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.
Japanese puncher Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1, 19) is known by the name “Knockout Dynamite” . He's one of the hardest puncher, pound-for-pound, in the sport and that shown today when he recorded the 10th successful defense of his WBA Super Featherweight title, and iced the previously unbeaten, and teak tough, Jomthong Chuwatana (9-1, 4).
Coming in to the bout we were thinking that Uchiyama, at 35 years old, was on the slide and had seen much better days. We were wrong however as Uchiyama rolled back the clock and put on one of his most impressive performances to date whilst punctuating things with a brutal KO of the year contender.
The bout started tactically with both trying to control the distance, it didn't take long however for Uchiyama to connect with a thunderous right hand that rocked Jomthong and put him on to his heels. A follow up attack put Jomthong in the corner and Uchiyama went for the kill landing a number of huge shots whilst Jomthong tried to recover.
The Thai saw out the storm, some how surviving the onslaught, and managed to fight back at the end of the opening round. It was clear however that he had been hurt.
In the second round things again started slowly with a tactical bit of feeling out. That was until the pace quickened and Uchiyama let his intentions be known with a huge right hand that just whizzed past the challenger. It was clear that Uchiyama wasn't here to play about and was instead intent on finishing this early. Not too much later a right hand did connect sending Jomthong's legs into a stumble before he went down, flat on his back. The referee began the count though waved the bout off mid way through.
It now seems that we may set for much anticipated rematch between Uchiyama and WBC title holder Takashi Miura, unless one of the men managed to get WBO champion Roman Martinez in to the ring in summer, if that happens the rematch may be put off until December.
For Jomthong it's clear he can come back from this, though it may take a while as the Thai seemed to suffer from some notable facial damage.
Note-This was Uchiyama's first defense since being upgraded to the WBA Super Featherweight "super" champion but his 10th defense in total
World Title Results
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