Aged 34 Uchiyama has been a man that is truly feared. His skills are exceptional, his speed may not be great but he's explosive and every shot hurts, be it to the head as he showed against Jorge Solis or the body as he showed against Jaider Parra earlier this year.
As well as being explosive in single shots he's also devastating in combinations, as he showed showed against Brian Vasquez. There really is no proven way of deal with an Uchiyama assault. In fact the only man who has come close was Takashi Miura who dropped Uchiyama before being stopped himself.
The unbeaten Uchiyama, the WBA Super Featherweight champion will be hunting the 8th defense of his title on New Years Eve as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Daiki Kaneko (19-2-3, 12) in a bout that should set pulses rushing through out Japan.
Kaneko, taking part in his first world title fight enters having been the Japanese champion for 18 months. As the Japanese champion Kaneko defended his title 4 times, all by stoppage. Although they were at a lower level than Uchiyama's fights the 25 year old does seem to be coming in to his own at last.
Although Kaneko's record, with 2 losses and 3 draws, does look somewhat poor for a man facing Uchiyama it's worth noting that he hasn't lost in 6 almost years. He has gone 13-0-3 (10) in that time and grown from a teenager with promise to a genuinely talented, hard hitting and highly skilled individual.
Although the names aren't there and the record isn't as good Kaneko does have advantages over Uchiyama. Firstly Kaneko is a lot younger, he's only 25 years old and hasn't got the wear and tear or natural slowing of Uchiyama. Of course this leads us to points 2 and 3, Kaneko is faster and appears to a more consistent work rate. Don't get us wrong's not as clean or as effective work but there is more of it than you'd see from Uchiyama.
The final advantage Kaneko has is the lack of pressure on his shoulders. He's not expected to win. Uchiyama is expected to stop Kaneko and then go on to a rematch with Miura. We'll admit we'd love to see that, but maybe that will help Kaneko here.
When it comes to the bout it's self we expect Kaneko to put up a good fight. We expect to see Kaneko starting fast, putting Uchiyama under pressure and letting his hands go. Unfortunately for Kaneko Uchiyama is defensively sound and should see out the fast start before landing his own heavy artillery from 3 or 4 onwards before Kaneko finally get stopped.
For some this is a total mismatch, for us we only expect one winner, but it's not a total mismatch. It's probably the 5th or 6th best bout you could make at 130 involving Uchiyama. Sure we'd rather see Uchiyama in with Miura, Mikey Garcia, Argenis Mendez, Juan Carlos Burgos or Roman Martinez but that really is it and this really should be interesting for as long as it lasts.
A note for Japanese fans. This fight, along with Takashi Miura v Dante Jordan will be televised on Tokyo TV on New Years Eve. For international fans however it appears no one is showing this in Europe or the US which is a real shame considering how good Uchiyama really is.