Exciting bantamweight Tomoki Kameda gets second chance at belt, audience

Exciting bantamweight Tomoki Kameda gets second chance at belt, audience
Equipment stacked at the Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Tomoki Kameda is a native of Japan fluent in Spanish because of his extensive time living in Mexico.

And his fists speak the international language of boxing.


The U.S. audience will get a repeat look at Kameda on Sunday afternoon on CBS when he gets a rematch against Jamie McDonnell for the World Boxing Assn. bantamweight title.

Kameda (31-1, 19 knockouts) lost the first meeting on May 9, when England's McDonnell (26-2-1, 12 KOs) overcame a third-round knockdown to edge Kameda, 114-113 on all three scorecards in Hidalgo, Texas.

They'll fight again at 1 p.m. Pacific time Sunday on a Premier Boxing Champions card from Corpus Christi, Texas, with a super-middleweight fight between Anthony Dirrell and Marco Antonio Rubio to follow.

Why Kameda's fight isn't the main event is a head-scratcher.

He and McDonnell combined for more than 1,000 punches in the first bout, 800 determined to be "power" punches by CompuBox.

"This fight's going to be different because I've got world-renowned trainer Ismael Salas [of Cuba] now," Kameda told The Times through a Spanish translator this week. "That's a big difference. I've learned so much and we'll have a plan for this fight. I didn't really have a plan for the last fight."

Salas' stable includes unbeaten super-bantamweight world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Kameda comes from a boxing family. His brothers, Koki and Daiki, have also owned world titles.

"I always tried to pick up what I saw and make it better," Kameda, 24, said. "In every fight, even the loss, you learn."

He doesn't need much more work on the rapid-fire right hand that dropped McDonnell in the first bout, but Kameda said he would concentrate on working inside McDonnell's jab.

McDonnell said in a prepared statement, "I have a great engine and I always come on strong in the back end of the fight. From Round 6 on, it was my fight. I started too slowly in the first fight, but I worked hard and got the win."

Boxing on network television in the past helped acquaint fans with fighters in the lighter weight classes, but they were mostly cast aside during the pay-per-view era.

"It's very important to me to be on free TV, to get such great exposure," Kameda said. "I know I need to be impressive to get more fans."