Tomoki Kameda Outlasts Determined Immanuel Naidjala
By Jake Donovan
Tomoki Kameda's entrance into the history books was a lot more fun - and a little less of struggle - than maintaining his place in the title fray.
The youngest member of the fighting Kameda family turned back the challenge of Namibia's Immanuel Naidjala, earning a unanimous decision Tuesday evening in Osaka, Japan. Scores of 117-111, 118-110 and 119-109 failed to reflect the competitive nature of Kameda's first bantamweight title defense.
Far more fanfare came with Kameda's last ring appearance, a title-winning effort over Paulus Ambunda this past August in Philippines. Guinness Book of World Records was on hand for the event, with its conclusion - a unanimous decision win over Kameda - marking the first time in boxing history three boxing brothers won major titles at any point of their respective careers.
All three continue to reign to this day, with the younger Kameda making the first defense on the same show that saw middle brother Daiki Kameda challenge Venezuela's Liborio Solis in a 115 lb. unification bout. Daiki's title win over Rodrigo Guerrero in September accomplished a feat unlikely to ever be duplicated - three brothers simultaneously enjoying title reigns.
The only enjoyable part of the first defense for Tomoki Kameda was the reading of the scorecards. Twelve rounds of action and pain preceded the moment, as Naidjala was game for the cause.
Like Ambunda before him, Naidjala entered a showdown with the youngest Kameda as an unbeaten Namibian boxer. Ambunda was a defending titlist thought to be served up as a sacrificial lamb. A similar role was in store for Naidjala, though the challenger was having none of it.
A determined effort from the unbeaten bantamweight contender forced Kameda to expend a lot of energy early in the fight. It was enough to put rounds in the bank, but hardly enough to keep his challenger at bay.
Naidjala never slowed down, his jab and long right hand picking up steam while Kameda's gas tank appeared to teeter on empty. The tide shift made for anxious moments for the defending titlist and the crowd on hand. Rounds nine and ten were perhaps the best of the fight for Naidjala, although his efforts never quite translated to success on the judges' scorecards.
Kameda never fully caught his second win, but dug deep enough in round eleven to turn away any lingering threat of disaster. The defending titlist was spent in the 12th and final round, pushing his punches as Naidjala clearly outhustled him, albeit in a round where he clearly needed to score a knockout blow.
That never came close to happening, thus defusing the threat of an upset. Naidjala's first title fight - and first trip outside of Namibia - puts an end to his days as an unbeaten fighter, falling to 17-1-1 (10KO), but showing signs of promise for future title challenges.
Meanwhile, far happier times exist for the Kameda family. The youngest of the trio of champions improves to 29-0 (18KO) with the win, his third of a 2013 campaign he and his family will never forget.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox