By Joe Koizumi
WBA super-fly champ Tepparith Kokietgym (19-2, 12 KOs), 115, from Thailand, impressively kept his throne as he battered game Japanese challenger and ex-WBA flyweight ruler Daiki Kameda (24-3, 14 KOs), 115, by a unanimous verdict over twelve hot and gory rounds on Wednesday in Osaka, Japan. The official tallies were as follows: Tom Miller (US) 116-112, Silvestre Abainza (Philippines) 115-113 and Gullermo Perez Pineda (Panama) 119-110, all for the defending titlist. The referee was Mark Nelson (US).
It was a hard-fought affair with each swapping punches all the way. Though Daiki apparently lost on points, he showed his fighting spirit and power as ex-champ. But it was Tepparith that displayed his class in controlling the hard-punching Japanese with speed, power and skills. The 23-year-old Thailander was a much better world champ than we had expected. Though standing only 5’3”, three inches shorter than the challenger, Tepparith had a 66-inch reach, longer than Kameda’s, which he utilized well to pile up points steadily.
Tepparith had dethroned highly-regarded interim champ Dorian Francisco by dropping the hard-hitting Filipino with a well-timed counter in the third en route to an upset decision in Thailand last May. When we viewed the tape of the bout, we weren’t impressed so much with his retreating strategy. The Thailander, however, showed a quite different way of fighting as he made good use of sharp, accurate and numerous jabs to prevent Daiki from coming close to him throughout the contest.
The second saw the champ have Daiki bleeding from the nostrils with sickle-like uppercuts. His continual nose-bleeding hampered Daiki’s proper breathing in later rounds. They repeatedly mixed it up with Tepparith having the upper hand with his aggressiveness and precision. Daiki showed his effort to throw his trademark left hooks, which were cleverly averted by the champ’s defensive skills.
Daiki, the second brother of Kameda, fought well and took a point in the eighth, when he connected with left hooks to the side of the belly but failed to follow it up due to the champ’s shifty footwork. Tepparith, simply more aggressive than Daiki, let his combinations go so freely and constantly that the Japanese had to defend himself up with his guard.
Daiki, in round ten, had the right optic puffed by absorbing Tepparith’s jabs and left hooks. Tepparith kept on throwing busier combinations upstairs and downstairs, inside and outside, to have Daiki on the defensive. The twelfth and final session witnessed Daiki come out fighting to turn the tide, but the champ retaliated with faster rallies to fight on even terms.
This title bout took place after the WBA full champ Tomonobu Shimzu being named “champion in recess” because of his optical ailment caused by his coronation over Hugo Cazarez this August. The interim ruler Tepparith was elevated up to the full championship to welcome the mandatory challenge of the top contender Daiki Kameda. The situation with Shimizu party’s strong claim against the WBA has been so complex that Tepparith and Shimizu will be recommended by the WBA to fight in a unification bout next spring.
Tepparith and Daiki incessantly exchanged hot rallies to entertain the crowd at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
Promoter: Kameda Promotions.
WBA supervisor: Renzo Bagnariol (Nicaragua).