Sometimes, albeit rarely, in our sport a fighter who loses manages to impress us all more than the winner of a fight. That happened earlier today as Japan's unheralded Daiki Kaneko (19-3-3, 12) gave a stirring performance en route to losing in his WBA Super Featherweight title fight with the unbeaten Takashi Uchiyama (21-0-1, 17).
The first started tentatively from both with the neither man doing a lot in the first 3 rounds but what was done was mostly from Uchiyama who landed the better, crisper and more eye catching shots. That changed however in round 4 as Kaneko tagged Uchiyama with a solid right that rocked the champion hard. By now it had become clear that Kaneko wasn't there to make up the numbers, but was instead there to prove his skills against one of the truly elite Super Featherweights.
Unfortunately for Kaneko his success in round 4 wasn't immediately followed up as Uchiyama saw out the storm then took rounds 5 and 6. Kaneko wasn't to just give up though and although he dropped round 7 he fought back hard in rounds 8 and 9 as he showed off that he was just as tough and strong as Uchiyama. The strength and power of Kaneko, which had been impressive, really stood out in round 10 as he dropped Uchiyama with a solid and clean left hand.
Although Uchiyama had been dropped, for just the second time in his career, he seemed more embarrassed about the knockdown than hurt and in round 11 he went to war with Kaneko in a round that showed the champion had his senses about him. Uchiyama showed his experience and skills in round 11 as he made Kaneko miss then countered him. It was a great round of action and one that helped to secure Uchiyama of the fight.
Having proven he wasn't done in round 11 Uchiyama looked to finish off Kaneko in round 12 and rocked Kaneko late in the round though the tough challenger saw it out to hear the final bell.
Rather disappointingly the judges didn't hand in cards that reflected just how competitive the fight was. I had it 115-112 to Uchiyama some how the judges all had it 117-110 to the champion, giving Kaneko just 1 round other than the 10-8 round 10. The right guy won but it was closer than the judges had it and a lot more interesting.