Theater of War: Kono Retires Kameda

By Brian Mazique on October 17, 2015
Theater of War: Kono Retires Kameda
Constantine Ruiz threatened to halt the bout in round seventh if the fouls didn’t cease.

Even with the fouls and heavy-handed refereeing, this was still a memorable scrap that elevated Kono’s career and ended Kameda’s…

CHICAGO, Illinois—On a cool Saturday night in Chicago, two Japanese warriors went to war. When it was over, reigning WBA super flyweight champion Kohei Kono (31-8-1) successfully defended his title with a unanimous-decision win over Koki Kameda (33-2).

The fight—no brawl—was action-packed and foul-filled. In the second round, Kameda landed a low blow on the champion that forced the latter to a knee. Referee Celestino Ruiz gave the champion time to recover and he bounced back with vigor.

Moments after resuming action, Kono connected with a straight right hand that dropped Kameda. It was a dynamic shot and it set the tone for the rest of the evening. Many people watching the fight online and ringside felt that the punch from Kameda might have been legal, but Kono received the benefit of the doubt. Had he not, he may have been stopped as it took him a good while to recover.

The two fighters would have countless furious exchanges throughout the fight. Some of the punches were legal; others not so much. In the third round, Kameda had two points deducted for low blows.

That didn’t seem to be justice for Kono as he had begun to retaliate with some borderline shots of his own, as well as a shot that landed after the bell. Ruiz threatened to halt the bout in the seventh round if the fouls didn’t cease.

Kono again pushed the envelope. In the ninth, it was finally his turn to be penalized as he had a point deducted for pushing Kameda’s head down. Ruiz may have made himself too big a part of this fight. The constant chatter with the fighters and point deductions looked like a classic example of over-refereeing.

In between the fouls, there was some really solid action taking place. Both fighters launched a vicious assault on the other’s body early in the fight. It was clear this would be a war of will and attrition as both fighters looked to put money in the bank with pokes at the midsection.

Aside from the point deduction, things looked fairly even heading into the second half of the fight, but it seemed as if Kono’s body work paid the biggest dividends late. He was quicker and looked to have snap on his punches and more energy for the stretch run. While he still showed the heart of a champion, Kameda’s pace was definitely slowed.

His post-fight comments support that observation. The 28-year-old former world champion said, “My stamina wasn’t what it should be in the later rounds.” He went on to loosely announce his retirement after the grueling fight and disappointing result.

“I trained very hard for this fight. I’m very disappointed,” Kameda said. “I was going to make a decision on whether to retire or not based on my performance. I feel it might be time for me to retire. I got caught in the second round because I made a mistake I shouldn’t have made. He fought very well and I was surprised by his power. I think it’s time for me to retire.”

The mood was entirely different for the champion, who was clearly pleased with his performance.

“I’ve been training to win this title for years and I’m so happy that I have defended the title,” he said. “I am so happy that I got to face Kameda and get this victory over him. It is a big win for my career. If we had fought using movement, he probably would have beaten me, but he decided to trade punches with me and that gave me a chance to win. My jab was superb tonight and my uppercut rarely missed. Early in the fight I wasn’t sure I could take his power. But after he hit me a few times and I was still there, I started getting confidence. I felt great all week and I knew my performance would be very strong. Even before I left for the U.S. I felt better than I ever had before a fight.”

Even with the fouls and heavy-handed refereeing from Ruiz, this was still a memorable scrap that elevated Kono’s career and ended Kameda’s.

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Kono vs Kameda HIGHLIGHTS: Oct. 16, 2015 - PBC on Spike

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  1. Clarence George 08:44am, 10/17/2015

    Good to see you here, Brian, but saying that porridge-for-brains Ruiz “may have made himself too big a part of this fight” reminds me of one of the hat-wrecking pedestrians in the immortal Abbott and Costello sketch, “The Susquehanna Hat Company.”  The one who says, “I think I’ve broken your hat,” to which Lou responds, “You *think* you’ve broken it?”  Ruiz *may* have made himself too big a part of this fight?  The guy was a frigging disaster.

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