November 12, 2018. Tokyo, Japan. Tonight, at the Korakuen Hall, Tomoki Kameda of Japan beat Spain’s Abigail Medina via unanimous decision to claim the vacant WBC interim junior featherweight title. The fight was ordered by the WBC as the champion, Rey Vargas, has been out with a shoulder injury.
Kameda dominated the fight early on, winning all of the first four rounds on all judges’ score cards as he outpaced his opponent with faster feet and a quick jab. The shots he were landing didn’t seem to effect Medina, though, as the Spanish fighter started to edge his way into the fight landing some thumping shots on Tomoki Kameda. What did seem to trouble him was them repeatedly bumping heads although neither fighter seemed to be at blame. Kameda, who spent many years in Mexico learning his trade and who goes by the nickname ‘El Mexicanito’ was willing to turn the bout into a Mexican-style shoot-out as the pair were both willing to take a few to land a few, especially in the second half of the fight. Kameda’s speed proved to be the defining factor though as all three judges scored in his favour.
Although Media went in as number one contender and Kameda followed as number two, the fight had some comical qualities to it, especially in the lead up. Firstly, there was a whole commotion made about the Spaniard ‘large and thick beard’ before the fight and whether or not it should be allowed with the Kameda camp claiming it should be shaved off. To be fair, it wasn’t even an especially ‘thick beard’, so it’s hard to know what the fuss was about. It did its rounds in the Japanese media with some journalists feeling the need to explain the hysteria with comments like ‘such a thick beard as Medina’s hasn’t been seen in any world title belt here.’
There was also the slightly dire fact that the most prominent name on both of these fighters’ records was Jamie McDonnell, who both men had lost to, Kameda on two occasions. Jamie Mc Donnell is a quality fighter but considering his first round stoppage loss to Naoya Inoue earlier in the year, it was hard to get too revved up for this fight, despite its world title status.
Another freakish component to the fight was that Kameda was going into the fight, Tomoki attempting to join his two brothers in becoming two-weight world champions, a feat never before achieved anywhere on the planet. Father Shiro can proudly say he has three sons, each of whom have won a world title in two weight classes, no small achievement. The Kameda family have a very controversial reputation in Japan for their perceived arrogance and brash outbursts, especially from the father.
In the lead up to the fight, Tomoki’s father had claimed that his son Tomoki could beat the ‘monster’ Naoya Inoue. With Ryota Murata getting absolutely outclassed by Rob Brant last month, Inoue has established himself as by far the best pound for pound boxer from Japan. Whether they really believe it or they were just trying to steal some of Naoya’s ballooning profile and build up a potential big domestic clash here remains to be seen. The fact of the matter is, Naoya is several levels above Tomoki in every area. After the WBSS, Naoya would be clever to cash in on that bout in a fight he would have a high chance of winning and no doubt the majority of the fans on his side. Tomoki himself said after the fight that the Inoue bout is a fight that one day he wants to make.
Photo credit: Rishad Marquardt