the fight swing back his way as his energy reserves and toughness took over.
The desire of the champion was simply be too much for the challenger who had fought the wrong fight and had in fact fought his opponents fight. The tactics of Kameda may have made for a great fight, and the terrible officiating of the referee may have been almost inept, but the fight had been thrilling and the wait for the cards was equally so. Thankfully however the judges got it right giving the win to Kono by scores of 113-111, 115-109 an 116-108.
Now there are rumours of Kono looking towards a fight with Rex Tso, however a rematch with Kameda, a unification bout with Naoya Inoue or a clash with interim champion David Sanchez would certainly make interestingly alternatives. For Kameda this hits his dream of becoming a 4-weight world champion, however the performance will likely see fans showing him some respect. Sadly for Kameda however this could well be the sort of result that damages the reputation of the “Kameda Klan” who have now lost 4 fights this year between them, a really worrying figure.
The ever popular Koki Kameda (31-1, 17) successfully retained his WBA Bantamweight title earlier today by winning a wide decision over Filipino challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-3-3, 4).
Koki, the first ever 3-weight world champion from Japan seemed to hardly break sweat as took control of the bout from the opening round. There wasn't much action from the off but what there was came mainly from Koki who applied intelligent and controlled pressure. Although Koki himself wasn't throwing much it appeared that Apolinario was throwing even less as Koki stalked and picked his spots when Apolinario was backed on to the ropes.
Offensively it was astute from the champion who, when called upon to be defensive knew what to do as he put his hands up and allowed the powder-puff punches of the challenger to bounce off his guard. It was obvious that when Koki came forward he was effective, not the most exciting but effective, when Apolinario came forward however there little effectiveness and little clean that landed.
In the middle Apolinario did manage to make one or two rounds interesting, though that had more to do with the fact that Koki seemed to be sleep walking through the contest rather than forcing the pace of the bout to step up. The few times Koki did put his foot on the gas he appeared unable to miss with his wicked southpaw left hand.
Despite it being Koki's straight that had caught the eye through much of the contest it was actually a right hook that that put Apolinario down in round 10. Although the challenger appeared to have recovered quickly and even seemed to race over to Kameda following the mandatory 8 count he offered little to no offense in the rest of the round.
With the bout all but sealed on the cards going in to the the final round it was nice to see Koki going up another gear as he searched for the finish that the fans had been wanting. He managed again to drop the Filipino challenger though his assault came probably a round or two too late with Apolinario still having the toughness to see out the attack and reach the final bell.
Following several poor performances and questionable results this was nice to see Koki actually looking confident and relaxed in the ring. Sure Apolinario is far from a genuine world level opponent though it was the type of performance that should help Koki remember why he's a world champion. Don't get us wrong Koki wasn't without faults here but he certainly put on a controlled yet dominant performance, that perhaps only lacked the exclamation point of a stoppage
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.