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Famous Boxing Brothers: Kameda


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The name Kameda is synonymous with boxing in Japan. The three brothers Koki, Daiki and Tomoki have all held world titles and all were very popular among Japanese boxing fans. However, the two eldest have also been called controversial by some non-Japanese boxing fans and writers as well. Koki because of getting some preferential treatment from the judges in some of his big fights and Daiki because of fighting dirty and having a very brash personality. Of the three, Koki is the most successful one, having taken world titles at light flyweight, flyweight and bantamweight. He also has retired with fewest losses of the brothers.  Koki and Daiki were trained by their father Shiro until he was suspended after a 2007 fight between Daiki and Daisuke Naito, of which I will write more later. 

The eldest brother Koki, known under the fighting alias of "The Fighting Fist of Naniwa" (a part of Osaka) was born 17 November 1986 in Osaka, the Naniwa ward as mentioned. He stands 165 cm (5'5) and has a reach of 168 cm (66 ") and fought from the southpaw stance. Not a very hard hitter, he won most of his big fights on points, simply by being awkward with his stance and tricky, as well as being a tough guy. He has never been stopped. He turned pro at the age of 17 and won the vacant WBA light flyweight title in his 12th fight, against the Venezuelan Juan Landaeta, 2 August 2006. Fighting at home, Kameda survived a late surge by Landaeta to be given a split decision victory which was then called into question by some. They had a rematch on 20 December and this time Koki won by UD. He then vacated the title to step up to flyweight. On 29 November 2009, he won the WBC title there by beating Daisuke Naito by UD, but then lost it in his first defence against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, the superior technician from Thailand, by MD. It was on 27 March 2010 that Koki tasted his first loss after 22 straight wins. However, in December that same year, he captured the WBA bantam title by beating Alexander Munoz by UD, also dropping Munoz in the last round. He made 8 successful defences of this title before vacating it in 2014 to go back to super flyweight. However, in his next and final world title fight there, he dropped a clear decision to countryman Kohei Kono, who also knocked him down once, while Kameda lost two points for low blows. That was in Chicago on 16 October 2015 and Koki retired after that, with a record of  33 wins, 2 losses and 18 knockouts. 

Now we come to second brother, Daiki. Daiki was known under the colorful nickname of "Monk Warrior of Osaka", but his public and ring persona was far from that of a monk. He was very colourful and brash and cocky, even going as far as claiming he would commit "seppuku" (traditional Japanese suicide) if he lost a particular fight. He was also known to sing a song for the audience after he won a fight. He was born on 6 January 1989 in Osaka and started fighting professionally in February 2006, aged 17, like his older brother did. He stands a little taller than Koki at 5'6 or 168 cm, but interestingly, his reach is only 64 1/2 or 164 cm. He went 10-0 before being matched for the WBC flyweight title against famed champion Daisuke Naito, who took the title from legendary Wonjongkam. The fight was held in Tokyo on 11 October 2007 and would become controversial after Daiki, frustrated for not being able to solve Naito's style, retorted to wrestling moves and other dirty tricks in order to win. This didn't work and he ended up clearly losing on all scorecards. After it turned out his father had actually instructed him to fight dirty, Shiro's license was suspended indefinitely. From then on, he would not train any of his sons. 

On 6 October 2009, he fought Denkaosan Kaovichit, the WBA champion, but lost by MD in Osaka. In the rematch on 7 February next year however, Daiki was victorious by UD and could finally call himself the world champion. This fight was also however considered controversial due to bad refereeing and the referee seemed to take two points away from Kaovichit without a reason. This hardly affected the outcome however, as Daiki was far enough ahead anyway. In his first defence, he defeated another big name, Takefumi Sakata, who used to hold the WBA title. Daiki won by another clear UD. He made one more defence against Romanian Silvio Olteanu and won by SD before vacating the title to move up to super flyweight. There, he first lost to the WBA champion Tepparith Singwancha, 7 December 2011 in Osaka. He then managed to capture the the IBF title on 3 September 2013, against Rodrigo Guerrero, the former holder of this title, by UD in Takamatsu, Japan. On 3 December same year, he lost in a title unification fight against the WBA champion Liborio Solis, by a split decision, in Osaka. However, as Solis failed to make the weight, both titles were then left vacant. Daiki would have one more fight in 2015 and lost it to Victor Ruiz in Corpus Christi, by SD8. His record is 29 wins, 5 losses, with 18 knockouts. He has never been stopped either and now works as a promoter, just like Koki.

Finally, we get to the third brother, Tomoki! Nicknamed "The Ultimate Weapon of the Kamedas", Tomoki did seem to live up to that early on in his career, but later experienced a few losses that set him back. The tallest and rangiest of the brothers at 171 cm (5'7) and a reach of 170 cm (67), Tomoki also seemed to have the power his brothers lacked, at least better power. Born 12 July 1991, same place as his brothers, Tomoki turned pro in November 2008. He relocated to Mexico to train there and fought most of his early fights there as well. It took him a bit longer to get to that world title shot than with his brothers, since he wasn't based in Japan. After going 22-0, he won the WBC Silver bantam title by stopping Jairo Ochoa Martinez by RTD10. He finally got to fight for the WBO bantam title against the 20-0 Paulus Ambunda, on 1 August 2013, in Cebu City, Philippines. Kameda outworked the 10-years older Ambunda to win by a clear UD. He had his first defence against the 17-0 Immanuel Naidjala and won by an even clearer UD. In his second defence, he scored a knockout in 7 rounds against Panya Uthok/Puanglung Sor Singyu, who came in with a record of 46-2. Uthok would go on to become a two-time WBO champion. 

After beating Alejandro Hernandez by SD in a tough fight for his third defence, he then lost the title to British Jamie McDonnell on 9 May 2015. Despite putting McDonnell down in the third round, he lost by 113-114 on all cards and thus a big upset happened. The fight was in Hidalgo, Texas and the rematch happened in Corpus Christi, also in Texas, 6 September. This time, Tomoki was down in round 12 and lost by much wider margins. Having failed to recapture his title, he moved up to super bantamweight. There, he managed to win the interim WBC title against Abigail Medina, fighting in Japan at Korakuen Hall on 12 November 2018 and winning by UD. He then challenged the full WBC champion, 33-0 Rey Vargas, and fought him in Carson, California, on 13 July 2019. Vargas was known as a tricky and technically sound fighter and he outlanded Kameda in the overall punches, but in the power punch department it was very close. Kameda was also deducted one point in the 12th for hitting on a break and lost by 111-117 on all cards. He has since had 3 fights and is the only Kameda brother still active now, aged 31. He has a fight coming up this weekend actually, a featherweight one, against Luis Castillo. He has also gained another nickname since the start of his career: "El Mexicanito (The Little Mexican)" and is a popular fighter in Mexico by all accounts. His record is currently 39 wins and 3 losses, with 21 knockouts. 


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