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Joel Casamayor and Michael Grant Score Wins In Vegas…AVILA

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Guerrero CasamayorLAS VEGAS-Cuba’s Joel Casamayor built an early lead and fended off Miguel Leyva’s late attack to win by split decision in a welterweight contest  and Michael Grant won the match between former basketball heavyweights on Friday at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

Casamayor’s reputation seemed to intimidate Mexico’s Leyva who allowed the Cuban to dictate the first two rounds. Overhand lefts from the southpaw Casamayor kept Leyva at bay as the Mexican boxer from Ensenada, Mexico circled and circled from a distance.

Leyva used a stiff jab and some overhand lefts to begin his counter attack. Casamayor had dictated the fight the first two rounds but now the Mexican fighter began finding the range for his punches and a new plan of attack.

Casamayor altered his focus in the fifth and began to attack the body. A right hook drifted to Leyva’s cup and the Mexican needed time to recover. Another right hook sent Leyva to the floor for a knockdown. He beat the count.

The Cuban master boxer seemed more relaxed in the sixth as he set up Leyva with a constant barrage of body shots. All the while he was looking to land the bomb to the head. Casamayor landed a right hook but then ate a left hand counter. A four punch combo from the Cuban fighter punctuated the round as he began to take over the fight.

Leyva tried to increase his attack but Casamayor had an answer for every offensive attempt by the Mexican in the seventh and eighth. For every left hand Leyva landed two connected for Casamayor.

The Mexican boxer needed a knockout and began moving forward for the first time in the fight in the ninth round. It paid off as he cornered Casamayor and attacked the body and head. The Cuban boxer looked like it took something out of him and began hitting low and using his head as a battering ram.

Leyva chased Casamayor around the ring in the last round. Several lead lefts connected as did a right uppercut. Casamayor retaliated with head butts several times forcing referee Vic Drakulich to issue two warnings. Leyva chased and chased but couldn’t score the needed knockout.

Casamayor was given the win by split decision. One judge Lisa Giampa scored it 95-94 for Leyva but the other two scored it 97-92 and 96-93 for Casamayor.

In a bout between literal heavyweight giants Grant knocked out Tye Fields with a sizzling counter right hand in the third round.

Fields chased Grant in the first round as the Canadian scored primarily with right jabs to the body. A stiff counter right in the second prompted Fields to seek refuge. That lasted about 30 seconds until a counter left snapped Grant's head back.

Grant had looked to use the counter right the first two rounds and finally found the perfect moment as he floored Fields with the punch. The giant Canadian tried to get up but was unable to get to his feet. Referee Joe Cortez ended the fight at 1:06 of round three.

“I knew I would catch up to him because of my speed. He wasn’t going to be able to protect himself,” said Grant after the win. “I sparred him before and knew I could take care of business.”

Other bouts

Las Vegas cruiserweight Aaron Williams (22-3-1, 14 KOs) scored two knockdowns in the first round to win the vacant WBC USNBC cruiserweight title against Kentucky’s Shane Steele (7-4). Their first exchange saw Williams connect with a solid right that saw Steele slowly sink to his knees for the first knockdown. Steele beat the count but Williams attacked the body and head relentlessly. Referee Joe Cortez jumped in to stop the fight at 2:27 of the first round.

“I caught him coming in,” said Williams, who feels he now deserves top tier talent. “Line them up and I’ll knock them down.”

Alvaro Morales (6-8-6) upset former Romanian Olympian Razvan Kozanu’s pro debut with a taste of professional style heavyweight boxing. Morales used his slips and counters to befuddle Kozanu who had a six inch height advantage but couldn’t keep Morales away. Counter rights and plenty of body punches scored for the Mexican transplant who won by majority decision.

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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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