By: Oliver McManus
With boxing on hold for the foreseeable future, at least in the form we know it, Boxing Insider is taking a look at top prospects to keep an eye on when the sport returns. The five names below cover bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight: they all, naturally, have different ceilings to their ability but, most importantly, they all pack some entertaining punch!
As with last week we will start proceedings with a sumptuous Uzbek talent. Shakhobidin Zoirov is another pearl from the far-flung country with Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2019 World Championships in Yekaterinburg. Both those triumphs came at 52kg and southpaw now competes in the slightly heavier bantamweight division (53.5kg). Having debuted in April last year, Zoirov made light work of Anthony Holt (5-4-1): a slam-dunk straight left hand inside of 20 seconds and that was that. Since then he’s moved to 3-0 in equally breezy fashion.
Elie Konki, as it stands, is one of the more advanced fighters on this list, to date, having captured the EBU-EU bantamweight title in December. The Frenchman, a Rio 2016 competitor, first caught my attention with a real nip-and-tuck encounter against Benedikt Croze for the French bantamweight title in 2018. In that fight he was forced to work under pressure but looked comfortable on the back-foot and dug deep to grind the win. Since then the 28 year old defended his title, with relative comfort, on three occasions and hand Sebastian Perez (12-0-1 at the time) his first loss to claim the EU strap.
Comparisons between Dennis McCann and Naseem Hamed are as frequent as rainfall in Quibdo, Colombia (the world’s rainiest city, in case you didn’t work it out). There are undeniable similarities and the influence is clear: whilst McCann has some polishing work to do you wouldn’t expect anything less from a 19 year old prodigy. Guided by Frank Warren, you can be assured that he’ll take the right steps at the right time and he’s already tested the durability of four of his six opponents. Despite facing journeymen, again to be expected, he does so in an eye catching manner that ensures they leave the ring wondering just what they’d been up against.
Another southpaw making the list is 21 year old Raymond Ford who has looked every bit as ‘Savage’ as his nickname would suggest. A 2018 U.S Golden Gloves champion there was significant clamour for his signature on a promotional contract and it was Eddie Hearn who secured it. Part of a new dawn with Matchroom USA the, once, Olympic contender has really settled in the paid ranks with five wins inside nine months of his pro debut. That included a four round pasting of, noticeably teak tough, Aleksandrs Birkenbergs and two well worked stoppages in Phoenix and Providence. Don’t sleep on him because Raymond Ford looks cut out for the very top.
Musashi Mori is yet another young fighter coming out of Japan that looks like a superstar in the making. One bonus, you could say, of boxing in Japan is that, almost certainly, by the time you’re ready to burst onto the world scene you remain very much a hidden gem. Mori is one such name having already worked his way up the WBO rankings by way of their Asia-Pacific featherweight belt. At 20 years of age and 11-0 since his debut in December 2016 the southpaw is consistently maturing in the ring. The word coming out of Japan, at the start of the year anyway, was that he would contest a bona-fide world title in 2020 and, whilst that may well be on hold, the ambition certainly isn’t.
By: Michael Kane
The vacant Celtic Bantamweight Title was on the line on Saturday at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley, Scotland in an event promoted by Saltire Boxing Promotions.
The title fight would see local boxer Gary Rae (8-1) take on Lanarkshire’s Scott Allan (9-3-1). The first round was largely a feeling out round until Rae landed a good right hand that pushed Allan up against the ropes.
In the second round, Allan ended the round on top with Rae taking a few heavy punches, Rae looked as if he felt the punches when the bell went. As the fight went on Allan was able to land the cleaner more concussive shots, getting inside Rae’s jab.
After the 10 rounds, the large Rae support were to be disappointed as Allan won decisively, 97-93, 98-93 and 98-92 to become the new Celtic bantamweight champion.
The Celtic lightweight title was to be up for grabs in the bout between Ryan Collins (13-3-2) and Ahmed Ibrahim (7-2-1) however Ibrahim failed to make the weight, coming in 4lbs heavier, meaning only Collins could win the title.
The early rounds were pretty close, with Ibrahim looking to land the power punch while Collins was utilising his jab.
