Reigning WBA super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama was knocked down three times in rout to a stunning defeat at the hands of interim champion Jezreel Corrales. The challenger wasted little time and secured the 2nd round TKO in front of a packed Tokyo arena.
With a win Uchiyama would’ve had 12 consecutive title defenses, the most by any Japanese boxer. With the loss, the 36 year old will have to take stock of his career that is much closer to the end than it is to the beginning.
Uchiyama had been in talks to stage his next fight in the U.S. but seeing his skill in the ring led some to balk at that scenario, fearing their own demise.
Widely considered the division’s best yet continuly being told to wait his turn for the big fights while younger contenders, some he’d even already beaten, were given their shot, had to weigh heavily on the fighter’s shoulders. This was especially true as he was in negotiations to fight Nicholas Walters and also Javier Fortuna- both of whom carry American television possibilities, before the Corrales fight was made.
It was with that in mind that Uchiyama prepared for the lesser known Corrales who had trouble making weight for the fight. The bigger and clearly stronger Corrales bullied the champion in the first round, connecting with massive power blows, in which Uchiyama himself admitted he never truly recovered.
Even Ryoichi Taguchi, Uchiyama’s fellow Watanabe Gym mate, was in dissaray following the news of Uchiyama’s defeat, even though he himself had just successfully defended his junior flyweight title for a third time with a TKO.
One has to wonder if Uchiyama was psychologically prepared for the underrated challenger or if the loss of motivation had defeated him beforehand. Even with the additional weight Corrales had on him, we’ve seen smaller fighters time and again outbox and outclass their inexperienced foes. This time it seemed Uchiyama lost that killer “KO Dynamite” instinct.
The stadium left somber beyond the cheers from team Corrales, an aging warrior tasting bitter defeat for the first time has to be at least considering hanging up the gloves.
Or maybe the allure of fighting in Las Vegas or under the bright lights of New York City reverberates his motivation to continue? Keeping the dream alive could mean an attractive rematch with Takashi Miura or against heavily avoided Vasyl Lomachenko. The little time left in the career of Takashi Uchiyama will tell us soon enough.
Also on the undercard, Kohei Kono successfully defended his junior bantamweight title with a unanimous decision win over Thailand’s Inthanon Sithchamuang. Scores were (119-106, 119-106, 119-106).