The bad year for the Watanabe Gym, and on a personal level for Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) [内山 高志], continued today with the veteran suffering a second successive loss to Panama's Jezreel Corrales (21-1-0-1, 8), though unlike the first bout this time things were very competitive and Uchiyama had more than a few moments of success.
Uchiyama tried to take control of the pace here by using his deliberate jab to slow the pace of the champion, who simply overwhelmed him with speed when the two fighters faced off back in April. Feeling more confident Uchiyama started to apply some pressure in round 2 but Corrales moved well to neutralise the pressure and landed a powerful left. Uchiyama withstood the blow, which made a surprisingly loud noise, and continued to try and apply pressure.
By round 4 Corrales was switching up his stance and Uchiyama seemed to realise that Corrales' feet could prove problematic. A counter in round 5 gave Uchiyama some worries but the Japanese favourite withstood it before dropping Corrales later in the round, scoring the fights sole knock down. Despite the knockdown Corrales was back to showing his ability in round 6 and seemed to win the round.
The action following was close but it seemed like Corrales flashier shots and movement impressed the judges more than Uchiyama's heavier and more controlled approach, despite the crowd clearly being behind the local veteran. Those close and competitive rounds were ones that the locals would have felt Uchiyama deserved but the judges, who were split on a number of them, seemed to favour the champion in, despite a very good round 10 from Uchiyama where he had real success to the body. Interestingly that was the only round, other than round 5, that one judge actually gave to Uchiyama
Coming in to the final round it seemed the bout was up for grabs, and was going to be decided by what the judges preferred. Sadly though Uchiyama couldn't do enough to impress the judges enough, and came up on the wrong end of a split decision, a decision in which one judge, somehow, gave him only 2 rounds, including the 10-8 round. That lead to cards that read 117-110, a very questionable card, and 115-112 in favour of Guzman whilst the third judge had the bout 113-114 to Uchiyama.
It's worth noting that the judge with the widest card was Belgian Philippe Verbeke, who has frequently judged bouts in Japan but may not be invited again given his scorecard here.
Whether Uchiyama now retires, or looks to continue seems to be an interesting question, though the view from fans seems to be that retirement is looming for the popular puncher. For Corrales the reality is that the first bout flattered him, and he was run razor thin by a post-prime 37 year old Uchiyama here. He'll likely be able to keep the title for a while but would be well advised to avoid a fight with someone like Vasyl Lomachneko who would take care of him relatively easily on this performance.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.