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AVILA'S Female Boxing’s Best Fighters Pound 4 Pound

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LAYLA_MCCARTER_TRAINING_PHOTO_6Female Boxing’s Best Fighters Pound 4 Pound By David A. Avila
In just the past few months several big changes have taken place among the previous pound for pound fighters in the women’s boxing world. Three new female boxers Ana Julaton, Jennifer Barber and Kaliesha West have cracked the top dozen. All three new additions fight out of California.
Because there are not as many female boxers as their male counterparts, the list rarely changes. So this season’s changes are remarkable.
All of the top nine on this list from Layla McCarter to Jeanine Garside have remained on the list:

1.    Layla McCarter (33-13-5, 7 KOs) – The Las Vegas-based McCarter was never a one-punch knockout artist nor a speedy mover who dances out of range. Instead the fighter known as “Amazing” fights in the pocket and uses a jab like Van Gogh used a paint brush. She has built an offensive and defensive arsenal that enables her to beat anyone. Most of her losses cam early in her career when she simply walked into the boxing ring with no training. Over the years she’s soaked up boxing knowledge learned in the ring against live competition. She’s fought all over the world and racked up wins in other countries too. People forget that she is only 32.  

2.    Holly Holm (29-1-3, 9 KOs) – Tall, fast and nimble the New Mexico redhead has dominated boxing for the past few years in her native state. Holm has also gathered a large fan base especially in the Albuquerque area and is one of the very few American female boxers who commands a rather decent living as a prizefighter. She is proof that it can be done. Holm has beaten almost everyone from junior welterweight to middleweight except in Europe. Maybe one day she will fight McCarter. That would be a good fight.

3.    Melissa Hernandez (14-2-3, 5 KOs) – The slick New York prizefighter is one of the more entertaining prizefighters in the sport today. And this includes male boxers as well. Despite a loss and draw to Lyndsay Garbatt, people forget that he is a featherweight willing to fight junior middleweights. Plus, she is good enough to beat girls much bigger than herself. The Boricua loves to fight and loves to talk. Hernandez also loves to give the crowd some entertainment too. One of her best encounters came against Chevelle Hallback that ended in a draw.  

4.    Ana Maria Torres (24-3-3, 14 KOs) – The Aztec Princess dominated the junior bantamweight division for years. Recently she moved up to junior featherweight and fought Jackie Nava to a draw. Torres is not very big but has plenty of fighting skills to match anyone. Her move into the heavier weight class could signal an all out Mexican war between that country’s champions. Supposedly she is Mexico’s best paid Mexican female boxer.

5.    Melinda Cooper (21-1, 11 KOs) – Cooper is yet another Las Vegas prizefighter who has dominated over the years. She won a flyweight world title back in 2005 when she was only 19 years old. Recently she lost a very bad decision in Costa Rica to veteran Ada Velez but that’s what happens when you fight in another country. Think Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley but the judges end up giving Mosley the decision. She dominated the fight, hurt her opponent and was never hurt herself. The Las Vegas speedster can crack and has proven to be one of the most exciting female boxers today. She is perhaps the most exciting female boxer today.

6.    Susi Kentikian (28-0, 16 KOs) – The very popular flyweight has dominated her division and continues to draw fans whenever she fights in Germany. Too bad she doesn’t travel outside of her home grounds. But who can blame her? She makes plenty of money whenever she fights and is televised often in Germany. She’s very quick and knows how to make her fighting style work. Fans would love to see her fight fellow flyweight champion Mariana Juarez of Mexico.

7.    Mariana Juarez (29-5-3, 13 KOs) – Mexican Barbue finally was given an opportunity to fight for the WBC flyweight title and beat Simona Galassi by decision. A week ago she defended that title with a knockout of Uruguay’s Gabriela Bouvier. The Mexico City prizefighter is one of the more popular fighters in Mexico. Most of her fights are televised in Mexico and draw well. A return to the U.S. to showcase her skills would be a plus for her career. Juarez has been one of the top fighters for many years now.

8.    Kina Malpartida (13-3, 3 KOs) – Peru’s only world champion ever recently avenged a former loss to Rhonda Luna this past month by decision. Malpartida knows how to use her reach and height and has a string of victories to prove it. The junior lightweight could move up in weight if she chooses simply because of her height and reach. Most of her bouts take place in her native country Peru where she draws thousands of fans. She is so popular that parades greet her arrival.

9.    Jeanine Garside (10-3-1, 4 KOs) – Once she was given another chance to fight for the world title she took full advantage of the opportunity. She prefers punching and more punching and relies a lot on her natural strength. Garside is one of those fighters that could move up in weight with little effort. She is new to this list.

10.    Kaliesha West (13-1-2, 4 KOs) – West had been knocking on the door of a world title bid for a number of years. After fighting four consecutive bouts against world class competition she finally got her opportunity and captured the WBO bantamweight world title against fellow American Angel Gladney last September. Now she finally moved into the pound for pound list in recognition for that amazing run. She was also this writer’s Fighter of the Year for taking those risks and coming out on top. West is only 23 and could be around for a long while. She has speed, power and continues to build her fighting skills.

11.    Jennifer Barber (10-1, 4 KOs) – “The Razor” must have put a whipping on South Korea’s Ji-Hye Woo to rip the junior lightweight world title away last December in that fighter’s country. Barber is a tall, skilled boxer with movement and a great jab. For years she fought in the amateurs and has been fighting professionally four years now. It would be great to see her try and unify the division. There’s lots of talent at the 130-pound weight class and Barber has the style to compete at any level.

12.    Ana Julaton (8-2-1) – “The Hurricane” refuses to take tune up fights or bouts against sub par opponents. Instead the brunette scrapper from the San Francisco Bay area is willing to take risks and defend her title against the best in the world.  Julaton’s last loss came against former pound for pound fighter Lisa Brown who has since lost herself. Impressive and gutty wins against very tough girls like Maria Villalobos, Franchesca Alcanter and Donna Biggers show that she has not slowed. In the Philippines she is already the second most popular fighter behind Manny Pacquiao.

Honorable Mention
:

Ina Menzer – Lost her title to Jeanine Garside but it doesn’t mean she’s done.

Lisa Brown – She lost by decision to Chanttel Martinez despite knocking the Panamanian down. Did she get a bad decision?

Jackie Nava – Fought fellow Mexican Ana Maria Torres to a draw. She’s an aggressive fighter who takes chances.

Yesica Bopp – Argentina’s newest star has beaten some pretty decent opposition in her young career. But fights mostly in Argentina. Her weight class has a lot of talent.

Ada Velez – Even at age 40 the Puerto Rican boxer is very competitive and has a great boxing IQ.

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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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