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Ward Flips A Coin, Bute, Kessler Like Froch Over Johnson

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ELITE SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS ANDRE WARD, LUCIAN BUTE,
MIKKEL KESSLER WEIGH IN ON FROCH-JOHNSON SEMIFINAL
This Saturday, June 4, LIVE on SHOWTIME® at 9 p.m. ET/PT

NEW YORK (June 2, 2011) – Carl Froch is the heavy favorite to defeat Glen Johnson Saturday in Atlantic City live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), but Super Six World Boxing Classic Finalist Andre Ward believes there’s a decent chance that “The Road Warrior” can upset “The Cobra” to claim the WBC Super Middleweight title and advance to the tournament Final.

“It’s a 50-50 fight,” Ward said.  “I wouldn’t be surprised if Carl Froch dominated Glen Johnson and I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson pulled the upset.”

Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) will face the Froch-Johnson winner in the Final of the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup and global recognition as the world’s No. 1 168-pound fighter.

“Mentally, I’m prepared to fight either guy,” Ward said. “The fans want to see Ward and Froch but it is Froch’s job to take care of his business and uphold his end of the bargain and Glen Johnson will have something to say about that on June 4.”

Mikkel Kessler, who defeated Froch in Group Stage 2 before withdrawing from the tournament with a serious eye injury, thinks Froch will have the upper hand in the Semifinal showdown.

“These are all difficult fights but I think Froch will win,” said Kessler, who will return to the ring for the first time since April 2010 in Saturday’s SHOWTIME co-feature.  “It will be an awkward fight for both of them. They have different styles and different sizes, but Froch should win it.”

Kessler (43-2, 32 KOs), of Denmark, will face France’s Mehdi Bouadla (22-3, 10 KOs) in a same-day-delay telecast from Parken Football Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Kessler, who lost the WBA title to Ward in Group Stage 1, has shown interest in challenging Froch or Ward in a rematch in the future, or squaring off with IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute, should he emerge victorious from Saturday’s comeback bout.

“I’d prefer a rematch against Froch in the future over a fight against Johnson,” Kessler said. “Froch would make the best matchup for Ward. I hope that Froch will learn from Ward’s previous fights. I didn’t know much about Ward when I fought him – he’s fast and clever. I definitely would want to see Ward vs. Froch in the Final.”

Like Kessler, Bute – who will be ringside for the fight – also thinks Froch will edge out Johnson in a tough scrap.

“I think Carl Froch will beat Glen Johnson in a spectacular fight,” Bute said. “Glen is a good fighter with a lot of experience.  He’ll do his best to get to the Final of the Super Six.  But Froch is younger and physically stronger.  He’ll win by decision in a tough fight.”

While Bute (28-0, 23 KOs), of Montreal, Canada, by way of Romania, hasn’t fought any of the fighters in the tournament, he’s eagerly awaiting his chance to face the best 168-pounders in the world.

“I want to face anybody who wants to fight me,” Bute said.  “I’m ready for everyone. I can’t wait for my next fight in my own country of Romania in July.  It’s going to be an amazing experience for me and a dream come true. I will beat (Jean-Paul) Mendy.  After that, I want a big fight this fall and then face the winner of the Super Six.”

Bute will defend his IBF title against Mendy (29-0-1, 26 KOs) on July 9 in Bucharest, Romania.  Highlights from the fight will be televised on the July 9 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader.  Brando Rios will defend his WBA Lightweight Championship for the first time against Urbano Antillon in the main event while Kermit Cintron will square off with Carlos Molina in the co-feature.

While Bute thinks Froch will defeat Johnson, he asserts “The Road Warrior” would be a tougher opponent for Ward in the Final.  

“In my opinion, Carl Froch and Glen Johnson could be a good match up for Andre Ward,” Bute said.  “Froch-Ward would be more a strategic fight; Froch has a good jab and he moves well in the ring.

“But Johnson-Ward would be more spectacular. Johnson is an aggressive fighter and he would constantly pressure Andre Ward.  With either matchup it’s really a win-win situation.”

Froch-Johnson is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, Warriors Boxing and Carl Froch.

 

Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, Calif., will sit ringside with SHOWTIMECHAMPIONSHIP BOXING announcers Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver.

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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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