Jezreel Corrales: ‘Now everyone has to see me with different eyes’
On the final day of 2016 – in the now customary big fight date on the Japanese boxing calendar – Jezreel Corrales repeated his April victory over Takashi Uchiyama, this time by split decision.
The pair previously met at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, when the Panamanian shocked Uchiyama – the then longest reigning world titlist in boxing – to capture the WBA junior lightweight throne by knockout in two brisk rounds.
In the rematch at the same venue, Corrales, got off the canvas in the fifth round to eke out a decision via scores of 117-110 and 115-112, while the third dissenting judge voted for Uchiyama, 114-113.
Corrales (21-1, 8 knockouts) is understandably pleased with his latest victory.
“It was a big step in my career,” Corrales told RingTV.com through his promoter Rogelio Espino of Promociones y Eventos Del Istmo. “A very important step to continue achieving more success and to focus on my future.
“I think I followed the work plan that my trainers told me. We knew that, this time, Uchiyama would be more cautious and he was not going to attack me like the first fight. We had to win the fight, round by round.”
He knew the second time around would be more difficult.
“In my opinion, Uchiyama is a very skilful boxer,” said the 25-year-old titlist. “In the first fight, he was too confident and I could take advantage of it. This time, he knew he had a good boxer in front of him so he came more cautious, not wasting punches.
“However, I could take advantage of the few mistakes he made and I was able to show the Panamanian school of boxing, which allowed me to win again.”
While some thought the first victory was a fluke, “El Invisible” was happy to prove that wasn’t the case.
“A win by decision gives me more confidence and security in myself,” he said, “because now the world knows that I am not an easy boxer but a high-level one. I feel that now I am a more professional and positive boxer. I think that, yes, now everyone has to see me with different eyes.”
Winning on the road is never easy, Corrales and his four-man team left Panama on Dec. 20 and flew four hours to Mexico City, where they had a two-hour layover before enduring a 14-hour flight to Tokyo.
Disappointingly, the rematch – like the first fight – wasn’t shown on TV in Panama; however, taking into account the fight started at 6:20 a.m on Dec. 31 in Panama it, is more understandable.
Corrales had to give up on the usual festivities but, in the end, it proved a highly worthwhile exercise and profitable.
“This fight meant a great sacrifice and every sacrifice brings a benefit,” he explained. “I could not spend Christmas with my family; besides my mother’s birthday was on December 23 and I couldn’t be with her.
“Now I can enjoy my victory with them. I rented a cabin located in an island to spend a few days with them, apart from everything to relax.”
It remains early days and, while Corrales is enjoying the fruits of his labors, his promoter is working on their next move.
Corrales is every bit the fighter and doesn’t concern himself with what’s next.
“I never pick my opponents,” he admitted. “I just keep training, waiting for what my promoters and managers have to say. I know they will make a good decision, so I just have to be well-prepared to face my next opponent.”
Espino was proud of his fighter’s efforts and is keen to let him recharge his batteries before taking the next step.
“I am very happy that Corrales showed that his win on April was not ‘a surprise’ but a legitimate win of a not well-known boxer who deserves to be one of the best of the world,” said Espino. “Uchiyama was considered by many experts as the best junior lightweight of the world until April when he lost to Corrales.
“We are not certain on what is next for Corrales. Now he deserves a few days to rest while we work on his next defense.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoa[email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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