Jamie McDonnell retained his World Boxing Association bantamweight belt Sunday with a unanimous decision over Japan's Tomoki Kameda in a rematch of their title fight earlier this year.
The 29-year-old Brit McDonnell knocked Kameda down in the final round as he won on all three judges' scorecards 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 at the American Bank Center arena.
"I felt in control all the way through," McDonnell said. "I did catch him (in the 12th) and from there I sailed to victory."
McDonnell scored the only knockdown of the fight when he hit Kameda with a straight right hand that landed behind the ear and sent the 24-year-old Japanese fighter to the canvas.
It was a straight shot by McDonnell in the 12th as he timed his punch when former world champion Kameda was stepping back and off balance. Kameda wasn't hurt by the blow and immediately got up and indicated to the referee he was ready to continue.
McDonnell said he thought moving forward and keeping busy helped him get the decision.
"The jab was the key to this fight. I threw it more than I threw anything," said McDonnell.
McDonnell and Kameda were fighting for the WBA's "regular" bantamweight title, a rung below Juan Carlos Payano's WBA undisputed crown.
McDonnell, of Doncaster, England, improved to 26-2-1 with 12 knockouts as he ran his unbeaten streak to 19 consecutive fights.
He won the 118-pound title in March 2014 and defended it against Kameda in May in another scintillating fight in the Lone Star State. McDonnell also won that fight on points despite getting knocked down in the third round.
Kameda was hoping to avenge the only loss of his career and many in the crowd thought he had done just that, jeering the decision including the one judge who had McDonnell winning by seven points.
Kameda, who dropped to 31-2, 19 knockouts, comes from a boxing family. He was born in Osaka and moved to Mexico when he was 15. At one time he and his two brothers were all world champions together.
Both fighters came out willing to trade punches from the opening bell.
McDonnell was the aggressor, backing Kameda up and cutting off the ring.
But Kameda didn't wilt under the constant pressure. Despite throwing less punches he was able to pick his spots and often beat the champion to the punch.
- Kameda denied again -
Kameda was upset and said it is the second-straight time he has been denied a decision.
"I thought I won this fight a lot clearer than the last fight," he said. "I did everything right. I had the right game plan."
In an uninspiring main event, American Anthony Dirrell easily outpointed Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico in a 10-round super middleweight bout.
Dirrell was fighting for the first time since losing his title to Badou Jack four months ago in Chicago.