As the old saying goes, New Year’s Eve is amateur night. And when it comes to carousing and revelry, I turned professional decades ago. So I have little interest in navigating an evening crowded with regretful imbibers looking to salvage a disappointing year with one last orgy of poor decisions.
In truth, I am all but retired from the night life, anyway. When I stay up late these days, it is mostly to watch boxing. That is why I was looking towards Japan with envy last Holiday weekend.
The Land of the Rising Sun makes it a habit to celebrate the end of the year with big boxing cards. This year, they offered competing cards, in Tokyo and Kyoto.
In the capital city, Colombia’s Jezreel Corrales made it two for two against Takashi Uchiyama, retaining his WBA super featherweight belt by split decision. Corrales took the title from Uchiyama earlier this year when he stopped the previously undefeated champion in Round 2. It was one of the year’s most stunning knockouts and I was anxious to see how Corrales would fair in this return bout. It’s one thing to catch an over-confident champion short with a surprise barrage. It’s another thing entirely to come back when he is ready for you and beat him over 12 rounds.
Corrales has to be viewed as top five in the division at this point. I am hopeful we might see him fight in the United States next year, possibly against Vasyl Lomachenko.
Meanwhile in Kyoto, Yukinori Oguni won the IBF super bantamweight belt by handing Jonathan Guzman his first professional loss. Oguni is a new name on my own radar, but this is a solid win, even if it is a joke to call anybody but Guillermo Rigondeaux a champion at 122 pounds.
Also on the Kyoto card, WBA flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka climbed off the canvas to stop 18-year-old challenger Stamp Kiatniwat. With both Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada moving to 115-pounds in 2016, it’s time for new boss at flyweight. Ioka has a good claim to that status, but I’d love to see him defend that claim against Donnie Nietes in the year ahead. It’s the best possible fight for 112 pounds.