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After Magee, Lucian Bute Wants Kessler

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imagesNEW YORK (March 15, 2011) — With their International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Middleweight clash just days away, boxing superstar and unbeaten champ Lucian Bute and European titleholder Brian Magee participated in a media teleconference call Tuesday to discuss their upcoming fight for Bute’s belt on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Saturday, March 19 live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

Bute, who signed a multi-fight agreement with SHOWTIME in November 2010, is one of the most talented pound-for-pound and popular fighters of this era. He has won all but one of his title defenses by knockout, including four consecutive victories inside the distance.

The immensely popular 31-year-old Romanian-born fighter lives in Montreal, where he routinely draws  sellout crowds. The natural southpaw, who has supreme counter-punching ability, speed and power, is coming off a ninth-round knockout of Jesse Brinkley Oct. 15 in Montreal.

The 35-year-old Magee has not lost since 2006 and is also riding an impressive streak of four consecutive knockouts.  Magee has won six in a row and nine of 10 since his loss to Super Six semifinalist Carl Froch in ‘06.

Magee resides near Belfast, Northern Ireland. His manager, Pat Magee, said Tuesday there would be a wild celebration if his fighter were to upset Bute. “There is actually a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montreal the day after the fight on Sunday,” said Pat Magee, no relation to Brian. “Our plan after we beat Bute is to have Brian lead the parade.”

Here’s what both fighters had to say Tuesday:

LUCIAN BUTE:
“I feel like Brian Magee was the best opponent out there for me at this time and I’m taking this fight very seriously.

“I’m really concentrated on Brian Magee. I really haven’t had time to think of anyone else. I’m just focused on Saturday. After then, I will worry about whichever opponent is going to come after my performance on Saturday.

“I don’t really have too much time to worry about my next opponents. Once I sign a contract, I concentrate on my opponent and prepare two months in advance. I plan to win every minute of every round. If the knockout comes, it comes. But that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to win fights and so far I’ve been successful and that’s what I will do again on Saturday night.

“Once I defend my title with Brian Magee then definitely I would like to fight Mikkel Kessler. Why not? Him or anyone else in the Super Six is who I’m going to fight next.

“In all my fights I have a strategy and I talk it over with my trainer. We study tapes of my opponents and I see openings and I see mistakes that they make. That’s how I work on my strategy. During the fight I let my arms go and I let my boxing do my work in the ring. And it comes naturally, my knockouts. I don’t look for them but they just happen because I’m well prepared for my fights.

“I really don’t have it as a goal in my career to make the (pound-for-pound) rankings. My objective is to be the best I can be and to be recognized as the pound-for-pound king soon based on my performances and my wins in the ring.

“I have followed the Super Six from the beginning. I’m a big fan of boxing and especially since it is my weight class I have watched every fight. I study all the fights. I study all the guys who have been in there. I can’t wait for the Super Six to finish, so I can fight the guys who are available and out there.

“I’ve been blessed with having a good following in Montreal and they are a big part of my success. They give me a lot of energy when I fight and it’s important to have all the fans in my corner when I fight at the Bell Centre. But I’m a professional boxer and so far I haven’t had the opportunity to fight anywhere else. I hope to get that chance and would like to fight in the United States. I would like to fight in Madison Square Garden or Las Vegas. I’m not just stuck in Montreal. I will fight anywhere.”

Who do you think will win the Super Six Tournament?
“I do follow the Super Six and I know the matchups. All four fighters are very good and I have a lot of respect for all four. I find it tough for (Arthur) Abraham to have a solution for (Andre) Ward. In the other fight, I want to congratulate Glen Johnson for making it to the semifinals. He’s a great boxer and a great person and congratulations for doing it at his age. But in my opinion the final will be Carl Froch vs. Andre Ward. I really can’t say who the winner will be but I think it will be an exciting fight.”

Have you been frustrated having to wait to fight those guys?
“I was not frustrated at all the last couple of months. I knew it was a matter of time and it’s a great opportunity to fight the guys in the Super Six at some point.”

“I don’t think having Mikkel Kessler ringside is going to distract me. I think having a guy like him there just gives me more confidence to have a good performance. Once I win this fight, I will see what opportunities are out there.”

BRIAN MAGEE:
“I’ve had to work very hard to get here and do a lot of things to get this shot. I feel like I deserve it and I’m so happy to be here. It’s great to be fighting the best in the division on such a massive stage. This is where you want to be as a boxer. This is a dream fight.

“I always seem to be the underdog but I’ve always come through. These Super Six fighters are the best fighters in the world. This division has the hardest fighters of any division in boxing.

“I’m going to have to box. I’m going to have to fight. When you fight a guy like Bute you have to be ready for anything. Any time you fight for a world title it’s going to be a hard fight. Lucian’s on such a high, signing a big contract with SHOWTIME he’ll be out to prove himself.”

How do you feel about facing a fellow southpaw?
“It’s an advantage to me as much as it is to him and it’s a disadvantage to me as much as it is to him. I don’t like fighting a southpaw but there’s nothing I can do about it and I try not to think about it. The guy I fought for the European Championship (Mads Larsen) was a southpaw. You just have to get in there and stick with what you do best.

“At this stage of my career it’s great to get a shot at a world title. It’s been a long way up the ladder to this point but as I said before I think I’m deserving of this shot. Opportunities don’t come around like this too often.  

“You always try to get guys in here to spar with who are going to be like the guy you are fighting. It’s been hard to find a southpaw like Lucian but you do the best you can. I’ve had some southpaw sparring.

“I’m willing to take the fight whichever way it goes. I’m not looking for the knockout. The fight is here in Montreal and that doesn’t faze me. It’s a great city and the people are great and I’m happy to be here.

“I’ve always had belief in myself. Having seen what Carl Froch has been able to do in his career and having had such a close fight with him, I feel like I’m very deserving of this fight.

“Not many people get this opportunity. This is a chance of a lifetime. Hopefully I’ll have this memory for the rest of my life.”

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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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