Takashi Uchiyama demolishes Israel Perez in Tokyo to keep title
In a grinding and entertaining bout, THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior lightweight, Takashi Uchiyama, kept his WBA 130-pound belt with a superb display of skills and power against Argentina’s Israel Perez. The challenger remained seated in his corner after nine punishing rounds at the Ota Ward General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
The differences in size, power and speed between the two fighters soon became evident as the taller and stronger Uchiyama (22-0-1, 18 knockouts) began pressing the action and landing almost at will, especially with his superb jab and left hooks to the body and head. Perez (27-3-1, 16 KOs) managed to land volleys with his long right a few times, but to no avail.
Perez was able to bridge the distance in the middle rounds, peaking in his efforts during a solid fourth round and then in a terrific fifth round in which he managed to outland Uchiyama in power punches. In the following round, however, Perez was deducted a point for a low blow by referee Rafael Ramos, who had already warned him earlier on. It was an unnecessary blemish on an otherwise excellent round that featured a few punishing exchanges.
In the seventh round, Uchiyama (a notorious late-starter who has scored most of his stoppages in the second half of his bouts) had already done most of the damage and was landing bombs from a distance at will. His dominance became evident in a painfully one-sided ninth round in which he battered Perez into submission. The Argentine fighter remained on his stool at the end of the round to concede defeat in what was his first attempt at a world title after representing Argentina in the 2000 Olympics and having a long career marred by inactivity and injuries.
Taguchi wins junior flyweight belt, Kono holds on to his title
Earlier on, Ryoichi Taguchi (21-2-1, 8 KOs) fought a brilliant tactical, gutsy fight against Peruvian defending titlist Alberto Rossel (32-9, 13 KOs), thus capturing the WBA 108-pound belt in an emotional bout. Despite his limited power, Taguchi managed to rock Rossel a few times and dropped him twice en route to a 116-110, 116-111, 117-109 decision win. Rossel was game and remained in the fight for the entire bout, but Taguchi took control early on and never relinquished it, scoring blistering combinations and displaying a maturity beyond his 28 years.
Japan made it a perfect 3-0 in title fights for the night, with WBA junior bantamweight champ Kohei Kono (30-8-1, 13 KOs) holding on to his 115-pound trinket with a hard-fought 12-round draw against the Dominican Republic’s Norberto Jimenez (20-8-4, 10 KOs) in a fight of contrasting styles. Kono tried to bully Jimenez into submission, but the visiting fighter kept moving and managed to land some nice combinations to the body to win a few early rounds. Finally, Kono’s punishment caught up with Jimenez and the local fighter took the home stretch decisively, but the judges apparently saw three different fights, scoring it 116-111 (Kono), 115-112 (Jimenez), and 114-114. Jimenez, who was clearly dominated in several rounds, also lost a point in the sixth due to repeated low blows, which only makes some scorecards even harder to explain.