Panama’s Jezreel Corrales didn’t get the finish this time, but he’ll be leaving Japan the same way he did in April: as a champion. In the main attraction of a stacked night of fights, "El Invisible" again defeated former super lightweight king Takashi Uchiyama, surviving a late knockdown to take a split decision.
Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20 KO) reportedly struggled with Corrales’s (21-1, 8 KO) speed and movement in the early going, only managing to adjust once it was too late to matter. He did manage to score a knockdown in the fifth, but multiple outlets describe it as a light one.
The torch seems to have thoroughly passed from the 37-year-old Uchiyama to the 26-year-old Corrales. As the WBA "Super" Super Featherweight Champion, Corrales ought to be facing regular champ Jason Sosa sometime next year.
Also in Tokyo, WBA Light Flyweight Champion Ryoichi Taguchi made his fifth defense of his title with a draw against Colombian puncher Carlos Canizales. Japan Times reports that many expressed surprise at the result, as Taguchi (25-2-2, 11 KO) reportedly controlled Canizales (16-0-1, 13 KO) with constant aggression.
Over in Kyoto, Yukinori Oguni upset IBF Super Bantamweight Champion Jonathan Guzman, putting the then-unbeaten knockout artist down three times with body shots on his way to a unanimous decision. You can currently find the whole fight here.
Guzman (22-1, 22 KO) knocked out Shingo Wake for the vacant title in July and looked terrific in doing so, but Oguni’s (19-1-1, 7 KO) persistent body onslaught carried him to victory.
The co-feature saw Kazuto Ioka get off the canvas to stop Thai prodigy Stamp Kiatniwat in seven to retain his WBA flyweight title. The win marked Ioka’s fourth defense of his title and seventh win overall since losing to Amnat Ruenrong in 2014.
Kiatniwat (15-1, 6 KO), whom our own Radu broke down in April, scored a knockdown in the second, but Ioka (21-1, 13 KO) controlled the rest of the fight. Radu deserves props for his analysis: he correctly pointed out Kiainiwat’s reluctance to hold when hurt. After a crippling body shot melted him in the seventh, Kiatniwat basically stood there while Ioka turned his guts to mush for the eventual finish.
You can watch the climactic seventh-round here.
With Juan Francisco Estrada, Johnriel Casimero, Roman Gonzalez, and others having made the trek to 115, Ioka is arguably the best flyweight on the planet at age 27. A fight between him and Donnie Nietes would be delightful.
Finally, in Gifu, fellow Radu subject Kosei Tanaka earned a second world title in a second weight class by battering Moises Fuentes into submission for the WBO light flyweight title. Tanaka (8-0, 5 KO), age 21, had won every prior round when the referee stepped in to save Fuentes (24-3-1, 13 KO) in the fifth.
Looks like you’ve got plenty to keep you occupied while you drink and wait for 2016 to die. Happy New Year.