Toshiaki Nishioka is one of several Teiken fighters that might see action in the United States this year. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
Sidney Boquiren has the latest boxing news from Japan. For more Japanese boxing updates, you can follow Sidney on twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter
Koki Kameda to fight in early May
Koki Kameda is planning to make the first defense of his WBA belt in the beginning of May, most likely in Osaka. An opponent has not been announced, but speculation includes the man Kameda was originally scheduled to face in December – Lorenzo Parra. The 24-year old departed Japan before the weekend for a mini-camp in the Philippines.
Perhaps more intriguing than the news of the spring fight are the plans the southpaw has for his second defense. In a move that is almost too characteristic of the badboy’s camp, Kameda announced that they are targeting Jorge Arce. As the Los Mochis native has a date with Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. for the Puerto Rican’s WBO super bantamweight crown, Kameda kindly stated that should Travieso lose on May 7, he would consider giving Arce a shot if he came back down to 118.
Frankly, that proposal seems rather pretentious. Clearly Arce represents an excellent financial opportunity for the brash youngster. The Mexican warrior has a decorated background, is deservedly popular, and may have a few good fights still in him, as his 4-0-1 record in 2010 would suggest. If Kameda-Arce happened immediately, it could very well be a decent bout. However, if the condition for that to materialize is for Arce to lose against Vazquez, then it seems that Kameda is simply looking for an easy way to add a well-known name to his list of victims.
Boxing fans know Arce to be a true fighter who brings it to the ring every time. Should he lose to Vazquez, one can be certain that he will take (and deliver) many punches in the process. Why pick a guy IF he loses? If Kameda really wants a big name opponent in the near future, why not call out the winner of Darchinyan-Perez? The loser of that contest would be a more viable challenge than Arce should he fall to Vazquez. Or forsake short-term money and seek credibility in a division in which he really does not have a track record. He would not have to look very far – should Donaire-Moreno fall through, why not try to take out the "Super Champion" of the organization he represents?
Kameda vs. Arce is an interesting idea. But the caveat that the brawler must lose for the proposition to manifest makes it sound like the WBA strapholder is looking for the biggest possible reward at the lowest amount of risk.
Teiken to invade the US in 2011
Japan’s most prominent promotional outfit may be sending several of its top clients to the US in the coming months. While some of the proposed moves may be risky, the idea of Japanese boxers branching out to fight overseas is very exciting. If the bouts are made, not only will it provide much needed exposure for the participants in the Western market, but for a few of them, it could serve as an important springboard for their careers.
The Teiken invasion could begin as soon as June, with Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1, 10KO) off to California. The super bantamweight titleholder’s representatives are negotiating a bout with undefeated prospect Rico Ramos (19-0, 10KO), who was last seen scoring a wide unanimous decision over Alejandro Valdez. Shimoda has fought off of Japanese shores once (vs. Becerril, TKO1, Tamaulipas, Mexico) and has spent time training in California in the past.
Toshiaki Nishioka may also get a ticket to the US if he is able to successfully get by Mauricio Munoz on April 8. An opponent has not been determined, but the veteran’s handlers are hoping to set up a match for October. The hard-punching lefty scored the biggest win of his career – TKO3 over Jhonny Gonzalez – in Mexico, so he should not be overly timid about leaving his home country.
In addition, Osaka Hochi notes that Akihiko Honda and company are also planning to send top prospect Yoshihiro Kamegai to fight on Nishioka’s undercard. The former national 140lb champion is a very talented boxer-puncher but needs challenges that Asian competition simply will not be able to provide. Shipping their charge to foreign shores to take on North American pugilists should give the 28-year old opportunities to further develop if he is to become a player in a weight class that is packed with young, skilled boxers.
The one person this writer wishes Teiken would add to the list of exports is Hozumi Hasegawa. While the southpaw is based in a different gym, Teiken does act as his main representative, and it would be great for the 30-year old to score some big victories before he winds down his career. Gonzalez stands in his way on April 8, but if he can get through that fight, why not have Hasegawa, Nishikoka and Kamegai all on the same card in the US?
Daiki steps up to super flyweight in April
Kameda’s younger brother and former 112lb titleholder Daiki (19-2, 11KO) moves back up in weight when he returns to the ring next month. Going north is probably best for the 22-year old, who has been hampered by battles with the scale. In his last appearance against Silvio Olteanu, Daiki looked as if he had to conserve energy from the opening gong, fighting only in spurts. Don’t expect more than a showcase for Kameda No.2 on April 8 as his handlers are recycling former title challenger Jesus Martinez (18-6, 11KO). The Mexico City native hasn’t been in the ring for the past two years and is 1-3 in his last four contests.
For more coverage of Japanese boxing, follow Sidney on Twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter