It's fair to say that 2016 has been a nightmare year for the Watanabe Gym. In March they saw Akio Shibata (27-9-1, 13) [柴田 明雄] lose the Japanese and OPBF Middleweight titles, in April Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) [内山 高志] lost the WBA Super Featherweight "Super" title, in August Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13) [河野 公平] lost the WBA Super Flyweight title and in December we saw Ayaka Miyao (21-6-1, 5) [宮尾 綾香] suffer a nasty injury before Kono and Uchiyama suffered another loss each.
Today Watanabe gym chairman Hitoshi Watanabe was part of a press conference, along with Ryoichi Taguchi, and seemed to accept the future for both Uchiyama and Kono was unclear.
Uchiyama, 37, had previously been reported as saying he would retire if he lost on December 31st in his rematch with Jezreel Corrales, a bout that he lost by decision. Mr Watanabe however seemed to suggest that Uchiyama hadn't made an official decision yet, and has merely stated he would take a rest and consider his future. Mr Watanabe did state however that he would let Uchiyama make his own decision.
At 36 Kono is also getting on, and has been in a number of wars long before suffering his stoppage loss to Naoya Inoue on December 30th. As with Uchiyama Mr Watanabe is happy to let the fighter have a rest and then make a decision on his future.
Given the ages of the two men, and their clear signs of decline, it would seem likely that both will retire in the near future, though they might well have one more run before hanging up the gloves if they choose to continue.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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