2000-03-04 Noel Arambulet w pts 12 Jose Garcia Bernal, Jose David Ugarte Stadium, Coro, Venezuela - WBA
2000-03-04 Noel Arambulet w pts 12 Jose Garcia Bernal, Jose David Ugarte Stadium, Coro, Venezuela - WBA. Referee: Julio Cesar Alvarado. Scorecards: 119-108, 117-112, 116-113. In making his first defence, Arambulet (105) came up against a man who had already beaten him and one who had won his previous 11 fights, nine of them coming inside the distance. However, having been inactive for close on a year by the time Garcia Bernal (105) had shaken off the ring-rust Arambulet was up and running. Quick and elusive, Arambulet made a difficult target, and although the challenger consistently came forward he was unable to pin his man down long enough to do any damage. It was later discovered that there was a mistake on one of the cards, but it would have made no difference to the result, with the challenger at best winning a couple of rounds and sharing a few others.
On 9 April, Jomo Gamboa outpointed Atsushi Sai over 12 rounds at the Municipal Gym, Hachinohe, Japan to retain his WBA ‘interim’ crown before taking on Arambulet for the title at the Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan on 20 August. Although Arambulet (106½) came in over the weight and forfeited the title, after the fight went ahead Gamboa (105) was recognised as the new champion following a 116-114, 116-114, 114-116 points win.