By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Sumio Yamada
WBA bantamweight champ Koki Kameda (32-1, 17 KOs), 118, very barely kept his belt as he was awarded a split decision over #14 Korean Jung-Oh Son (20-5-2, 6 KOs), 117.75, over twelve hard-fought rounds on Tuesday in Cheju, Korea. The scorecards were as follows: Carla Caiz (US) 114.5-114, Silvestre Abainza (Philippines) 115-112, both for Kameda, Alfredo Polanco (Mexico) 115.5-113.5 for Son. The referee was Ferlin Marsh (New Zealand). A half-point scoring system was applied to this fight.
Kameda, 27, made a good start, but Son became aggressive as the contest progressed. It was Kameda that suffered a sole knockdown in the contest midway in round ten. Son fought much better than people had expected, but the champ desperately dominated the last two sessions to keep his throne.
The Japanese lefty, making his eighth defense, lately experienced shaky and tough defenses, so it might be a good idea that he would cope with a less competitive challenger abroad to demonstrate his strength. But it became one of his toughest defenses for a Japanese Apollo Creed against an unheralded Korean Rocky. Everything—Son’s fighting spirit, Korean hostile atmosphere and Kameda’s own unsatisfactory mental condition—seemingly betrayed the champ’s fight plan.
Kameda was sharp at the beginning of the bout, showing his hand speed and footwork to befuddle the nervous and stiff challenger. He appeared to have dominated three of the first four rounds with ease, which indicated that the champ might bring home the bacon soon.
But Son, 32 and with an eleven-month hiatus, landed a solid right to the champ in the fifth and turned aggressive since thereafter. The sixth saw Kameda begin to utilize his shifty footwork, which eventually allowed Son to go forward and stalk the less scrappy champ from then on. Kameda threw quick but light combinations to the awkward Korean to take the seventh session.
It was Son, however, that then displayed his determination in round eight and forced the champ to the ropes with a barrage of punches, with which he opened a gash over the champ’s left eyebrow. The tide seemingly turned then in favor of the game Korean.
Having also dominated the ninth, Son amazingly landed a long left hook to the sidestepping champ near the ropes. Kameda lost his balance with his back to the ropes, almost touching the canvas with his glove. The third man declared a knockdown against Kameda and tolled a mandatory eight count against the champ who insisted that it was only a slip. It was Son that positively went forward to try to hurt the mentally damaged champ with his follow-up.
Kameda, however, showed his pride by retaliating hard with his desperate attack to the game but fading challenger and was in command in the last two sessions. His final surge very barely kept his belt though it was a very tough battle for him.
UNDERCARD: Ex-OPBF welter champ Akinori Watanabe acquired the vacant PABA super-welter belt by stopping Korean Kyung-Suk Kwak at 3:00 of the third round in a scheduled eleven-round elimination bout.
WBA female minimumweight champ Anabel Ortiz, a Mexican under Kameda Promotions, kept her newly acquired belt by a shutout decision (all 100-90) over Hye-Soo Park, Korea, over ten. The card consisted of only three bouts as written above.
Promoter: Kameda Promotions.
WBA supervisor: Noryoli Gil (Venezuela).