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Kayode, Franco Escape With Wins On ShoBox

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001_Kayode_vs_IannuzziWho here thought Ianuzzi got robbed? (photo by Tom Casino)PROSPECTS LUIS FRANCO & LATEEF KAYODE

ESCAPE WITH CLOSE VICTORIES

IN FIRST SHOBOX OF 2011

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Catch The Replay On Tuesday, Feb. 8 At 10 p.m. ET/PT On SHO 2

SANTA YNEZ, CALIF. (Feb. 4, 2011) – Facing the toughest opponent of his short professional career, undefeated featherweight prospect and Cuban Olympian Luis Franco eked out a close split-decision victory over the extremely tough and powerful Leonilo Miranda in Friday’s main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME® from Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.

In an equally close and hotly-contested co-feature, Freddie Roach-trained Lateef Kayode’s consecutive knockout streak ended at 14 when he scored a unanimous decision over the game and determined Nicholas Iannuzzi.

Heading into the bout with Miranda, Franco (9-0, 5 KOs) and his camp thought they were just one step away from a title shot. But, in what has become characteristic for prospects in dangerous matchups on ShoBox, Franco got the toughest test of his career and barely escaped with a victory, scored 97-94 Miranda, 97-93 Franco and 96-94 Franco.

In the first round, Miranda (26-3, 25 KOs) scored what appeared to be a legitimate knockdown that was ruled a slip by referee Marcos Rosales.  Franco came back strong in the next few rounds, establishing his game plan and landing an assortment of solid combinations.  In what may become an early Round of the Year candidate for ShoBox, both fighters came out blazing in the fifth and exchanged a series of blows that hurt and dazed both parties.

Franco and Miranda cooled down a little in the sixth and seventh before steeping on the gas to close out the fight in the ninth and tenth rounds.  Throughout the bout, Franco employed a more tactical approach and a stronger defense, while Miranda used a more crowd-pleasing, aggressive and wild game plan.

“Miranda hits very hard, but I felt I worked faster than him,” said Franco, who claimed he was not hurt in the first round and that the referee was correct in ruling it a slip.  “It was a close, even fight.  He has lots of experience.  We studied video and wanted to keep the fight tactical.”

ShoBox color commentator and boxing expert Steve Farhood scored it a draw.

“The positive for Franco was that he ended up fighting the other guy’s fight and had the heart to eke out a win,” Farhood said.  “The negative is the same criticism as before – that Franco hasn’t shown the ability to punch with power.”

A frustrated and disappointed Miranda pleaded his case for a rematch following the decision.

“It was a close fight,” Miranda said.  “I thought it was at least a draw.  He ran and I kept looking for him in the middle of the ring.  I know I could beat him the next time.  I wanted to fight but he kept running.”

Kayode (16-0, 14 KOs) came into the bout as one of the most talked about prospects in boxing and riding a staggering KO streak before he ran into Iannuzzi, who was tough both physically and stylistically for the Nigerian-born Hollywood resident.

Entering the fight, Iannuzzi (16-2, 9 KOs) knew he couldn’t stand in front of Kayode and trade punches.  So the Tampa resident danced and moved to avoid shots, often lunging in to throw quick jabs and combos before either locking up or jumping back out of harms way.

Clearly frustrated, Kayode was unable to fight his game, and, for just the second time in his career, he was pushed to the distance, scored 98-91, 97-92, 95-94.

“The decision is fine,” Kayode said.  “It was a good fight. I learned more from going the distance.

“Everyone has a different style and he tried to pull me to his.  He was running too much.  He would jab and run back, but he wasn’t hurting me with his combos.  He was running and grabbing so I couldn’t hit the body.”

Kayode’s legendary trainer was also frustrated with the fight but remained optimistic.

“We had a little trouble with his style,” Roach said.  “It’s a learning experience.  Lateef blocked a lot of the shots and I think he landed the harder ones.

“It’s a good learning experience fighting a guy like this and it will help him in the long run.  We don’t expect the knockouts, when they come it’s a bonus.”

Farhood believes that Iannuzzi may have revealed a chink in the seemingly perfect cruiserweight prospect.

“We found a hole in Kayode’s armor that we hadn’t previously seen on ShoBox which is his inability to hit a mover,” Farhood said.  “The fact that Lateef was so ineffective in a small ring punches holes in the idea that he is ready for a world title fight.”

Iannuzzi, who was fighting outside of Florida for the first time as a professional, believed he had the right game plan but could have executed it a little more effectively.

“I fought as hard as I needed to, but I could have done a little better,” Iannuzzi said.  “You can’t stand in front of a big puncher.  I could take some of his shots.  I’m tough; I’m the first to guy to go the distance with him in a long time.  I’m a true cruiserweight – that guy is a heavyweight.  Not many people thought I could get past five with him.”

While both Franco and Kayode were both somewhat disappointed in their performances and may not be as close to a world title shot as they thought they were entering Friday’s bouts, Farhood believes the tough tests should be learning experiences.

“Both Franco and Kayode needed to take a step back before they take two steps forward,” Farhood said.  “They are fortunate to remain unbeaten in fights where lessons were learned.”

Friday’s fights will be available On Demand beginning Monday, Feb. 7 and ending Sunday, Feb. 20.

 

Bernardo Osuna called the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. Gordon Hall was the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing. 

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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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