In a terrific fight this morning in Tokyo, Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam picked up the 75th win of his career, beating WBC flyweight titlist Koki Kameda via majority decision. Official scores were 116-112, 115-112 and 114-114. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 116-112 for Wonjongkam.
More important than the WBC title is the fact that with the win, Wonjongkam again becomes the legitimate and true flyweight champion of the world, as recognized by The Ring.
Wonjongkam (75-3-1, 39 KO) was steady throughout the entire fight, largely dictating the pace of the bout and controlling the majority of the action. He was not spectacular, but he wore down his younger foe and sapped his will over the course of the 12 rounds. It was by far the hardest that the young Kameda (22-1, 14 KO) has ever had to fight, and Koki also spent the majority of the fight bleeding steadily from a cut near his right eye, which was caused by a clash of heads in the fifth round, and exacerbated by another one later in the same frame.
Stamina-wise, Kameda seemed to empty his tank much earlier than Wonjongkam did, but it didn't stop him from fighting as hard as he could. He just didn't have enough to win today.
For Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, this might honestly seal a Hall of Fame bid for him. He already had a pretty good case building, but now he's a two-time real champion and adds another alphabet trinket, and it was a legit, hard-earned victory for the veteran. At 32, most guys his size start to wind down, but at least in this fight he showed no signs of that. He beat a younger, stronger guy, and did so clearly, in my view.
As for Kameda, there's hardly a need to panic. He's still got a tremendous future. I find him interesting because I don't think he's nearly as cocky as he lets on outside of the ring. When he was facing guys he could beat in his sleep, yeah he was flashy and brash inside the ring, too, but with Pong and Daisuke Naito, he's known exactly what he's up against, has boxed smart both times, and shown great respect for the ability of his foes. He's not a stupid fighter, not a guy who puts himself in bad spots in the ring. He fought well against Naito and he won. He fought pretty well today and he lost to a guy who had a better day. Kameda, at 23, has shown more bravery than most fighters do by the time they're 28 or so. He was a huge hyped prospect, and at his young age has already fought the two guys who have dominated the flyweight boxing scene in Asia for years now, and have been among the four or so best fighters in the division for a long time.
But hats off to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. He has proven his quality and his class yet again, and done so in a fight where I expect most thought he'd lose.
On the untelevised undercard, Oleydong Sithsamerchai retained his WBC strawweight title by beating Yasutaka Kuroki on scores of 113-112, 114-113, and 114-112. That fight will be shown in Japan on April 4.
Mexico City, Mexico: Vicente Escobedo got back in the winner's circle last night, beating super journeyman Carlos Urias via third round TKO. Escobedo is now 22-2 (14 KO). It was his first fight since losing to Michael Katsidis last September. On the same card, Dante Jardon (12-1, 12 KO) beat David Rodela (14-3-2, 6 KO) via KO-3.
Chicago, Illinois: Fringe (fringe, fringe, fringe) heavyweight Mike Mollo returned to action with a win over veteran Billy Zumbrun. Joe Harrison has more on that fight at BoxingScene.com.
Hamilton Township, New Jersey: Terrance Cauthen and Omar Sheika both won on gofightlive.tv, with Cauthen taking a UD-8 over Isam Khalil, and Shieka stopping Garrett Wilson in four.