Ibrahim would be down in the 3rd, when he claimed he slipped however the referee deemed it a knock down. This seemed to motivate Ibrahim as he came out throwing in the 4th round and landed a beautiful right hand which put Collins on the canvas. Collins looked like he had recovered however the referee wanted the doctor to check his damaged eye before round 5, the referee decided to stop the fight. It was an entertaining fight while it lasted however the Celtic lightweight title remains vacant.
On the undercard, a couple of highly rated amateurs made their debuts, both winning.
Two times amateur British champion Craig Morgan had an impressive debut winning 40-35, after landing a great upper cut and showing good movement against Adam Hutchinson.
Nathaniel Collins, competed in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, earlier this year, representing Scotland, he had a comfortable pro debut beating Lee Connelly 40-36.
Scottish super featherweight champion Jordan McCorry (17-3-1) opened the show and made light work of Reynaldo Mora from Barcelona, stopping Mora in the second round in the lightweight clash. McCorry was landing at will and had Mora down early in second round, Mora continued but it was more of the same from McCorry and the ref stepped in to stop the fight.
Scott Allan beat Gary Rae (97-94, 98-93, 98-92).
Ahmed Ibrahim beat Ryan Collins RD5 referee stoppage.
Craig Morgan beat Adam Hutchinson 40-35.
Called McCauley beat Angel Emilov 59-56.
Nathaniel Collins beat Lee Connelly 40-36.
Martin Harkin beat Chris Jenkinson RTD RD2.
Kristen Fraser beat Rozmari Silyanova RD 7 referee stoppage.
Jordan McCorry beat Reynaldo Mora RD 2 referee stoppage.
By: Ken Hissner
This writer remembers reading about Brazil’s Eder Jofre seeing a dead chicken ran over by a vehicle in the middle of the road. He never ate meat again.
Jofre was 46-0-3 before this World Bantamweight champion was defeated. He added the WBC and WBA belts to his World belt. He had rematches with Argentina’s Ernesto Miranda, 15-3-1, who was living in Spain when they drew twice. He defeated Miranda twice when he was 40-3-4 for the South American Bantamweight title. Miranda ended his career with 99 wins. All four fights with Miranda were in Brazil. He drew with Manny Elias, 44-17-1, in November of 1965 between his only two losses to Flyweight champion Japan’s WBA, WBC and World champion Fighting Harada which both defeats were in Japan.
It took almost five years to defeat Elias, 51-21-2 in their rematch. It was in May of 1970. The first Harada fight ended in a split decision in Nagoya, Japan, in May of 1965. The rematch took place after the Elias draw in Nippon, Japan, in May of 1966.
Jofre’s third draw was against Uruguay’s Ruben Caceres, 11-1-5, in May of 1958 in Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. In their rematch in July of 1959 Jofre knocked out Caceres in 7 rounds.
Jofre would only have his second bout outside of Brazil in August of 1960 when he defeated Mexico’s Jose “El Huitlacoche” Medel, 43-16-3, by 10th round knockout in a NBA Bantamweight eliminator at the Olympic Auditorium in L.A. In November he won the vacant NBA Bantamweight title knocking out Eloy “Emeterio” Sanchez, 25-12, in 6 rounds at the same facility. He had defenses against the former European champ then the Italian champ Piero Rollo, 53-6-6, stopping him in 9 rounds. He knocked out the OPBF champion Japan’s Sadao Yaoita, 43-9-2, in 10 rounds. He stopped the British champion Johnny Caldwell, 25-0, in the 10th round.
Jofre would travel back to the US in his next fight and win the Bantamweight World title stopping Mexico’s Herman Marques, 19-8-1, living in Stockton, CA, in the 10th round at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA. Then give Medel a rematch knocking him out in 6 rounds.
Then Jofre would go to Japan for the first time knocking out Japan’s OPBF champion Katsutoshi Aoki, 33-1-1, in 3 rounds. Then travel to the Manila, in the Philippines, stopping Filipino Johnny Jamito, 33-2-2, who couldn’t come out for the last round after being knocked down in the previous round.
Next Jofre went to Bagota, Colombia, knocking out Bernardo Caraballo, 39-0-1, of Colombia in the 7th round. Next up was the first loss to Harada losing his title. After the second loss to Harada he moved up to featherweight. It took fifteen fights for him to win the WBC World Featherweight title by majority decision over Cuban Jose “Pocket Cassius Clay” Legra, 131-9-4, living in Spain, over 12 rounds in Brazil. Legra would have two fights after this losing to Nicaragua’s Alexis Arguello in his last fight by knockout.
In Jofre’s next two fights which were non-title he knocked out possibly Chile’s greatest fighter in Godfrey Stevens, 71-7-3, in 4 rounds. Then American Frankie Crawford, 38-17-5, was defeated over 10 rounds. In his first defense he would end the career of the former WBC champion Vicente “El Zurdo de Oro” Saldivar, 37-2.
Jofre would win six non-title fights before his final bout being a title defense defeating Mexican Octavio Gomez, 55-15-7, over 12 rounds. His final record was 72-2-4 (50) in October 8th 1976 at the age of 40. At age 82 Jofre is still seen at the fights in Brazil
More Boxing History
By Eric Lunger
Following up the success of the super middleweight and cruiserweight tournaments, World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) has announced a second iteration of the series, including a bantamweight division. Kalle Sauerland, the chief boxing officer at Comosa AG — which promotes the WBBS — recently announced that three fighters have committed to the tournament, and they happen to be three of the current world champions: Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 Kos) of Northern Ireland (WBA Super), Manny Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) of Puerto Rico (IBF), and Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs) of South Africa (WBO).
Photo Credit: Naoya Inoue Twitter Account
Now Naoya “the Monster” Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) of Japan, now a three-division world champion, can be added to that list, according to recent reporting by Sky Sports. Inoue may not be familiar to US fight fans; he has only fought once in the US, at the StubHub Center in September of 2017 against Antonio Nieves on the Rungvisai vs. Gonzalez II undercard. Nonetheless, Inoue’s rise to prominence has been meteoric. He won the WBC world light flyweight title in only his sixth professional fight, taking down Adrian Herandez by sixth-round TKO in April of 2014. Eight months later, he moved up to 115 lbs., and captured the WBO world flyweight title from Warlito Parrenas in a second-round TKO.
Inoue successfully defended that title six times over the next three years, and only one of those fights went the full twelve-round distance. Then, on Friday night, the “Monster” went up to Bantamweight to challenge the WBA (Regular) champion Jaime McDonnell (28-2-1, 13 KOs) from Yorkshire, England. The bout took place at the Ota-City Gym in Tokyo, Inoue’s home turf. McDonnell couldn’t last a round against Inoue (recap here: https://www.boxinginsider.com/headlines/inoue-stops-mcdonnell-in-one)
There were two striking things about the way Inoue dispatched McDonnell. First was how he calmly adapted to, and exploited, McDonnell’s game plan. Almost at once, it was quite clear that McDonnell wanted to slow Inoue down by jabbing to the body. By my count, McDonnell landed five jabs to the body before Inoue timed him (as McDonnell ducked in to jab) and delivered a crunching left hook to the champion’s temple, staggering the Englishman. That shot was the beginning of the end.
The second remarkable trait of the “Monster” was the precision of the finish. He knew McDonnell was in trouble, and he attacked with a full assault with both hands. An overhand right by Inoue was well-defended, so Inoue slipped slightly to his left and landed a left hook to the liver that dropped McDonnell immediately. It was the kind of punch that starts with perfectly planted feet, gins up its force in the rotation of the hips, and explodes onto the opponent’s body. It was dramatic, but it was precise footwork that set it up. To his credit and courage, McDonnell got up and beat the count. But he was still in distress. Almost calmly, Inoue pinned him to the ropes, landed a right hook to the body, left hook to the body, left hook to the exposed chin, and the referee jumped in to save McDonnell from further punishment.
