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Q 'n' A With “Computer Nerd” Dat Nguyen

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NEW YORK (June 9, 2011) – World-renowned trainer Buddy McGirt did a double take the moment he first laid eyes on Dat “Be Dat” Nguyen during a sparring session with Arturo Gatti before Gatti’s second fight with Micky Ward in late 2002.

“I saw this guy who could really hit and said he should be knocking everyone out,” McGirt said. “He was in there doing his thing and I liked him. Someone said they were looking for a fighter so I gave them Dat’s number. And that’s how we met.”

For the past five years, McGirt has trained Nguyen of Vietnam, who will headline on a special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME® this Saturday LIVE at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

Nguyen (17-1, 6 KOs), a U.S. resident now living in Vero Beach, Fla., will face promising Luis Orlando “Orlandito” Del Valle (12-0,10 KOs), of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, in a 10-round featherweight fight at Roseland Ballroom in New York City.  The card co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Gary Shaw Productions will include an 10-rounder that pits 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, power-punching Jonathan Gonzalez (13-0, 13 KOs), of Rio Piedras, against Colombian Richard Gutierrez (26-6-1, 16 KOs), of Miami, in a junior middleweight match.

A former kickboxer who was born in Bien Hoa about 45 minutes north of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Nguyen graduated from high school in 2001 and received a full scholarship to Northern Michigan University, home of the U.S. Olympic Center. He spent three years there studying computer information systems.

The 28-year-old Nguyen has won his last six starts, all by decision, including an eight-round decision over Andres Ledesma in his last fight on Oct. 10, 2009.

Although it’s been 20 months since he’s fought, McGirt doesn’t believe in ring rust when you’re young. “That’s a load of crap,” he said. “As long as you take care of yourself it doesn’t matter how long it’s been.”

Nguyen answered six questions.

Question: There will be a lot of Puerto Rican fans in the crowd on Saturday rooting for your opponent. Are you concerned about that and do you hear the crowd when you’re in the ring?

Nguyen: “I hope that there will be a few Vietnamese fans there. I’m sure their will. But it doesn’t matter. I’m always in for putting on a good show for whoever is there. It all depends. Usually when I fight I don’t hear anything. If I concentrate and pay attention and try to hear them, I can sometimes hear them. When I’m focused then I can’t hear them.”

Question: What has training with Buddy McGirt meant to you these past five years?

Nguyen: “Buddy has trained multiple world champions. With Buddy, he’s very calm and when he’s calm I’m relaxed. He just has so much experience. I do whatever Buddy says to do. Buddy doesn’t really take the credit for all the champions he’s produced. He’s very humble and doesn’t talk about a lot of his other fighters. I’m just happy to be part of his stable of fighters.”

Question: What do you think about the featherweight division right now and are you ready to call anyone out?

Nguyen: “(Laughing) No. Not quite yet. There’s a lot of talent in this division and I’m happy to be part of it. There’s (Yuriorkis) Gamboa and Chris John and all the other champions. (Juan Manuel) Lopez just lost but he has so much heart. Those are some of the guys I would like to fight because they are so well known and well respected.”

Question: You opened your own gym called Miracle Boxing Academy in Vero Beach. Would you like to stay in the fight game after your boxing career is over?

Nguyen: “I love this art and I’ve been doing it so long it just felt like the right thing to do. It’s made me a better fighter. I’m doing homework every day when I’m training other people. It’s been a real blessing for me. It’s something I did to give myself the best opportunity to succeed as a fighter right now.”

Question: Not many boxers get full college scholarships for boxing, but you did. How did that come about?

Nguyen: “Yes, I received a full scholarship to Northern Michigan University where the U.S. Olympic Center is. I fought in the U.S. Nationals and the coaches like Al Mitchell recognized that I had some talent. I even beat Andre Dirrell in the 1999 National Junior Olympics. I left after three years to turn professional and am still a few credits short of getting my degree. It gave me a lot of confidence and opened up my eyes to a lot of different things.”

Question: You are a self-described “computer nerd” and even operate your own website. What do you plan on doing with your computer education?

Nguyen: “I’ve always worked on computers and I fix people’s computers. I do everything on my website (www.miracleboxing.com). If I didn’t get the boxing scholarship and wasn’t so focused on making the Olympics then I would probably be a computer engineer right now. If I do something I go the whole nine yards so it’s something I’ve kind of put on backburner for now.”

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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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