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Training Camp Q 'n' A With Zab Judah, Amir Khan

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TRAINING CAMP Q&A WITH

WORLD CHAMPIONS AMIR KHAN & ZAB JUDAH

Read What Khan & Judah Have To Say About Camp Just Two Weeks Before

Their July 23 Super Lightweight World Championship Unification Fight Taking

Place At Mandalay Bay In Las Vegas And Being Televised Live on HBO®

Amir “King” Khan” – WBA Super Lightweight World Champion

Q: How has this camp been?  Has it been better than the past three camps which involved traveling with trainer Freddie Roach (Philippines, Vancouver, Dallas, etc.)?

A: “This camp has been very smooth.  We arrived in Los Angeles before the fight with Zab Judah was officially announced because we knew that the July 23 date was set in stone for my fight.  When Timothy Bradley declined our last offer, we made a deal with Judah and we’ve been focusing on him since early June.”

“Obviously not traveling to the Philippines, Dallas or even Vancouver has made this an easier camp.  There’s obviously less distractions this time.  Although going to the Philippines to train with Manny was a terrific experience; any chance to train with one of the best fighters in the world is always an opportunity worth taking.”

Q: How is it working again with Alex Ariza?  Can you describe his help in preparing you for the fight with Zab Judah?

A: “I’m glad to be back with Alex, he’s a very important member of the team.  My conditioning for this fight is top notch as he continues to challenge me with various morning workouts and other strength and conditioning routines.  He’s got terrific ideas and I appreciate the variety of what we do on a daily basis.”

Q: How do you feel about the talk coming from Zab Judah during the training camp?  Does it feel like he’s trying to get you off edge?

A: “At first I was a little taken back, but that’s how Zab is.  I don’t take much of it personally.  He’s a terrific fighter with a wealth of experience.  He tried to get under my skin at the press conference and on Twitter, but come July 23 I’ll be able to show the world who is better and that’s all that matters.”

Q: Can you discuss how it feels to return to Mandalay Bay, the site of your 2010 “Fight of the Year” performance against Marcos Maidana?

A: “I’m truly thrilled to be fighting again at Mandalay Bay.  It’s a beautiful casino and resort for the fans and the arena is a perfect place to come and see the fight.  My fight with Maidana was a classic and I look forward to putting on another sensational performance.”

Q: This is your third fight in the United States, do you feel that fight fans and media are giving you more attention and respect?

A: “Fans in the U.S. are very much ‘show me what you got’ type fans, which I like.  I’ve had great responses from fans after my wins against Malignaggi and Maidana and I look forward to continuing to earn their respect.  Same with the [American] boxing writers, they’ve been very fair to me.  That’s all I can ask.”

Q: Generally speaking, what do you think will be your keys to a victory over Zab Judah?

A:  “My keys to beating Zab are to stay focused and listen to Freddie’s plan.  Freddie does a great job analyzing my opponents and putting together great plans towards victory.  I’m fully confident that we’re putting the work in with our preparations that will lead to a victory on July 23.”

Freddie Roach, Khan’s Trainer

Q: How do you feel training camp is going?

A: “We had our best day of sparring on Friday (July 8).  Everything is on schedule.  We’ll be cutting down on sparring now; he peaked at 10 rounds.  Now we’re down to eight, six and then four rounds sessions.”

Q: When will you break camp to head to Las Vegas?

A: “We will travel to Las Vegas after training on Monday (July 18).”

Zab “Super” Judah – IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion

Q: How is training camp progressing for July 23?

A: “Training camp is going well for me.  We have a lot of fun in camp.  We’re very relaxed, but very focused too.  It’s great.  I really have never felt better.  My weight is great.  It’s been a lot of hard work and dedication and we are ready to go.”

Q: How are you mentally preparing for this fight?

A: “July 23 is about this: What can you bring as far as your skills?  What can you bring as far as your brains?  What can you bring as far as your knowledge of boxing?  What do you [Amir Khan] do when you look across that ring and there’s a hungry lion named Zab ‘Super’ Judah looking you dead in the eye, anxious for the bell to go bing?  You either fold or you play cards.  Me?  I’m going to play to win!”

Q: What is the key to your strategy to beat Khan?

A: “You’re not going to get me to speak about strategy.  We don’t talk about the specifics of what we do; you just need to know that everything we do, we do it hard and we do it well.  It’s all about preparation and we are prepared.  Come see for yourself on July 23, it’s going to be a spectacular performance!”

Pernell Whitaker, Judah’s Trainer & Former Five-Time World Champion

Q: How do you feel training camp for is going?

A: “Up to now camp has been wonderful.  There’s still 10 days to go and it can only get better.  He’s [Judah] got finesse, speed and power, and we’re putting all three of those things together into one.  I feel great about it.  There’s no negativity in the camp.”

Q: What is your specific strategy to win this fight?

A: “You know we’re not going to talk specific strategies, but everything’s been positive.  Zab is looking real good, real good.”

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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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