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Brandon Rios Gets Title Crack On Feb. 26

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BRANDON RIOS CHALLENGES MIGUEL ACOSTA FOR WBA LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE ON SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Antonio DeMarco Tangles With Reyes Sanchez in Lightweight Co-Feature

Saturday, Feb. 26, Live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (Feb. 17, 2011) — Four of the world’s best lightweight boxers highlight the year’s first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event as unbeaten No. 1-ranked contender Brandon Rios (26-0-1, 18 KOs) challenges World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champion Miguel Acosta (28-3-2, 22 KOs), while talented Mexican fighters Antonio DeMarco (24-2-1, 18 KOs) and Reyes Sanchez (20-3-1, 11 KOs) battle in the co-feature.

All the action takes place Saturday, Feb. 26 LIVE on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) at split sites with Acosta and Rios fighting at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas in a 12-round main event while DeMarco and Sanchez square off in a 12-rounder also at 135 pounds from the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, Neb.

The 24-year-old Rios of Oxnard, Calif., has never met a fighter as talented as the power punching 32-year-old champion Acosta from Caracas, Venezuela. A native of Texas, Rios is currently working with Antonio Margarito’s trainer Robert Garcia and had nearly 275 amateur fights under his belt before making his pro debut in July of 2004.

Acosta is riding a 19-fight winning streak and has not tasted defeat since 2003. He won his world championship belt with a 12-round split decision over Paulus Moses last May. In his last fight he knocked out Armando Cordoba in the first round. He first made a name for himself in 2009 when he upset Urbano Antillon by ninth-round TKO to capture the interim WBA lightweight title.

He is currently training at the “Knockout Drugs Gym” in Caracas and has been sparring with Fernando Zuniga, Marco Avendano, and Jabar Parra. Acosta said he will adjust to whatever style Rios brings to the ring. “I think Rios is a strong fighter and he comes forward. I’ve been preparing for that – I plan to box him, take him into the late rounds and break him down. My sparring partners have been coming forward like him, so I can slip the punches – not get hit, and do the damage.”

He added: “I’m going to defend my title and beat Brandon Rios on his home turf.”

Rios, who will be assisted in his corner by his father Manuel, is currently ranked No. 1 by the WBA and No. 3 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) at 135 pounds. The former NABF lightweight champion, Rios was a 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate at 125 pounds and a 2004 U.S. National Championship Gold Medalist.

“This is a dream come true,” said Rios. “Ever since I was little I always told my dad, ‘You know what? I’m going to fight for a world title. I’m going to be a world champion.’ Now that I have this opportunity to fight for a title, I was so excited that the first thing I did was call my dad and said, ‘Hey, you want to come over here and help me out?’ He got the time off and he came over here from Kansas to help me out.”

Rios has won eight fights in a row, seven by knockout, since a 10-round draw in October 2008. He is coming off a fifth-round TKO win against Omri Lowther in his last fight on Nov. 13, 2010, which was one of the co-featured bouts on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito main event card at Cowboys Stadium.

On Sept. 11, 2010, he scored his career-best win in a seventh-round disqualification against previously undefeated and favored Anthony Peterson.

National pride will be on the line when the exciting 24-year-old DeMarco, who is coming off a loss to Edwin Valero, takes on the 25-year-old Sanchez, who will be making his United States debut.

A former WBC interim lightweight world champion, DeMarco is currently the WBC’s No. 1 ranked lightweight contender. In his previous fight in February of 2010, he challenged WBC lightweight world champion Valero but was stopped in the ninth round. It was his first loss in his previous 16 fights, having gone 15-0-1.

DeMarco has been training at the Crea Gym in Tijuana and sparring with Marvin Quintero, Orlando Lora, Juan Pablo Lopez and Omar Estrella.

The streak included several impressive wins: a 10th-round TKO against former WBA lightweight world champion Jose Alfaro in October 2009; a ninth-round TKO against world-ranked contender Kid Diamond in February 2009; a 10-round decision against tough veteran Jose Reyes in September 2008; a fifth-round TKO against previously undefeated prospect Juan Castaneda in May 2008; and a 10-round decision against prospect Nick Casal in September 2007.

Ranked No. 2 by the WBC, Sanchez is the current WBC Silver lightweight champion. He has won three fights in a row since his last loss in December 2009. Sanchez knows the importance of this fight. “I’m very motivated for this fight, because I know that it’s a big opportunity for me to get those big paydays – they pay a lot more money in the U.S.,” he said.

Steve Albert will call the action with Al Bernstein serving as expert analyst in Las Vegas. Curt Menefee will handle the lead role from Nebraska with Steve Farhood on hand for color commentary.

The fights are being promoted by Top Rank Inc. and Gary Shaw Productions.

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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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