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Ex Nat'l Champ Willet Returns To Ring After Being Shot

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STAR BOXINGFORMER NATIONAL CHAMPION WILLET RETURNS TO RING AFTER NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
THURS. MARCH 17TH AT THE PLATTDUETSCHE

On Thursday March 17th at the Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square, NY (Long Island), former four-time national champion, and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, Adam “Showtime” Willett (1-1) will return to the ring for the first time since his life was nearly taken when he takes on  Sharieff Hayes (0-2) in a four round heavyweight contest.  The show, entitled, “March Mayhem” is promoted by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, and is headlined by Huntington's popular undefeated jr. welterweight prospect Chris Algieri (10-0, 5KO's).

It was a warm spring day April 7th 2010.  Bellport resident Adam Willett, who had turned pro boxer a year earlier after an illustrious amateur career which saw him become the number one ranked heavyweight in the U.S. for three consecutive years, was finishing up his day of work at the South Country High School in North Bellport Long Island.  As he was getting ready to leave, Willet, who in addition to boxing, was working full-time as a school security guard, noticed that there was some commotion going on at the Miracle Plaza Shopping Center, located right across the street from the South Country High School. Two of the High School's students were being harassed by a few older men, so Willet immediately rushed to their aid.

Willett and one man argued before the man sped away in his car.  While Willett was getting into his vehicle the man returned with a gun.  Willett, who as a boxer is accustomed to dodging punches, was hit with a shot that he just couldn't get out of the way of.  Willett had been shot once in the chest with the bullet from a high powered handgun.  A fighter by trade for most of his life, Willett was now fighting for his life.

Willett was rushed to the hospital and immediately went into surgery.  Willett would spend a week in a medically induced coma, as doctors monitored his progress.

As soon as Willett awoke from his coma, the first words that came out of his mouth when he turned to his father were, “Dad will I be able to fight again?”  Upon hearing his father tell him yes, that's all the words of encouragement Willett says he needed.

“I never doubted his words of reassurance and I just took them and ran with it.  I honestly believe it was those words that gave me such a speedy recovery.”

Willett was back in the gym doing light training just four months after the shooting and while he admits the road back hasn't necessarily been easy, just like he has done the majority of his life, Willett has never stopped fighting.

Looking back on the day Willett says, “You know me getting shot was a traumatic and life changing event for me.  I don't remember a lot about what took place that day, everything is muffled in my memory bank.  The only thing I can recall vividly is thinking about all the things I didn't get a chance to do, experience and accomplish.  I kid you not when you go through something like I went through and almost dying, it really makes you think about all the things that are really important that we take for-granted every day.  I just thank God I'm still here and still able to do what I love to do.”

Optimistic people like to say that for everything negative, there is always a positive, and Willett is a strong believer in that.

“After the shooting I looked at life from a totally different standpoint.  I realized after facing death and beating it that life is too short and you have to live it up to the best of your ability.  I always loved boxing, but after being shot I realized I don't just love it, but I can't live without it.  I made a decision that day lying in the hospital bed that I didn't just want to come back to come back, I wanted to come back and be the world's greatest.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make that dream become a reality.  After the ordeal I have been through, I know that there is nothing that can stand in my way.”

STAR BOXINGWhile he has been boxing since he was a teenager, the fight on March 17th will be special for Willett.

“I'm extremely eager, and excited, there really are no words to describe how much I want this.  God, the all mighty, gave me a second chance and I'm taking full advantage of it.  I'm a new man starting over but ready to take on the world as it comes.  I want to thank everyone who stood by my side.  I truly appreciate all the prayers that went up for me and all the positive comments left on my behalf.  I would like to send a special thanks to all those who kept me motivated and my mind focused on my ultimate goal of getting back into the ring.  With that being said, Showtime Willett is back!  I look forward to seeing everyone come out on March 17th.”

A complete list of the undercard will be announced shortly.  Tickets for “March Mayhem” are priced at $100 for Gold Ringside (first row), $75 Ringside, and $50 for General Admission.  Tickets can be purchased by calling Star Boxing at 718 823-2000, or visiting www.starboxing.com.  Doors open at 6:45PM with the first bout scheduled for 7:30PM.  The Plattduetsche Park Restaurant is located at 1132 Hempstead Tpke, Franklin Square, NY 11010.

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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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