Tomoki Kameda battered William Encarnacion Saturday night, dropping him three times en route to a knockout win at Central Gym in Kobe, Japan.
Kameda, who resides in Nishinomiya, Japan, improves to 39-3, 21 knockouts.
Now campaigning as a featherweight, the taller Kameda landed the more effective punches from the opening bell. Encarnacion was game, but Kameda’s punches began taking their toll, including vicious punches to the body.
In round three, Kameda scored two knockdowns, both from punches to the body. To his credit, Encarnacion got up each time and fought back, but his punch output dropped dramatically as the fight progressed.
Late in the fourth round, a barrage of punches dropped Encarnacion to the canvas. Referee Jun Kawakami counted out Encarnacion at 2:35.
In his previous fight on December 11, Kameda defeated Yonfrez Parejo by unanimous decision. The win over Parejo was approved by the WBA as a world title elimination bout. Kameda is the mandatory challenger to world titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who also owns the IBF world junior featherweight title.
According to the website, Asian Boxing, Kameda will attempt to challenge Akhmadaliev for the WBA and IBF world titles. If a fight cannot be made against the unbeaten fighter from Uzbekistan, Kameda will move up to the featherweight division. Kameda weighed in at 126 pound for the Encarnacion fight.
Kameda held the WBO world bantamweight title for over a year, making three successful defenses. He challenged then-WBA titleholder Jamie McConnell (twice) in 2015 and then-WBC junior featherweight titleholder Rey Vargas, losing all three fights.
Encarnacion, who resides in San Juan de La Maguana in the Dominican Republic, drops to 19-4, 15 KOs. The 34-year-old has now lost four of his last five bouts.
In bantamweight action, Ryosuke Nasu of Osaka, Japan defeated Nishinomiya’s Chikato Sumida (9-4-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision. Scores were 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75 for Nasu, who improves to 14-8-3, 2 KOs.
The card was promoted by Masato Yamashita.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing