This article originally appeared in the August 3 Fightful Boxing Newsletter, which releases every Thursday Morning at 8 AM EST. You can see the full newsletter at this link.
Takashi Miura and Takashi Uchiyama, two of the best Japanese boxers of this generation, separately announced their retirements. Both men have retired after almost 20 combined years of entertaining fights and dominance in boxing's super featherweight division.
After a nearly three-year reign as the OBPF super featherweight champion, Uchiyama turned his attention to winning the WBA super featherweight title. He won the title by stopping Juan Carlos Salgado in the 12th round in 2010. He would defend the title 11 straight times, nine of which resulted in a knockout win for Uchiyama. His last two fights saw Uchiyama lose his title to Jezreel Corrales and lose the rematch as well.
At a news conference that was held in a TV Tokyo studio on July 29, Uchiyama said he had no regrets and didn't have a lot of motivation to keep fighting at 37 years old.
“I began thinking of retiring around the end of April,” Uchiyama said. “The biggest reason was that I didn’t have as much motivation as I previously had and that I was hampered by injuries and I couldn’t dispel my doubt that I could be a better fighter than before. That’s why I decided to retire.”
Miura announced his retirement on Twitter in Japanese. The tweet roughly translates to: "After I pondered (the decision), I decided to retire. I don’t have regrets. As I was able to achieve my boyhood dream and get in the ring in America, which I had never imagined I would, I had the best possible boxing career. Thank you very much."
Miura, a former Japanese national champion, unsuccessfully challenged Uchiyama for the WBA title in 2011, but would later win the WBC title two years later. The Uchiyama vs. Miura fight was a good match that I recommend if you're a Japanese boxing fan, but that never got a true conclusion. Miura knocked down Uchiyama in the third round of the fight, but Uchiyama was the better fighter. Miura suffered a bad cut and then his corner had to retire Miura in the eighth round of the fight.
Miura would hold onto to the title until being stopped by Francisco Vargas in 2015 and would not get another world title shot for a while. That title shot came back in July when he lost a unanimous decision to current WBC champion Miguel Berchelt on an HBO card.
Berchelt vs. Miura was supposed to be a "Fight of the Year" contender on paper, but Miura did not look great and was nowhere the world champion boxer that he used to be. It's good that Miura has finally taken the initiative and leave the sport with his health relatively intact.
Uchiyama is in his late 30s and has garnered a great deal of success in Japan, and now is the right time for Uchiyama to step down. Uchiyama has been a huge star on Japanese television and there's a chance Uchiyama could see a future as a boxing analyst for TV Tokyo, the station where he made his retirement announcement.