Japanese Scene: A Look Back at Kameda-De La Mora & Shimizu-Cazares

Sidney Boquiren takes a look back at a couple of important recent fights from Japan (Shimizu-Cazares after the jump).  For more Japanese boxing updates, you can follow Sidney on twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter

Retooling in order for Kameda

A quick survey among Japanese boxing media after last Wednesday’s WBA bantamweight title fight revealed that local scribes scored the contest as closely as the judges. However, there seemed to be a bit of apathy as to whether or not the hometown fighter deserved to retain his crown. Regardless of how one might feel toward the brash and controversial Koki Kameda, even impartial onlookers have to admit that the champ’s performance last week was mediocre at best.

Untested challenger David de la Mora proved to be a solid pugilist that boxed beautifully in spots, and he certainly should be credited for putting up a good fight.

However, Kameda’s poor showing was less a result of the intrepid Mexican’s pressure than the titleholder being stuck in one gear for the majority of the 36 minutes. Kameda seems to have hit a wall in terms of technique, focusing mainly on countering with his left hand after de la Mora unloaded and relying on his lead left far too much. While you can credit the beltholder for covering up well and blocking many of the challenger’s punches, glaring gaps of inactivity showed that Kameda was failing offensively.

Round after round, it seemed that the young champion had his back to the ropes or a corner – despite his advantage in power and hand speed – as he allowed the Mexican to control the pace of the bout. Outside of the final round, the only instance in which Kameda really flexed his muscle was in the third frame when he sent de la Mora to the canvas with a counter left. Moments earlier, however, the challenger had the titleholder hurt and backpedaling. Had Kameda diversified his offense, incorporating some aggression into his strategy, the fight likely would have unraveled in a different manner.

Clearly Kameda wants to refine his game. The counterpunching will be an important tool for the champ, who is still a few months shy of his 25th birthday, as it does not look like he can be considered a big puncher at 118. After the fight, de la Mora remarked that while Kameda had hurt him, the three-division titleholder should probably abort aspirations of moving up further as he does not have the pop to do so. The Osaka-native should take a hint from rounds 8 & 9, when he came forward and pressed the action, earning 10 points on five of the six scorecards (see below for the official tallies).

Is Kameda an elite fighter at the moment? No. He would be a big underdog against anyone in the top seven of Ring Magazine’s bantamweight ratings, save for maybe Anselmo Moreno and Eric Morel (and even then he would not be the favorite).

Could Kameda become an elite fighter in the future? Maybe. But he has a lot of work to do. If he stays at 118, he will not have many physical or athletic advantages over the top fighters in the weight class. If he can drop down to 115, and that is a possibility, then he would have a better chance at being a true player in his division.

As in previous years, Kameda is looking to fight at the end of the year with his brothers on the same card. Possible targets for an opponent are Jorge Arce and the now dethroned Hugo Cazares.

Judge

Duncan

Sucre

Prayadsab

Round

Kameda

De la Mora

Kameda

De la Mora

Kameda

De la Mora

1

9

10

10

9

10

9

2

10

9

9

10

10

9

3

10

8

10

8

10

8

4

9

10

10

9

9

10

5

10

9

10

9

9

10

6

9

10

9

10

10

9

7

9

10

9

10

9

10

8

10

9

10

10

9

10

9

10

9

10

9

10

9

10

9

10

9

10

9

10

11

9

10

9

10

10

9

12

10

9

10

9

10

9

Total

114

113

115

113

115

112

 

Shimizu’s upset over Cazares

The co-feature of the night’s card saw the biggest upset this year by a Japanese boxer in a world title bout as two-time flyweight title challenger Tomonobu Shimizu dethroned the man many felt was either #1 or #2 in the 115-pound division. Was the outcome the result of a great effort by the challenger, or an overdue loss for Hugo Cazares?

The answer? Both.

Unlike the upstart performance of 2010 when Ryol Li Lee executed a game plan perfectly to earn a points decision over heavy favorite Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Shimizu had to show skill, guile and a lot of heart to pull off the win last week.

Taking advantage of Cazares’ slow start, the challenger pushed the action early, pelting the champ with quick, straight punches. It was somewhat a surprise that Shimizu, a guy who is known mainly as a fleet-footed technician, would press forward as the Mexican beltholder was clearly the bigger, stronger fighter. But the former national 112-pound champ seemed to have little trouble early in scooting around Cazares’ looping salvos while delivering his own assault.

After a few rounds, however, Cazares had warmed up his engine and began to unload on Shimizu’s midsection. The challenger looked very uncomfortable taking the punishment and switched up his strategy to fighting from the outside. Still very wild as he stalked Shimizu around the ring, the champ may not have claimed all of the points on the official scorecards, but the body blows he landed began to pay off as the fight headed into the second half.

By the seventh, Shimizu looked like a bullet train that was rapidly leaking fuel. Most fighters probably would have succumbed to Cazares’ pressure in the next few frames. But this is when the challenger showed great will by sticking it out and making a stand. Even after absorbing several punches downstairs early in round eight, Shimizu fired back, not only taking the round, but also making a statement by showing he would not be run over by the bruiser.

During the weigh-ins the previous day, the only fighter among the main four that seemed to have a tough time making his limit was Cazares. Perhaps the champ underestimated Shimizu and figured he would not have a hard day of work ahead of him. As Scott tweeted just before the start of the bout, Cazares tends to fight down to the level of his competition. It seems that not only did he not come with his A game, but when he needed to turn it up as the fight was nearing its end, he simply could not do it. Short on stamina, Cazares’ output was visibly scant as the contest proceeded to the championship rounds.

Shimizu, on the other hand, had caught his second wind and was snapping off his jab effectively. The challenger’s technical prowess was propelling him to victory as he was working well both inside and countering from distance. As the gong sounded off at the end of the 12th, it seemed that Shimizu’s valiant effort would be rewarded. Though the judges were split, the 30-year old from rural Fukui was indeed crowned the new WBA super flyweight champion.

Stopped by Daisuke Naito in 2008 and forced to quit on his stool against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in 2007, Shimizu’s gritty performance was even more impressive considering that a post-fight medical showed he had fought at least part of the contest with a fractured eye socket.

While recovering from the injury is his top priority, the new champ has publicly called out Daiki Kameda even before winning the title. If he can heal up and prepare before the end of the year, look for that fight in December.

Full Cazares-Shimizu fight on youtube:

Part 1

Part 2

Part3

e-mail Sidney Boquiren

For more coverage of Japanese boxing, follow Sidney on Twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter

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