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Super featherweight champion Uchiyama defends title for 11th time

by

Staff Writer

Hard hitter Takashi Uchiyama posted a third-round technical knockout victory over Oliver Flores on Thursday night, defending his WBA super featherweight title for the 11th time at Ota City General Gymnasium.

It was another no-sweat performance for Uchiyama, who won his previous bout in two rounds in May.

He took the pace from the opening round and sank his left fist into Flores’s body in Round 3. The southpaw from Nicaragua wasn’t able to stand back up and the bout was over.

The fight was stopped 1 minute, 47 seconds into the round.

Uchiyama said after the fight that he tried not to do too much early on, though he was physically in top condition. He added that he had planned to quicken his pace from the midway point, but he just didn’t miss the winnable opportunity.

“I saw his (right) belly open,” Uchiyama said. “So I was like, ‘Oh, it’s open.’ Then I hit there and it was over.”

Uchiyama said that he didn’t necessarily put all his energy with the finishing punch, but it had enough speed to damage Flores.

“I thought it was impossible (for Flores to stand up),” said Uchiyama, 36, looking back on the final scene.

Flores said, “Uchiyama landed punches accurately. He’s a great champ, but I wanted to fight longer. It wasn’t my night.”

Before the fight, Uchiyama was tied with former WBC bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa with 10 consecutive world title defense, which was the second-best record for a Japanese fighter. But now Uchiyama is the sole man behind Hall of Famer Yoko Gushiken, who defended his WBA light flyweight title 13 times.

“Gushiken was such a great fighter,” Uchiyama said. “But we are in a different era, and I don’t particularly feel anything with the record. But hopefully, I’ll have big fights and then maybe I can get past him.”

With the win over Flores, Uchiyama (24-0-1, 20 knockouts) is now expected to make his U.S. fight debut in his next title match in 2016.

Uchiyama’s gym boss Hitoshi Watanabe said that the boxer had managed to defend his titles while dealing with a series of injuries in his previous seven bouts or so, but when he’s healthy like on Thursday, he can beat anyone in the world.

“If both of his hands are fine, he can take on anyone,” Watanabe said of Uchiyama.

Uchiyama has stated publicly that he was interested in fighting against Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters, a former WBA featherweight champ who lost the title on the scale in June. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum reportedly said that he was planning to have the winner of the bout between Walters and Jason Sosa, which took place on Dec. 19, face Uchiyama in the United States this spring. But their fight ended in a draw.

Also on the New Year’s Eve fight card, Uchiyama’s fellow Watanabe Gym fighter, Ryoichi Taguchi, successfully defended his WBA light flyweight belt for the second time, beating Colombia’s Luis de la Rosa by TKO.

Early on, the challenger was belligerent, attacking the Japanese champion. But Taguchi eventually found a way to control the pace, raining punch after punch in the ninth.

De la Rosa didn’t rise from the chair in his corner at the start of Round 10, and the referee declared it a TKO win for Taguchi.

“I wasn’t able to move as well as I would hope earlier, and even when I was landing my punches, (de la Rosa) was still coming forward, so I had tough times against him,” Taguchi said. “I thought I was behind in points, so I tried to find a way with my body blows.”

It was the fourth world title shot for de la Rosa.

Ioka retains title

Osaka KYODO

WBA flyweight titleholder Kazuto Ioka floored former champion Juan Carlos Reveco in the 11th round in a rematch for his second successful defense Thursday.

Ioka, who won the belt from Reveco back in April by a majority decision, put the second-ranked Argentine on his knees with a left to the body 1 minute, 57 seconds into the 11th at Edion Arena Osaka before the referee called the fight.

Ioka, the fastest boxer in the world to conquer three divisions, now has 19 wins and a loss from 20 bouts, including 11 knockouts.

“I was determined to win today by a knockout no matter what,” Ioka said.

Ahead of Ioka’s fight, IBF minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (30-8, 12 KOs) failed in his third defense after an injury decision in the ninth awarded the title to Mexico’s Jose Argumedo.