Japan’s Kamegai faces Cotto in first world title bout
Japanese boxer Yoshihiro Kamegai has the chance to grab the world junior middleweight title left behind by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but blocking his path is former world champion Miguel Cotto.
Promoters announced Wednesday that Kamegai will face Cotto on August 26 at Los Angeles for the vacant World Boxing Organization junior middleweight crown.
Mexican star Alvarez, who defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr earlier this month, dropped the 154-pound title as he moves up to the middleweight ranks for a megafight on September 16 against unbeaten Gennady Golovkin for the Kazak star’s three world titles.
Vying to replace Alvarez at 154 pounds are Kamegai, in his first world title bout at age 34, and 36-year-old Puerto Rican Cotto, whose first world championship bout was in 2004.
“I’m very excited to be back and showcase a high level fight for the fans,” Cotto said.
“Kamegai is a great, tough fighter, but I will be ready for him and to capture the world title. I can’t wait to start training for this fight and get back in the ring.”
Cotto, 40-5 with 33 knockouts, has owned world titles at super lightweight, welterweight, super welterweight/junior middleweight and middleweight — the only Puerto Rican fighter to claim crowns in four different weight classes.
“I fully understand who I’m going to be in the ring against, but Cotto’s record and history won’t matter once we are toe-to-toe,” Kamegai said. “I am looking forward to giving fans the kind of aggressive fight that they have seen from me before and having my arm raised in victory.”
Kamegai, 27-3 with two drawn and 24 knockouts, is 3-2 with one drawn in his past six fights over the past three years, having stopped Mexico’s Jesus Soto Karass last September in his most recent bout.
Cotto is 3-3 over the past five years, including a super welterweight title loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2012. His most recent bout was an unanimous decision loss to Alvarez in November 2015.
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