It’s not like McDonnell fought poorly. Quite the opposite, he managed the distance, used his jab to keep Inoue’s pressure at bay, and he kept an efficient high guard. McDonnell is a fine fighter who successfully defended his WBA World title six times in four years. And McDonnell had never been stopped in his career. But Inoue is at another level, another step up in class. What will he do in this field of champions in the WBSS Bantamweight tournament? I can’t wait to find out.
How Many Wars Does Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Have Left In Him?
By: Sean Crose
Chocolatito looks to be returning. The WBC has ordered former junior bantamweight champ Roman Gonzalez to face Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who beat him this past March, in a rematch for the title strap. Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai was a fight of the year candidate that showed both men going for broke before a thrilled Madison Square Garden crowd. Many, if not most, felt that Gonzalez did enough to win the fight, but the judges gave the nod to the challenger. Up until that time, the Nicaraguan icon was regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the world. Controversial or not, the decision loss to Sor Rungvisai dented Gonzalez’ reputation.
The WBC unquestionably made fans happy by ordering this rematch, though. Even if Gonzalez had pulled off the victory the first time, a rematch certainly wouldn’t be something to shake your head at. Yet it’s worth wondering at this point how many wars Gonzalez has left in him. The first bout with Rungvisai, who people inexplicably under-rated walking in, was nothing if not a grueling affair. Furthermore, Gonzalez’ previous bout, against the undefeated Carlos Cuadras, was no walk in the park, either. Boxing is a tough sport. After a point, it starts taking its toll.
Still, this has the potential to be the crowning moment in Gonzalez’ spectacular career. Being the first Nicaraguan to win major titles in four, that’s four, weight classes may have been a big deal – the great Alexis Arguello was unable to pull off such a feat, after all – but overcoming his only loss against a truly game opponent might act as the cherry on the sundae. Not that Rungvisai would have any intention of simply giving his belt back to the man he won it from. The Thai slugger is tough as nails, has an incredible heart and, yes, was able to drop Gonzalez the first time around.
Rungvisai was originally supposed to face Cuadras – the man he lost the junior bantamweight title to before winning it back by besting Gonzalez (who had won it himself by besting Cuadras). The WBC has also arranged, however, for Cuadras to face Juan Francisco Estrada, with the intention of the having the winner of that bout face the winner of Gonzalez-Rungvisai II. Give the WBC this – it has a plan for itself. And it’s one the fans, and certainly Gonzalez, can approve of.
Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
By: Sean Crose
“I have already accomplished a lot,” undefeated multi-division champion Roman Gonzalez said on a recent conference call. Without doubt, the Nicaraguan slugger known as Chocolatito has earned some well deserved accolades. Last November the man won a world title in his fourth weight class by grinding out a grueling win against Carlos Cuadras for the WBC world super flyweight title. His legacy assured, Gonzalez is turning his attention towards other matters. “Now,” he claimed on the call, “my goal is to hold onto my fourth world title in order to gain higher purses and more money.” Fighting at 115 pounds isn’t exactly easy for Gonzalez, however.
“Never did I think it was going to be easy campaigning in this division at 115,” Gonzalez said. “It takes time to get used to and I think that’s what is happening at the moment but I think I will be fine.” His battle against Cuadras certainly was no walk in the park. Defending champ Cuadras wasn’t in it to lose. Indeed, the undefeated Mexican made it clear that he saw Gonzalez was his ticket to the big time. And even though Cuadras lost the fight, he gained an enormous amount of respect from the fight world.
And now people, including, it seems, Gonzalez, are looking forward to a rematch. “As I look at a fight coming up against Carlos Cuadras again,” Gonzalez claimed, “I realize I have to train harder. Every opponent presents different challenges. I do believe that the second fight, the rematch, will be better.” First, however, Gonzalez has business to attend to in Madison Square Garden this Saturday. For, Gonzalez will be featured in the co main event of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs card. His opponent? The hard hitting former champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who Cuadras won the super flyweight title from.
In other words, it’s not necessarily easy going for Chocolatito this weekend. Sor Rungvisai may not have faced a murderer’s row throughout his career, but he goes to the body like it’s no one’s business. What’s more, Sun Rungvisai, like Cuadras, undoubtedly sees a great future ahead of him should he beat the Nicaraguan legend. Then there’s the matter that Gonzalez’ last fight was an absolutely brutal affair. Such things can have an impact. Add all this to the fact that the man has already reached Olympian heights and it’s worth wondering if an upset might be in the air.
