Feature Story

Full Report: Pongsaklek-Kameda

By Joe Koizumi

WBC interim flyweight champ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (75-3-1, 39 KOs), 111.5, Thailand, unified the WBC 112-pound belts as he convincingly and impressively defeated previously unbeaten WBC full champ Koki Kameda (22-1, 14 KOs), 112, by a majority but well-received decision over twelve fast rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. It was an encounter of southpaw speedsters. The official tallies were as follows: John Keene (England) 116-112, Max DeLuca (US) 115-112, both for Pongsaklek and Predrag Aleksic (Montenegro) 114-114 (ridiculous score to be questioned by the WBC). The referee was Lupe Garcia (Mexico). This reporter tallied 116-111 for Pongasklek.

It was a one-sided affair totally dominated by the more experienced Thailander, who displayed his ring-craft all the way. The 32-year-old veteran toyed with the less experienced 23-year-old sensational Japanese with his speed and skills. The Kameda myth was miserably destroyed by Pongsaklek’s superior ring-generalship. Kameda, the most hated Japanese boxer because of his barbarous and unsportsmanlike behavior, gave Japanese fight fans the happiest night due to his first defeat.

Kameda’s flamboyance and big mouth had been socially criticized by the Japanese general public, which traditionally loves the simple, humble and modest sportsman. Kameda became an antithesis against general fight aficionados, while some modern fans paid their attention to the enfant-terrible, whose antisocial attitudes will be improved after this bitter defeat.

After the fourth round, the WBC open scoring system tallied: 40-36 and 39-37 for Pongasaklek and 38-38 (crazy). Even if you admitted Kameda’s opening attack in the initial round, it was obvious that Pongsaklek was in command with his accurate combinations in the second through fourth sessions.

The fifth saw a head-collision opening a nasty gash over Kameda’s right eyebrow. The WBC eye-cut rule deducted a point from the aggressive Thailander, but it became a great nuisance for Kameda to fight on, as usual. They again head-butted to suffer a slight gash each other, but the WBC rule wasn’t applied upon their second heat-butt in the round.

Pongsaklek became sharper and sharper as the contest progressed. He dominated the sixth and eighth with his combinations with precision, while Kameda, because of frustration, became less positive and less aggressive only to keep circling and throwing a punch at a time.

The open scoring system publicly disclosed the interim tallies after the eighth: 77-74 and 77-72 for Pongsaklek and 76-75 for Kameda (ridiculous).

Kameda desperately took the ninth by a slight margin with his desperate aggression, while Pongsaklek unanimously dominated the last three rounds from the tenth canto. Pongsaklek, as our press people greatly praised, looked best in his career, moving in and out and battering the gory opponent Kameda with his marvelous combos down the stretch.

Seven years ago, then 17-year-old Kameda experienced sparring sessions with the then formidable WBC flyweight champ Pongsaklek, but showed his usual disrespect to the senior boxer, which produced their antagonism since thereafter. Kameda’s unsportsmanlike deed paid off tonight, as Pongsaklek gave him a lesson again.

Pongsaklek, the actual and moral winner, said just after his triumph, “If he understands the necessity to respect his seniors, he may improve in the future.”

The younger generation might support Kameda’s trademark trash talk to ridicule his opponent before the fight, but it’s against our tradition and sportsmanship. His miserable defeat at the hand of the veteran Pongsaklek rendered the happiest night for the Japanese general public.

It is a great misunderstanding that Kameda is popular among our fight fans. People didn’t buy tickets to profit Kameda’s income, but watched television just to expect his possible defeat. There was only a sparse crowd at the Ariake Coliseum, as usual, which showed Kameda’s unpopularity here in Japan due to his continual antisocial behavior from his pro debut.

In this regard, Pongsaklek became the hero tonight not only in Thailand but also in Japan.

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