WBA super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Panama’s Jezreel Corrales on Wednesday, ending his more than six-year reign atop the division.
Corrales, the interim champion, knocked Uchiyama down three times in Round 2 and referee Robert Hoyle, of the United States, stopped the fight with just one second remaining.
Uchiyama’s streak of successful title defenses came to an end at 11. It was also the first professional loss for Uchiyama (24-1-1), who had retained the belt since he won it from Juan Carlos Salgado in January 2010. For his accomplishment, Uchiyama was given the title of “super champion” last year.
Uchiyama struggled to keep up with Corrales’ aggressive pace. The Panamanian seized the momentum when he did some damage to Uchiyama in the opening round.
Uchiyama tried to create distance with his left jab, but Corrales kept surging forward and landed three strong blows.
“I knew this was going to be a difficult match, because Uchiyama is such a tough fighter,” Corrales, 24, said through an interpreter after the bout. “I wasn’t particularly looking for a knockout win, but it just came naturally. I was able to take advantage of my chances.”
With the big win, Corrales improved to 20-1-0 (eight KOs) in his pro career.
“I knew Uchiyama was a hard puncher and I tried to be careful with his right,” Corrales continued. “I’ve practiced avoiding his punches.”
Uchiyama, 36, accepted the shocking loss, making no excuses. He said that the fight ended before he was warmed up enough.
“I don’t remember how many punches I took from him, but I couldn’t see them,” said Uchiyama, who was named MVP of the Japan Boxing Commission last year.
Uchiyama said he thought he was conscious enough after the first knockdown in the second round, but he “wasn’t able to react” to Corrales’ blows afterward.
“So I guess I had some damage left,” the Nagasaki Prefecture native said.
Because Corrales, who failed to make weight at the first attempt during Tuesday’s weigh-in, supposedly gained considerable weight back, which would give him a power advantage, before Wednesday’s fight, Hitoshi Watanabe, Uchiyama’s gym president, said Uchiyama’s side told the Japanese boxer not to exchange too many blows early, but the strategy didn’t work out.
“We knew (Corrales) would be powerful early,” Watanabe said. “But we thought we would have a better chance later in the fight.”
In other world title matches, Ryoichi Taguchi won via TKO over Juan Jose Landaeta defending his WBA light flyweight title for the third time. Taguchi overwhelmed the Venezuelan from the opening bell and knocked him down five times after the ninth round, though Landaeta got back up every time. Landaeta, however, dropped out of the fight before the 12th and final round.
“(Landaeta) was tough and I had a hard time finishing him,” said Taguchi, the baby-faced assassin. “His upper body was flexible, so I tried to land some blows on his body.”
In a WBA super flyweight championship bout, Kohei Kono posted a unanimous decision (119-106, 119-106, 119-106) over Thailand’s Inthanon Sithchamuang to retain his belt. It was his third successful title defense.
“To be honest, I wanted to knock him out, but came up short,” Kono said. “I still have room to grow and want to get better by fixing my issues.”
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