Still, this is Gonzalez fighting here, the fighter widely regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on earth. Whether that’s really true or not, Gonzalez is a force to be reckoned with. What’s more, he knows what it’s like to be on a big stage. “On any other show,” promoter Tom Loeffler said of Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai, “it would clearly be the main event.”
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Chocolatito vs. Cuadras, Golovkin vs. Brook
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO will broadcast two world championship fights from two different venues. Pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will be bumping up to the junior bantamweight division to chase after another world title when he faces off against Carlos Cuadras. If he is successful he will have won titles in four different weight classes. Earlier in the day knockout artist Gennady Golovkin will be defending his middleweight titles when he faces welterweight world champion Kell Brook.
The Gonzalez vs. Cuadras bout will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California and the Golovkin vs. Brook bout will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England on Brook’s home turf. HBO will also be televising a rematch between Yoshihiro Kamegai and Jesus Soto-Karass in the junior middleweight division. Their previous fight was considered by many to be a fight of the year candidate.
The following is a preview of both world title fights.
Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (45-0); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is a three division world champion and considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer in the world today. However, there are limits to how many weight classes an individual can be a champion in and he’s facing a legitimate junior bantamweight world champion.
Gonzalez will be giving up five inches in height and two inches in reach to Cuadras. Cuadras is also one year younger than Gonzalez, but both are in their physical primes.
They both have been fairly active in the past two years. Cuadras fought three times in 2014 and in 2015, and already fought once in 2016. Gonzalez fought four times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once so far in 2016.
They both had experienced success as an amateur. Cuadras is a Pan American gold medalist and a gold medalist in the International Junior Olympics. Chocolatito has an alleged record of 88-0 as an amateur, but does not have any notable international amateur tournament victories.
Chocolatito has beaten the likes of Yutaka Niida, Juan Francisco Estrada, Rocky Fuentes, Akiri Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria, and McWilliams Arroyo. Cuadras has defeated the likes of Marvin Mabait, Luis Concepcion, Dixon Flores, Koki Eto, and Richie Mepranum.
Gonzalez has more world title fight experience and has a record of 14-0 in world title fights. Cuadras has a record of 6-0 in world title fights.
Both boxers have considerable power. Cuadras has twenty seven stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by stoppage victory. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage victories.
It will be interesting to see how Gonzalez handles the length and reach of Cuadras. Gonzalez, who was a world champion in the minimumweight division, will likely be unable to jump additional weight classes if he’s victorious on Saturday and he has a very tough test ahead of him. This should be an entertaining and technical bout, but Gonzalez should be able to pull off the decision victory, but may have his chin tested in the process.
Gennady Golovkin (35-0) vs. Kell Brook (36-0); WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Titles
Don’t let the fact that Kell Brook is jumping up two weight classes to fight Gennady Golovkin fool you. Brook is a large welterweight and Golovkin is a smaller middleweight. In fact, Brook has been weighing in heavier than Golovkin in the weeks leading up to the fight.
One of the biggest question marks about Golovkin is his age. He’s thirty four years old and doesn’t have many years left in his prime. His opponent is four years younger than him. Golovkin, however, will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Despite the fact he’s a major star in boxing, Golovkin has kept a fairly active schedule. He has fought once in 2016, three times in 2015, and three times in 2014. Brook has been having trouble finding a big fight in the welterweight division and fought twice in 2014 and in 2015, and once in 2016.
Golovkin’s power is well known and can be considered legendary. He has thirty two knockouts on his resume and is in the midst of an incredible streak that consists of twenty two wins by knockout in a row. Brook’s power can’t be overlooked, he has stopped twenty five opponents and has one four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Brook will be fighting in front of his home crowd at the O2 arena and that will be a big advantage for him. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin, Ionut Dan Ion, Shawn Porter, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Matthew Hatton, and Luis Galarza.
