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Ring Ratings Update: Flyweight title to be filled

15
Mar

THE RING currently recognizes five world champions among the sport’s 17 weight classes: Wladimir Klitschko at heavyweight, Kelly Pavlik at middleweight, Manny Pacquiao at junior welterweight, Juan Manuel Marquez at lightweight, and Ivan Calderon at junior flyweight.

By the end of the month THE RING will crown it’s sixth current world champion when the magazine’s Nos. 1 and 2 flyweights, Koki Kameda and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, face each other in the ring on March 27.

Like the other five RING champions, the winner of the 112-pound showdown, which takes place in Tokyo, Japan, will be considered the best fighter in his division by most fans and boxing media.

The 12-round bout matches an amazing young talent against the most grizzled and experienced of veterans.

Kameda (22-0, 14 knockouts), a boxing wunderkind who began learning the sport as soon as he could stand, is a 23-year-old two-division beltholder. The Osaka native won his first world title (at 108 pounds) with a controversial split decision over Juan Landaeta at age 19 and with only 11 pro bouts under his belt.

Kameda, whose cocky swagger makes him wildly popular with Japan’s youth but infamous to the older generation, soundly decisioned the battle-tested Venezuelan contender in an immediate rematch and then vacated the 108-pound title to campaign at flyweight where he’s won nine consecutive fights including a title-winning unanimous decision over accomplished Japanese veteran Daisuke Naito in his last bout.

Wonjongkam (74-3-1, 39 KOs), a 15-year vet with borderline hall-of-fame credentials, is a legend in his native Thailand. The former flyweight titleholder defended his 112-pound belt 17 times before dropping a decision to Naito in 2007. Prior to losing to Naito, who he had twice defeated in title defenses, Wonjongkam had won an astounding 56 consecutive fights dating back to 1996.

The 32-year-old southpaw proved he’s still got a lot of fight left in him by going 9-0-1 in his last 10 bouts, which includes a 12-round decision over dangerous Mexican standout Julio Cesar Miranda and a draw with Naito in their fourth bout.

“THE RING will recognized the winner of the March 27 bout between Koki Kameda and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam as the flyweight champion of the world,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “As Kameda and Wonjongkam are the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders, respectively, this is the perfect opportunity to fill the vacancy at 112 pounds. The winner will be the first RING magazine flyweight champion since we announced our new championship policy in 2002.”

RING RATIGNS UPDATE

WELTERWEIGHTS:

Joshua Clottey falls from No. 5 to No. 6 due to his passive effort against No. 1 contender Manny Pacquiao, which also pushes up Andre Berto from No. 6 to No. 5.

LIGHTWEIGHTS:

Humberto Soto debuts at No. 9 following his decision victory over David Diaz (No. 9 last week). Diaz, who has lost two of his three most recent bouts, exits.

JR. LIGHTWEIGHTS:

Humberto Soto (No. 1 last week) departs to campaign at lightweight, which moves Robert Guerrero (No. 2 last week) into the top spot. Soto’s move up in weight also allows everybody else rated last week to climb one rung each and makes room for Vitaliu Tajbert to return at No. 10.

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