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ANOTHER HOMETOWN DECISION IN JAPAN


PhilBoxing.com


Japan, like Thailand , appears to be getting increasingly notorious for hometown decisions that continue to erode the integrity of the sport and raises serious questions about some of the judges picked to officiate, especially in world title and even OPBF title fights.

The latest furor was raised by the split decision victory of 19 year old Koki Kameda over Venezuela's Juan Landaeta in a WBA light flyweight title bout. The Japanese media, in fairness to them roundly booed Kameda who is regarded as a "bad boy" and as report said is "notoriously flamboyant." The report said Kameda was given the WBA light flyweight title even though he was pounded by Landaeta and didn't deserve to win.

The Sankei Shimbun newspaper headlined "A storm of booing" claiming it was "obviously a decision based on home advantage. Everybody thought Kameda lost. The decision will be remembered as a stain."

The Tokyo Broadcasting System which telecast the fight "live" disclosed that over 30,000 people called to complain about the decision.

The largest selling newspaper in Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun branded it "a dismaying decision."

Japan's former lightweight champion "Guts" Ishimatsu disclosed that he had Landaeta winning by no less than seven points adding "Oh my God how can such a man be the winner? Can a Japanese become the champion simply by standing in he ring?"

Several internet sites assailed the decision and forums had some nasty things to say including claims that the fight was a fix. On one site there was a claim that 13,767 emails were received and out of the number 13,755 said Kameda lost. Questions were asked whether TBS bribed the judges for ratings or was it the boxing association in order to crown a new star and raise viewer involvement.

An Associated Press dispatch said Kameda won a "contentious" decision even though Landaeta controlled the fight from the opening bell while an internet replay showed Landaeta decking Kameda with a cracking right cross in the final seconds of the opening round and had him clinging on even in the final round.

It appears that there's a love-hate relationship between the Japanese public and Kameda and his two brothers Daiki and Kazuki who have reportedly swept the media with what AFP described as " their bad-boy, big-mouth style." In fact Kameda strutted into a pre-fight press conference munching a hamburger and vowed to win by a knockout.

After the fight Kameda told the fans he was sorry for the clumsy match. It was not the fight that was clumsy it was the decision.

Unfortunately, journalist Joe Koizumi who manages Randy Suico defended the decision even as he reported that TV news shows, weeklies and daily newspapers persistently keep castigating Kameda's coronation by ignoring Kameda's fans silent, affirmative voices. Koizumi said "it seems very ridiculous that those who have no correct knowledge on the scoring standard loudly downgrade Kameda's victory although it was such a hairline affair that either could be a winner. It may show anti-Kameda fans jealousy and antagonism."

Koizumi also pointed out that the fight recorded an amazing 52.9 percent rating at the time the decision was announced and an average of 42.4 percent throughout the fight. He said probably half the 120 million population must have watched the fight. It was the highest registered for a boxing program in the past ten years which may prove Kameda's immense popularity.
Perhaps the business side of television and the powerful people behind Kameda influenced the decision of two of the three judges.

In fact the whole day of the fight Tokyo Broadcasting System built its programming around the event much like ABS-CBN did for the Mano-A-Mano showdown between Filipino ring idol Manny Pacquiao and Mexico's Oscar Larios.

Ratings wise, the Pacquiao-Larios fight averaged over 67 percent and there was absolutely no doubt that Pacquiao won the fight handsomely. That makes all the difference.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.


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