The last person to go the distance against Golovkin was Amar Amari in 2008. He has steamrolled every boxer he’s faced since then. He has defead the likes of Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Nobuhiro Ishida, Gabriel Rosado, Kassim Ouma, and Grzegorz Proksa.
Golovkin has to be very careful to not overlook Kell Brook. Brook is a very good, technical boxer and is considered by many to be a top 10 pound for pound fighter. Golovkin’s power should be able to lead him to victory, but don’t be surprised if he knockout streak ends on Saturday night.
Boxing Insider Interview Part 2: Tomoki Kameda is Crafting his Style
By: Kirk Jackson
Questions for the former WBO Bantamweight Champion Tomoki Kameda 31-2 (19 KO’s):
“Kameda-ke Saishū Heiki”
Boxing Insider: Our last interview, you mentioned you are a blend of more than three styles. There is the Japanese style of boxing, Cuban style and the Mexican style. It’s important to acknowledge there is a generalization to each style, but there are exceptions to each style. There are unique traits from each style, can you elaborate on the characteristics from each style you’ve absorbed and blended into your hybrid style of fighting?
Tomoki Kameda: There are few that I can mention. Let’s say with Mexican style, body shots and upper-cut and the close range brawling. From the Cubans are the movements especially the legs and the fighting strategy. From the Japanese style, the heart of a samurai and the aggressiveness.
BI: Can you also talk about the other styles or traits from other styles you have?
TK: I am learning from Filipino style as well. I watched a lot [Manny] Pacquiao’s and [Nonito] Donaire’s fights and the Filipino trainers improve my speed and the levels of punches. Level is that the volume of punches they can deliver upper part and/or lower part of the body.
BI: When you prepare for an opponent, do you have a particular style or certain strategies in mind you want to implement based on your opponent? Is the objective based on their physical traits, strengths and weaknesses? Are the technical deficiencies or aspects of their style what you look to exploit with your versatility?
TK: I need to know my opponents so I can prepare myself for it. Of course, I have the basic skills already, my basic weapons if we put it that way. From there I can add more the necessary skills I need for a particular opponent. I have to study all the aspects of my opponent, so when I am in the ring, everything will be automatic.
BI: Or would you prefer to have your opponent react to your actions?
TK: When the fighters are in the ring, they want to dictate the pace. I want to dominate, so I want to impose to the other fighter my actions.
BI: Can you discuss some of the things you learned from your father and older brothers? I wouldn’t want for you to reveal too many secretes, but is what you learned from your family, certain moves you integrated into your style; or more so the philosophy and mentality on what it takes to be a successful fighter at the highest level?
TK: I think it is more of the genes, we, the Kameda family is blessed with a good set of genes. What I mean about that is we won’t have a hard time in taking care of our bodies. We can always make the weight and maintain it. Another thing is that since we are family, we are always training together. Giving tips and support.
BI: There is the Jeet Kune Do style of fighting heavily influenced by Bruce Lee; Jeet Kune Do is not fixed or patterned, it is essentially a philosophy/fighting style with guiding thoughts that serve as a guide for movement and action. Can that be a way of analyzing your style?
TK: In way, it is like that since I incorporate different styles that work for me. I could easily change my style depends on my opponent.
BI: Your personality stands out when you fight; I believe it transcends and many observers watching gauge a sense of who you are. It’s artistic; I believe it’s a good trait because it connects the observer to the athlete. Can you sense the personality or the mentality of an opponent when you’re in the ring with them?
TK: Everything is unpredictable once you are inside the ring. When the first punch is thrown, your body will be in auto mode. You will remember everything what you have trained for. It is more of feeling myself and giving me confidence.
BI: We’ve discussed your ability to change range. I believe your versatility; the ability to change range makes you an unpredictable fighter. Can you elaborate on other elements in which makes you unpredictable? Is it your speed, different angles, or another facet of your style you possess?
TK: It depends with my opponent. If my opponent likes to move a lot then I have to employ a strategy for that. I won’t elaborate the details, but I guess you know what I mean.
BI: Is there a facet you want to add to improve as a fighter?
TK: In all of my fights, it is a learning experience. I would know afterwards what I need to improve on and what skills I need to maintain. This will make me a better fighter.
BI: Do you believe you have any weaknesses?
TK: Everyone has their own weaknesses, for me, I believe it is my speed. I need to train more for that in order to be faster.
BI: Do you have an all-time dream match-up you would have liked to participate in?
TK: There is none in particular. I would love to fight whoever is the best. I want to test myself on how much I can achieve… but if I have my way, I believe a fight with Manny Pacquiao would be a dream match.
BI: Is there anyone specifically right now you want to fight?
TK: Whoever is holding the belt right now is the one I want to fight. I want to get that belt again. It’s mine.
Thanks again Tomoki Kameda!
*Kameda is currently ranked in the top ten for both the WBC and WBA sanctioning bodies and is seeking another world title in the near future.
Boxing Insider Interview with Tomoki Kameda
By: Kirk Jackson
Questions for former WBO Bantamweight Champion Tomoki Kameda 31-2 (19 KO’s):
“Kameda-ke Saishū Heiki”
BI: Thanks again for your time Mr. Kameda; I hope everything is well with you.
BI: You come from a fighting family; your father is an amazing trainer and your older brothers are world renowned champions. Do you consider yourself the best fighter in your family? If not as of yet, what will it take to be recognized as the best fighter in your family?
TK: I believe that all of us, the 3 brothers are the best. We have achieved several records. The oldest, Koki, was able to get 3 different divisions championship. The first one in Japan to achieve it. Daiki was 2 different divisions champion and then me. I was able to get one championship belt and the first one in Japan to get the Bantam weight championship belt. With that records, we were able to get a Guinness Book of World Records recognition as the most siblings to win world boxing titles. To be the best fighter in the family…our father has that honor. He trained all 3 of us.
BI: Is being the best fighter in your family important to you? Is there a sibling rivalry between you three? Does that provide you with extra incentive to train harder and seek bigger challenges?
TK: As I have mentioned all 3 of us are the best and yes, it is important. It is natural to have sibling rivalries as any siblings would have. In our case, growing up with my brothers has helped me a lot in training. I have learned a lot from them. The moves, their advice and all other stuff. I maybe the youngest, but my older brothers helped me a lot in order to achieve what they have achieved.
BI: Can you describe growing up in the rough environments of Osaka?
TK: Is it really rough? We don’t see it that way. I think it was ordinary. I believe that this is a misconception from the outsiders. If they think it that way, it creates an image that we, from Osaka, are tough. Yes, we are. Osaka has the Kameda brothers.
BI: At age 15 you moved to Mexico in pursuit of dreams and to essentially to search for great challenges. Can you talk about the cultural transition and the difficulties adjusting to a new language, culture and surroundings?
TK: The first time I went to Mexico, it was really difficult. Number one is the language, I didn’t know any Spanish language. Of course, the culture itself. Very different from where I grew up. But Mexican people are very warm and friendly. I was able to adjust and adapt the new environment. They are very kind and helpful.
When I started training, Mexican style of boxing training is different from what my father had trained me. It was good for me because it was an added knowledge, an addition to my boxing IQ. I had to ask a lot of questions to my coach while I was training. It is very important to learn everything they taught me and the depth of this kind of training.
BI: Based on your origin, it can be stated you possess traditional elements from the “Japanese” fighting style however, you moved to Mexico to learn from Mexican trainers. It can be said you have the influence of the “Mexican” style fighting as well. Your current trainer Ismael Salas is from Cuba and familiar with the Cuban School of fighting. Is it accurate to say you are a blend of all three styles?
TK: Yes, you can say that. I am a blend of different fighting styles, but not just 3. I believe it is very important to learn different fighting styles to make you a flexible fighter. Also now, I am training in Japan but with Filipino trainers.
BI: In the past you stated you are a mix between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. When watching your fights, I can see elements comparable to Mayweather; your precision, patience, timing and ability to change range. Which elements from each fighter do you feel like you represent?
TK: I want to be a hybrid fighter. From Pacquiao I was able to learn that a big heart is also essential when in the ring. Get his stamina, never lose steam from the beginning of the fight until the very last round. From Mayweather, yes, you are correct that I am learning to be precise, patient and the change of range. It makes me an unpredictable fighter. Opponents will be confused as to what element I’ll use when fighting.
