Uchiyama vs Corrales 2 Set For New Years – Longtime WBA world super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1) will get a return match against Jezreel Corrales (20-1) this coming New Year’s Eve in Tokyo. Corrales put the first loss on Uchiyama’s record this past April 27th when he stopped him in round 2 of their meeting in Tokyo, taking the WBA world title with him back to Panama.
Uchiyama turns 37 next month. Despite repeated rumors that had him fighting outside of Japan, it looks more and more like that will never happen. Priority number one right now is to recapture the belt he lost to Corrales.
Uchiyama won the WBA world super featherweight title back in January of 2010 when he stopped Juan Carlos Salgado of Mexico in the 12th round. That started a streak of 11 successful title defenses that saw Uchiyama carve a special place for himself in Japan’s robust but closed boxing scene. New Year’s Eve is a party in Tokyo and traditionally it is a day to hold fighting events. Uchiyama has made New Year’s Eve title defenses every year since 2011 as the headline act, and this rematch with Corrales assures that this tradition continues for a sixth year in a row.
Uchiyama vs Corrales 2
Last New Year’s, Uchiyama successfully defended his WBA belt against Oliver Flores, a Nicaraguan fighter with a 27-1-2 record built up mainly on regional competition. Uchiyama stopped Flores in the third round and after that the word that he would fight outside of Japan for his next fight became louder than at any point in his career. Uchiyama was involved with negotiations with Bob Arum and Top Rank, and that at least went as far as to have Arum state publicly at one point that he was working on Uchiyama vs. Nicholas Walters.
That deal was never closed, however, and Uchiyama signed for an April title defense against Corrales. Corrales, then 24 years old and 19-1, walked in to Tokyo a big underdog against the now “Super World” champion. Corrales had never fought outside of Panama before, and his strictly regional resume did not seem to be enough to go in against the revered champion. But Corrales came in confidently throwing big punches and in the second round he broke through and hurt Uchiyama. In a dramatic sequence of events, Corrales closed the deal, sending the hurt Uchiyama down three times to get the stoppage with a second remaining in the round. Uchiyama’s six-year title reign had come to an end.
The weight class is deep and talent filled and, as stated, Uchiyama is going to be 37 years old. Having held the belt for more than six years, Uchiyama deserves to have a rematch, and it will certainly be interesting to see where the line will be once the sports books open one for this fight.
A win for Corrales would throw him into the fire against the likes of Walters, Vasyl Lomachenko and a slew of young talent such as Jason Sosa (WBA regular word champion), Francisco Vargas (WBC world) and Jose Pedraza (IBF world). As for Uchiyama, a win for him at this point will likely result in him paying lower ranked fighters to come challenge him in Japan rather than step into the mix at the top of the division. It would have been great for Uchiyama to emerge on the world scene say at year three of his title reign, but since he didn’t there is no reason to believe he will step out of his comfort zone now even if he recaptures his title.
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