Al Jazeera’s Matt Rumsey meets Olympic featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
|Kameda greets the judges’ decision [AFP]|
Daisuke Naito was hit by the Kameda curse for the second time in his career as he lost his WBC flyweight belt to Koki Kameda – two years after being slammed to the canvas by the challenger’s brother.
Kameda defeated champion Naito in a 12-round unanimous decision at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday to extend his undefeated record.
The 23-year-old Kameda, known for his showboating, had predicted a third-round knockout but it turned out to be a tactical contest, with neither fighter knocked down and the youngster landing just a few more key blows.
Promoters had touted the all-Japanese fight between the 35-year-old Naito and “bad boy” Kameda as the Battle of Destiny, after an earlier bout between the champion and Kameda’s younger brother Daiki turned ugly, with Naito keeping the WBC crown.
Challenger Daiki had picked up Naito and slammed him to the canvas, incurring a one-year ban.
Koki, working in his brother’s corner, had escaped with a ticking-off after TV microphones picked up his advice to elbow Naito in the eye.
On Sunday Koki Kameda, undefeated in 22 bouts, thanked his supporters after the 116-112, 117-111, 117-111 decision.
“For all those fans, I felt your support,” he said.
“It’s still a dream.”
Naito was making his sixth defence of the title he won in 2007, defeating Thailand’s Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, after losing to him in his first title shot in 2002.
The humble Naito was the popular favourite ahead of the fight against Kameda, who has been widely criticised in Japan for his flamboyance, immaturity, and lack of respect both inside and outside the ring.
Naito has become a celebrity since his 2007 win over Daiki, regularly appearing on TV shows where his soft-spoken demeanour and humble personality has won over fans.
He took up boxing to defend himself in school where he was the victim of bullying and often speaks out in support of those subjected to similar abuse.