BI: Mayweather and Pacquiao retired last year and were long considered the best fighters pound for pound for the past decade or so. Who is the best fighter pound for pound in your eyes and why?
TK: Yes, both of them are considered the best fighters pound for pound, but nobody broke that mold compared to the late Muhammad Ali, may he rest in peace. Ali has the speed and stamina. He owns every part of the ring. Overall performance is spectacular, that’s why he is the greatest.
BI: You are a world champion; first Japanese fighter to win a WBO title. What is your most rewarding accomplishment as a professional so far?
TK: Winning the title itself is the most rewarding. That is the goal of every boxers. I was able to achieve that goal. Worked hard for it, you can say blood, sweat and tears. When I was able to get that belt I really felt I’m on the top of the world. Plus it helped us, the 3 brothers, to get a Guinness record.
BI: What are your goals for this year and beyond?
TK: I am setting my eyes on a higher division. Most probably the Super Bantam. That will be my next goal and achieve that goal.
BI: Do you plan on staying in the Bantamweight division? Do you plan on moving up to Super Bantamweight and how many weight classes do you feel like you can comfortably move up?
TK: Yes, I have the plan to move up to Super Bantamweight. I have mentioned that it is my next goal. I think I could still be comfortable with Super Featherweight and/or the Lightweight division. We’ll see. I want to achieve it step by step. As they say, “there is nowhere else to go but up.”
BI: Your fights against Jamie McDonnell were extremely competitive and the decisions could have gone either way. Depending on who you ask, some may say you won both if not at least one of the fights. What did you learn from those encounters that you’ll utilize moving forward in your career?
TK: The two fights went the other way, but it is a learning experience. After those fights it made me realize that there is more that I need to learn as a fighter. I am now even more eager to train and love boxing more. It was a big motivation for me. It makes me hungrier to get that belt again and even more up. I am very enthusiastic and highly motivated in training.
BI: What is the toughest thing you had to deal with as a professional?
TK: Being a champion and staying that way is the most difficult thing to deal with. Everyone sees you as a target. They want to bring you down. I should always train in order to be at a higher level. Other fighters are training hard as well. I have to be a step or more ahead.
BI: Aside from your unique life story and background, what is a trait that separates you from other fighters?
TK: Many fighters would claim that they are hybrid fighters, but that is the trait that separates me from them. You know my background and what I have achieved. I trained in many different fighting styles. I am learning continuously and my enthusiasm in fighting is always high. Like a child that is always learning and always want to achieve my goal.
BI: How can the fans get in touch with you and follow what you’re doing? Do you have a message for the fans out there?
TK: My fans can follow me in my Instagram, @tomokikameda and also Twitter, @tomokikameda. To my fans out there, I appreciate that you are continuously supporting me. Now I am training harder to be the world champion again. Your support is giving me more energy and motivation. Thank you for that.
Kubo Retains Title in Kobe
By: Ben Underwood
Unbeaten Super Bantamweight Shun Kubo defended his OPBF title successfully with a 12 round unaminous decision against Benjie Suganob. The tall southpaw used his jab effectively in the early stages of the battle keeping Filipino Suganob on the outside. Meanwhile Suganob was searching for a way in and got his chance in the 5th stanza as he upped the tempo as he made the champion look uneasy momentarily .Kubo of Japan, regained composure and started to land hard left hands that made suganob take notice, which kept him away for the next three rounds.
In round nine Benjie came on strong again , trying to claw back the scores from the tired Kubo, but it seemed to be too little too late for the game Suganob as he could not decrease Shun’s lead. In the end the judges were all in agreement and thought Shun Kubo was a deserved winner with scores of 117-113, 115-112, 115-113 to retain his title in which he won in december by Knocking out Lloyd Jardeliza of the philippines. Now Kubo excels with a new record of 10-0 7 KO’s and is WBC ranked 11th. Benjie Suganob adds another setback to his record and is now 10-5-1 with 5 KO’s.