WBO Bantam King Tomoki Kameda to Wage War in the Windy City
On November 1, Tomoki Kameda, 30-0 (19), will defend his WBO bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Alejandro Hernandez, 28-10-2 (15), at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois on the Showtime network. It will be the third defence of the title he won from former champion Paulus Ambunda over 12 rounds in August of 2013 in the Philippines.
The Japanese champion is starting to turn heads among the title-toting crop at 118 pounds which includes WBC beltholder Shinsuke Yamanaka and WBA boss Juan Carlos Payano. Kameda can also certainly expand his brand among the boxing-crazed Mexican fight market because he speaks fluent Spanish. Kameda picked up the language when he moved to Mexico at age 15 to train.
The last time Kameda clocked into work was on July 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in support of Saul Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara. He landed a highlight-reel, left hook to the body that dropped and stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu. It was the U.S. debut for Kameda and, more importantly, it was a nice coming-out party. Kameda later signed with boxing power broker Al Haymon. The low-profile, elusive Haymon has tremendous pull in the sport and with the Showtime network. This could be great news for the well-spoken Kameda as Haymon and his team certainly have the star-making recipe when presented with an exciting, marketable fighter.
Kameda’s two brothers fight in Japan and would also like to come to the United States to compete. Siblings Koki and Daiki are also huge stars in Japanese boxing and all three Kamedas actually held world titles simultaneously until recently. Koki was the WBA “regular” bantamweight king and Daiki was the IBF junior bantamweight champ until he lost his title last year.
This would be a dream for the champion to have his brothers here fighting with him. In a recent interview, Tomoki said, “My two brothers are in Japan and obviously their dream is to come to the United States as well and to fight here.” With the way Tomoki is performing, there will certainly be interest in any fighter with the surname “Kameda,” should his brothers arrive on these shores to display their skills.
While Kameda is excited to expand his brand in the United States, he knows he has a tough fight on his hands. Hernandez knows this is a great opportunity to build his profile if he beats a fighter as hot as Kameda. Recently, Hernandez said, “I place my trust in everything that I have been working on in the gym. Kameda is tough but I know I can beat him.”
But champion Kameda has no plans of letting go of his world title belt anytime soon. For now, the champion’s goal is to stay busy, look impressive, expand his profile and build his fan base.
When you have a Japanese fighter who trains in Mexico, can speak Spanish and is impressive in the United States, the marketing options seem endless. For Kameda, going global seems a district possibility. Plus, being backed by a powerful representative like Haymon creates endless possibilities.
But it all depends on winning and looking good doing it. However, if Kameda keeps landing “Plays of the Week”-style knockouts like he did in his last outing, I think it’s safe to say he’s well on his way.