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Ava Knight Fights Gloria Salas At Fantasy Springs Casino

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Ava_Knight_smallDespite only eight professional fights tucked away, Oakland’s Ava Knight already has fought three world champions in her short career.

Next up for Knight is Gloria Salas, who may not be a world champion but has never been easy for anyone.

Women’s boxing returns on Friday as Knight (5-1-2) faces Salas (3-5-1) at Fantasy Springs Casino on a Golden Boy Promotions card. The winner could get possibly fight for a world championship in early spring.

Golden Boy has kept its promise about supporting women’s boxing.

It’s been more than 17 months since Knight last laced up for a professional prize fight. Despite a reputation as one of the best young female boxers in the United States, the talented Knight has been wingless as promoters, managers and other fighters have refrained from looking in her direction.

And with good reason.

Two years ago Knight met Southern California’s budding super star Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West in a match pitting two youngsters with lightning reflexes, power and a lot of self-confidence. It was north versus south and the pair met in central California.

On that night in November 2008, Knight pulled out the victory after both fought in a fast-paced fight that had the crowd roaring its approval as the two fought at the bantamweight level. Knight won by unanimous decision after eight explosive rounds but it was close.

“Kaliesha West was my toughest fight,” said Knight, 22, who is originally from Chico, California. “I just knew it was going to be big. She was big in the south (California). I walked into that fight as the underdog.”

Knight says that the Moreno Valley prizefighter who now holds the WBO bantamweight world title hit the hardest of all her previous opponents including Mexico’s WBC junior bantamweight titleholder Ana Maria Torres, who she lost to by decision.

“Those last three rounds I had to come hard,” Knight said of her win against West.
“My fight with Kaliesha West was definitely the toughest,” said Knight, who also fought former world champion Elena “Baby Doll” Reid to a draw.

Interestingly enough, West has not lost a bout since fighting Knight two years ago and has fought two former world champions and knocked out the past two opponents.
Knight hopes she can fight West again, but is not looking past Salas.

Salas, 25, lives in Desert Springs and is moving up in weight to obtain this fight that could lead to a world title bid.

“In order to get better you got to fight the best,” said Salas, who trained in Indio for the fight. “This will be my first time fighting a little heavier.”

In her last fight, the Desert Hot Springs boxer lost a very close decision to San Diego’s Amaris Quintana.

Salas knows all about Knight’s abilities.

“She’s very skilled,” said Salas about Knight.

Both Salas and Knight have agreed to fight at no more than 110 pounds.

The two women are set for a six round battle and eager to grab that win and a potential world championship prize fight.

Knight recently made ties with Laguna Beach business woman Claudia Ollis, who was instrumental in helping WBO titleholder West obtain the title fight last September 18, at Staples Center.

“I found out Claudia Ollis was behind Kaliesha West this past year. I feel I’m capable of doing what she (West) did as well,” said Knight, who is now trained by Ben Bautista after her former coach Joe Rodriguez retired.

Ollis, who is also helping guide superstar Melinda Cooper, recognizes world championship potential and more in the Oakland boxer.

“I like her because she is very hungry,” said Ollis of Knight. “She is also very talented but very humble.”

Knight and Salas aim to steal the show on Friday.

“This is going to be my year,” says Knight.

Local prospects

Coachella’s Randy Caballero and East L.A.’s Frankie Gomez are also fighting on separate bouts at Fantasy Springs Casino.

Caballero (6-0, 4 KOs) is a former amateur bantamweight star who has impressed many with his skill and power. He trains at Coachella Boxing Club.

Gomez (7-0, 6 KOs) was a world ranked amateur star and has blitzed through most of his professional opponents as a junior welterweight. Golden Boy sources say Gomez could conceivably drop down to the 135-pound lightweight division.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m., Peter Manfredo (36-6) vs. Daniel Edouard (23-3-2).

Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Erislandy Lara (14-0) vs. Delray Raines (18-8-1).

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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