Earlier today Watanabe gym announce their 2016 end of year show, one of the most anticipated annual announcements in Japanese boxing, and one of the most expected. Sadly it also came tinged with disappointment this year with one of the bouts being less exciting than we had all hoped.
The announcement finally confirmed the rematch between the heavy handed Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20) [内山 高志] and current WBA Super Featherweight "super" champion Jezreel Corrales (20-1-0-1, 8), who of course dethroned Uchiyama earlier this year. This bout had long been pencilled in for the show, and was confirmed a while back by Corrales manager, who quite openly said the bout was a done deal.
There's no real problem with Uchiyama vs Corrales II,it's a rematch we anticipated getting and it gives Uchiyama a chance to avenge his sole loss and regain the title, whilst also allowing Corrales to show his quick blitz of Uchiyama wasn't just a freak result.
Sadly the other bout announced was a bit "meh" and saw Watanabe announce that WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) [田口良一] would be defending his title against unbeaten Venezuelan Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13). On paper looks good, but in reality it's not one we're massively excited about given that Canizales' competition has been dire, with only one win of real intrigue, a spit decision against Colombian Robert Berrera.
Given that Taguchi's team had suggested he could have been the main event of the upcoming show we expected someone with more name value and a more established status than Canizales, who is all but unknown outside of Venezuela, despite a high WBA ranking. Fights against Felix Alvarado or Pornsawan Porpramook would have held more interest, if a deal couldn't have instead been made to face domestic foe Ken Shiro. Sadly though the unknown Canizales, who really has faced competition some Thai's would have been embarrassed about, has been selected instead.
At the moment there is still rumblings of another major bout being announced for the show, with Watanabe having several of the top female fighters in Japan now under their banner, but nothing was announced in regards to those at the moment, with the announcement merely being in regards to the bouts of Uchiyama and Taguchi.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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