By Joe Koizumi
Photo: Boxing Beat
Japanese southpaw Koki Kameda (24-1, 15 KOs), 118, acquired the vacant WBA bantamweight belt as he finally caught ex-WBA 115-pound champ Alexander Munoz (35-4, 27 KOs), 118, dropped him with a left-right combination in the last round and pounded out a unanimous decision over twelve hot frames on Sunday in Saitama, Japan. The official tallies were as follows: Levi Martinez (US) 115-111, Pint Prayadsab (Thailand) 116-109, and Jose Roberto Torres (Puerto Rico) 117-109, all in favor of the 24-year-old Kameda. The referee was Roberto Ramirez (Puerto Rico).
For Kameda it was his third belt in as many different divisions, but it was true Munoz, 31, wasn’t who he used to be, and neither had any credentials in this 118-pound category.
It was a see-saw affair as Munoz kept throwing roundhouse punches, and Kameda defended himself with a peek-a-boo guard and occasionally countered with southpaw lefts. The sixth saw Munoz penalized a point because of repeated rabbit punches.
In the final session Kameda came out fighting and exploded a left-right combination to the fading Venezuelan and sent him reeling to the deck. Kameda had him at bay and almost stunned him again with solid shots to the groggy ex-champ.
Koki Kameda at first acquired the WBA 108-pound belt by a hotly disputed decision over Venezuelan Juan Landaeta. He gained the WBC flyweight throne by defeating compatriot Daisuke Naito, but lost it to the interim titleholder Pongsaklek Wongjongkam. Koki escaped from the flyweight division, jumped up to the bantam class by skipping the 115-pound division.
Munoz, previously 7-0 against Japanese opponents in all world title bouts here, was expected to still possess his weapon and threat, but he miserably proved to be only a shell of himself. He kept missing looping lefts and rights. Munoz attempted to score with body shots to the younger Kameda, but his body punches seems least effective. Probably Munoz had already lost his power-punching due to his decline on speed.
Munoz, in round one, started throwing wild punches to the cautious Japanese southpaw. He also took the second as he kept tossing wild combinations, regardless of precision.
The third and fourth might go to Kameda, who cleverly won points by throwing countering lefts economically just after Munoz missing roundhouse punches.
Munoz tried to stop the mobility of Kameda by throwing solid body shots, winning points in the fifth through seventh sessions. But Munoz was penalized a point for rabbit punches midway in round six.
As Munoz was obviously slowing down, Kameda occasionally landed solid lefts to win the seventh through tenth rounds.
In the twelfth and final session, Kameda displayed his youth and superior stamina in flooring the veteran Munoz to confirm his victory.
Kameda said after his victory, “I’m happy to dedicate this victory to my supporters and my family. I wish to be a good champion.” If so, we hope he will face a formidable challenger to be called the champion now that we see this elimination bout abruptly took place without our clear understanding based upon our common sense in boxing.
We, in Japan, have had dual-class world champs such as Fighting Harada (112, 118), Kuniaki Shibata (126, 130), Hiroki Ioka (105, 108), Takanori Hatakeyama (130, 135), Hideki Todaka (115, 118), and Koki Kameda (108, 112). Even if Kameda surpassed the seniors just on the number of championships he conquered, we hope he will never mention he is superior to those. Please not.
WBA supervisor: Alan Kim.
Promoter: Kusunoki Miyoshi Promotions.