On Saturday, July 13, 2019, WBC Super Bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (34-0 22 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico successfully defended his title for the fifth time against No. 1 contender and interim champion Tomoki Kameda (36-3 20 KOs) of Osaka, Japan.
Vargas defeated Kameda by unanimous decision with three scores of 117-110 in a fight that may have been closer than the scorecards read and was a true clash of styles as pressure met volume in a tricky fight to score.
Vargas came out moving along the edges of the ring looking to find his range, while Kameda moved forward pressing the action, landing the first meaningful punch–an overhand right on the temple of Vargas–although the shot had no real affect on him.
Vargas continued working his range in the next round and landed a glancing one-two combination down the middle and snuck in a body shot as he backed off. Vargas began to let his hands go a bit more as the pace of the round heated up.
Kameda stayed calm and poised, walking down Vargas behind feints and single jabs, forcing the pressure as the second round ended.
In the third round, Kameda proved his intention to make it a rough fight by not letting Vargas get set and forcing his back to the ropes.
The rough-and-tumble frantic style of Kameda saw a bit of wrestling throughout the bout with both fighters slipping. Vargas managed to keep dictating the pace, keeping Kameda away behind his jab and right hand while also finding a home for the uppercut as Kameda lunged in.
In Round 8, Kameda found success as he forced the action and landed good combinations on the inside and found a home for the left hook.
The championship rounds were a seesaw affair as the champion worked behind his combinations and volume, while the challenger increased the pressure and landed the bigger and more eye-catching shots. Kameda was able to land several big hooks that sent the sweat flying off Vargas and staggered him a few times.
As the final round closed, both fighters exchanged until the bell rang with Kameda getting the best of it and Vargas tying up and trying to avoid taking any big shots.
As the decision was announced the pro-Kameda crowd voiced their disapproval. Vargas commented that he felt the crowd was filled with plenty of Kameda supporters and the judges were not fooled by the constant cheers (and boos).
“I believe that he brought a lot of fans from Japan,” said Vargas. “That’s why they don’t agree with the decision.”
Vargas also took the time to call out unified champion Danny Roman (who was in attendance), but mentioned that if the fight could not be made he may move up in weight.
“Danny Roman. We need to unify titles, why not? I want all three titles. Danny, we are ready. I am ready whenever you want to fight. You know when a Mexican fights another Mexican, it’s a war.”
For his part, Kameda remained humble and gracious in defeat.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone,” said Kameda. “I recognize Vargas. I believe that he won the fight tonight and I respect him as a champion. He won. I need to learn and to practice more in order to get another chance to be champion again. I am very grateful for all the Mexican people. I want to be World Champion again.”