WBA bantamweight champ Koki Kameda to face Apolinario in title defense


WBA bantamweight champion Koki Kameda will face third-ranked challenger John Mark Apolinario of the Philippines in his seventh defense of the title on July 23 at Tokyo Big Site.

After winning a razor-thin split decision over Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym of Thailand in April, the 26-year-old Kameda has proclaimed he is prepared to put his career on the line.

“I will bet my career on this one. I have to be that serious when I fight this time,” said Kameda, who holds a record of 30-1 (17 knockouts).

The 23-year-old Apolinario is 17-2-3 (four KOs).

“I’d really like to say that I’ll beat him with a knockout, but I don’t want to talk big,” said Kameda, who broke down in tears and apologized to his home crowd in Osaka after his win against Panomroonglek.

The Thai at times dazed the champion with heavy shots but lacked the knockout punch to finish him.