We would suggest, however, that Uchiyama's hardest bout came against the previously unheralded Daiki Kaneko who, at the time, was known on by those who follow the Japanese domestic scene.
Going in to this bout Uchiyama had made 7 defences with 6 KO's, the only man not to be stopped by the heavy hitting champion was Michael Farenas and that bout was ended early due to a clash of heads in round 3 force a technical draw. It was expected by many that Uchiyama would stop Kaneko, after all Kaneko's best wins had come on the Japanese domestic scene against the likes of of former champion Seiichi Okada, multi time challenger Kyohei Tamakoshi and first time challenger Ryota Kajiki, none of whom would have been a match for Uchiyama.
What we ended up getting was a surprise. The bout wasn't a blow out, in fact it never really looked like Kaneko was going to be stopped as the challenger proved he was just as strong and tough as the champion who was forced to work hard, and pull himself off the canvas. It was, by far, the toughest test for Uchiyama and surprisingly it was the first time he had gone the distance in more than 4 years!
Although Kaneko failed in his title bid here we have to believe that this performance has proven he is world class and he's now only waiting for another opportunity. If, or rather when, he gets another world title fight we suspect he'll take home the gold.