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WBA Interim Champ Rigo Fights Casey In Dublin Saturday

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Rigondeaux crossed Atlantic to make big splash in Saturday’s world title fight defense versus Irishman Casey in Dublin

CORK, Ireland (March 15, 2011) – WBA Interim World Super Bantamweight Champion Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux, arguably the greatest amateur boxer of all-time, arrived March 7 in Ireland to complete his extensive training for his first title defense this Saturday night (Mar. 19) in Dublin against Irish favorite, former European title holder Willie “Big Bang” Casey.

The Guillermo-Casey title fight features a pair of unbeaten boxers headlining a show promoted by Top Rank, Nowhere 2 Hyde Promotions and Dolphil Promotions. RTE will air the fight live in Ireland and it’ll be available to watch online at www.rte.ie/live  starting at 6 PM/ET, 3 PM/PT in the United States.

Rigondeaux (7-0, 5 KOs), a southpaw now fighting out of Miami, was a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, as well as a 7-time national champion who captured a pair of World Championship titles during his amazing 243-4 amateur career.

After breaking training camp in Houston (TX), The Ring No.6-rated super bantamweight Rigondeaux traveled to Ireland for his third visit having experienced an Irish heart-warming welcome in January, when he held a public workout before hundreds of mightily impressed boxing fans at the luxurious Montenotte Hotel in Cork.

Unlike other world champions who would have a half-dozen or so supporting team members for a fight in a foreign country, especially one half-way around the world, Guillermo’s fans have purchased more than 1,200 tickets for the nearly sold-out show at The City West Convention Centre in Dublin.

Rigondeaux’ somewhat surprising popularity in the Emerald Isle can be traced to his amateur days and Guillermo’s winning 2001 gold-medal performance at the World Championships in Belfast.

“Rigo” defected from Cuba and made his pro debut May 22, 2009, won the NABA super bantamweight title in his third action as a pro and last November in only his seventh fight, he won a unanimous 12-round decision against Ricardo Cordoba (37-2-2) to become the WBA Interim 122-pound divisional champion.

Casey (11-0, 7 KOs) stopped Paul Hyland in the fourth-round of their November 6 fight in Willie’s hometown of Limerick (Ireland), capturing the vacant European super bantamweight crown. The 29-year-old Casey, however, relinquished that strap in order to challenge Rigondeaux, who will have Ronnie Shields as his chief second for his third straight fight.

Irishman Gary Hyde has been Rigondeaux’ manager since he signed “The Jackal” in Cuba to an exclusive management agreement in early 2007. “Rigondeaux defending his world title in Ireland is a dream come true for me,” Hyde said from his office in Cork. “We are all very confident that ‘Rigo’ will leave here March 20th with his title and continue his quest to unify the 122-pound division.

“Casey is a true warrior and I’m sure that he will turn in the fight of his life to try and dethrone the greatest amateur boxer of all-time, ‘Rigo,’ who became world champion in only his seventh professional bout. But he hasn’t fought anybody close to having Guillermo’s brilliance and he’ll realize that right after the opening bell. In my lifetime, I have great memories of Irish fighters in world title fights – some won and others didn’t – but Casey will not have the luck of Irish this fight. He will be thoroughly out-classed by this modern-day phenomenon, Guillermo Rigondeaux.”

Hyde also has two other unbeaten fighters in action on the Rigondeaux-Casey card, Manchester, England welterweight prospect Mark Heffron (4-0, 3 KOs), and Georgian junior welterweight Levan Ghvarmichava (2-0, 2 KOs).

The highly-touted Heffron makes his first Irish appearance, in his first scheduled 6-round bout, against David Pulido (6-9, 2 KOs) having fought all of his pro fights, thus far, across Europe in The Netherlands, Poland, Hungry and at home on the undercard David Haye-Audley Harrison WBA Heavyweight Championship show.

Hyde first took special notice of 2007 and 2009 World Championship fighter Ghvamichava in 2009 when Levan defeated 2-time World Amateur Championship winner and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, Rosniel Iglesias Sotolongo, of Cuba. Ghvamichava, who is trained by Paul and Sean McCullagh in Belfast, faces veteran Mihaita Mutu (27-16-2, 10 KOs) in a 4-round bout. Levan has already dazzled fans with his immense potential, starting with his pro debut this past January in Dublin, in which he defeated Konstantins Sakara by a second-round knockout. In his most recent fight last week, Levan took on 72-fight veteran Laszlo “The Rock” Komjathi, who went the distance with current WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan, former world titlist Andriy Kotelnik, and world title challenger Wily Blain. Ghvarmichava nearly put Komjathi to sleep in the opening round and finished-off his rubbery legged opponent in the second.

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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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