Tomoki Kameda: ‘I have been thinking about how to beat Rey Vargas for quite some time’
Talented boxer-puncher Tomoki Kameda will challenge Rey Vargas for the WBC junior featherweight title at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Saturday.
Kameda, who is rated No. 6 by The Ring at 122 pounds, is excited that he will have the opportunity to become a two-weight world titleholder against a former amateur rival.
“This is a long-awaited rematch for me to exact revenge on the only fighter who beat me in my amateur career,” Kameda (36-2, 20 knockouts) told The Ring through Hank Hakoda. “When I recall my bout versus Vargas as an amateur, I was unable to land an effective punch on him due to his unexpected speed, height and long reach. He also threw a lot of punches.
“He has developed an impressive professional career with no losses. I think his greatest assets and strength come from his experience as a pro, which has allowed him – over time – to develop a fighting style based on a proven skillset. However, Vargas is not a perfect boxer and I can see the weak point I can take advantage of. I have been thinking about how to beat Vargas for quite some time, long before I signed for this match.
“If I beat Rey Vargas, who is rated the strongest among the current junior featherweight world champions, I will get a high reputation in return. That is the great motivation for me to fight him again.”
Vargas (33-0, 22 KOs) turned professional in 2010. The 28-year-old Mexican learned his trade, collecting an assortment of fringe titles before traveling to England where he bested Gavin McDonnell to claim the vacant WBC title in February 2017. He has made four successful defenses.
Last year, however, Vargas suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and he also endured a bout of pneumonia that sidelined him for 10 months. During Vargas’ absence Kameda out boxed Abigail Medina to claim WBC “interim” status.
“I was able to put a variety of boxing techniques and tactics into practice,” Kameda said of the Medina fight last November. “Medina was a greater boxer with more toughness and guts than I had expected.
“In the later rounds, Medina tried to increase the pace. I still controlled the bout on points and went on to win, pushing him back with my speed, combinations and toughness. It was a good achievement that definitely helped my confidence.”
In preparation for this title shot, the 27-year-old Kameda has trained in Osaka for three months alongside his trainer Kyosuke Suzuki and strength and conditioning coach Masayoshi Hideshima.
Kameda actually moved to Mexico when he was 15, immersing himself in a new culture while honing his skills in a boxing hotbed. He quickly earned the nickname “El Mexicanito” and is very proud of that part of his life.
Living in Mexico obviously helped shape Kameda as a boxer, but he feels there have significant improvements since he reigned as the WBO bantamweight titleholder earlier in the decade.
“I am growing every day as a boxer,” Kameda explained. “I would like to prove how much stronger I can be and how far I can go, winning against strong opponents. I think this bout is a brand new challenge. After this fight, I want to go for a unification bout with other champions at junior featherweight.”
He’s also interested in a potential superfight with countryman Naoya Inoue, who currently plies his trade at 118 pounds.
“Naoya Inoue is one of the greatest fighters [active in boxing today],” Kameda said. “If he joins the 122-pound [division], I may have a chance to face him, and I think it would be interesting if the bout took place.”
Our correspondent Hank Hakoda helped coordinate and translate this feature.
Vargas-Kameda will be broadcast live on DAZN in the U.S.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
GET THE LATEST ISSUE AT THE RING SHOP (CLICK HERE)