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Sturm KOs Hearns, Martinez Next?

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Felix-Sturm-PittmanPAGING SERGIO MARTINEZ AGAIN – Felix Sturm defended his WBA middleweight laurels with another strong showing as he blasted out game but tamed Ronald Hearns at Stuttgart's Porsche Arena.

Sturm, 35-2-1 (15), knocked Hearns out on his feet for a TKO at 2:30 in the 7th session of a fast paced, bruising waltz that kept the assembled swarm of approximately 7,000 happy.

Hearns was attempting to achieve the remarkable feat of capturing one of the same major alphabet titles his iconic father, Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns had earned. It was not to be.

Hearns, now 26-2 (20), kept a long jab in front of Sturm all night but never connected enough to take a round. Meanwhile, Sturm surged stronger and stronger and eventually his own much stronger and more accurate jab set Hearns up for right hands that almost had him completely unconscious.

“He gave me a good fight,” said a slightly nicked but still smiling Sturm. “He landed some good body shots but I have been doing excellent training, and it showed.”

Sturm could have been smiling because of the stoppage, or he could have been thinking about the second straight successful promotion under his personal banner. Like the Formula One drivers he is seen hanging with in German tabloids, Sturm proves good in the driver's seat.

It took about a round for Sturm to establish himself. Hearns threw a lot more punches initially, but almost all were blocked by Sturm's excellent defense. Sturm piled up points behind solid double-jabs.

By the time Hearns got anything going around the fourth round, it was already too late. Hearns finally backed Sturm up for a few extended sequences of undamaging punches, and Sturm showed some marks around his right eye.  

During the first minute of round six Hearns threw around twenty five jabs, all of which were picked off. Sturm threw eight, six landed square.

There was good action in the seventh as Sturm's superior firepower and technique finally overwhelmed the challenger. Sturm forced Hearns into a corner and connected with a pair of overhand mortars that bent Hearns into a danger zone. At first it seemed like referee Raul Caiz, Jr might have waved it off too soon, but replays proved it was a perfect stop.

Besides expressed regret over tonight's result, the elder, boxing-legend Hearns looked healthy and happy.

“Ron gave his best and I'm proud of him,” said Hearns. “Sturm is just a better fighter. He showed he deserves the title.”

Sturm added evidence to his ongoing claim to top middleweight honors. He has repeatedly stated a hope to meet recognized US fighters like Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, but he should forget them because they are probably high risk low reward compared to another oft-mentioned, optimal target. The name of the middleweight game these days is Sergio Martinez.

Sturm should try to get Martinez in the ring as fast as possible after Martinez's defense against another German based boxer, Serhiy Dzinziruk.

It wouldn't be that much of a surprise around here if the slick Dzinziruk gave Martinez trouble. Right now, 32 year old Sturm shows much more technique than Dzinziruk but how long Sturm defies any discernable decline is, as with all boxers, unpredictable.

If Sturm could meet Martinez by the Fall, Sturm would be an underdog, but a very good bet. If Sturm continues to box as well as he has lately, he could unify some belts.

Right now, one of Sturm's biggest potential pitfalls could be complacency with a successful new business and family. For now Sturm seems very well balanced.

“I want to thank many people who help me,” said Sturm. “My wife, my team, my friends, and of course my fans. I know I am lucky.”

Sometimes you make your own luck.

You won't find Felix Sturm's name near the top of many pound for pound lists these days.

That doesn't mean it doesn't belong there.

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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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