Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-2, 23 KOs) has previously fought in California a total of five times. After each occasion, he returned to Tokyo with his head held high, but without the victory, amassing a record of 0-3-2 on the American west coast.
This Saturday night, on the Roman Gonzalez – Carlos Cuadras undercard, Kamegai seeks to reverse his fortune against former welterweight contender, Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-4, 18 KOs).
In their first encounter, the pair treated the crowd to an intense all-action fight that ended as a draw and is on the short list for fight of the year.
“I don’t think I lost the first fight,” said Kamegai. “But it was an away game for me and I don’t think I did enough to win an away game.”
The Japanese native, and former OPBF welterweight champion, gained a lot of fans by taking Robert Guerrero to the final bell in 2014. The spirited Kamegai absorbed all that “The Ghost” could muster and made it to the final bell in front of an elated crowd at the Stub Hub Center, just a few miles south of The Forum in Inglewood, where he competes this weekend.
On Saturday night, Kamegai expects to be much stronger than he was in his first fight against Soto Karass and hopes that his power will be the difference-maker. “I need to have more power behind my punches and that’s something we’ve worked on in training,” said Kamegai. “He’s a very good fighter and I’m glad he wanted to do a rematch.”
Soto Karass also felt that a different approach to camp would serve him well. Though he throws over 30 more punches per round than the average junior middleweight, he felt that it wouldn’t hurt to have a little bit more fuel in the tank for his second lap alongside his Japanese rival. “I did a lot more roadwork, but mountainous roadwork for better conditioning.”
The Sinalo native also insists that his days of playing gatekeeper are over. “I’m a badass and in the end I know what I capable of,” he continued. “There are a lot of up and coming fighters but I won’t be a steppingstone for them.”