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DON KING: “Mares Will Be Pancho Villa and Agbeko Will Win for his Ghanaian People”

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LAS VEGAS, NEV., (July 14, 2011) – Just steps away from where all the action will take place one month from now at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Joseph King Kong Agbeko and Abner Mares took part in a spirited press conference Thursday at Muse Hall.

The press conference was well attended by a group of Las Vegas’ finest boxing media who heard from both fighters and their camps and promoters, including the legendary Don King, who waved flags for both Ghana and Mexico while heaping praise on Agbeko.

International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Agbeko takes on undefeated rising star and World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver 118-pound titleholder Mares in The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All on Saturday, Aug. 13, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

“With the type of fight this will be, it's proper for this fight to be at a place called Hard Rock,” King said.

Here are what the fighters and their promoters had to say on Thursday:

Joseph King Kong Agbeko:

“I had my first fight in Vegas at Hard Rock and won by KO.  I'm happy to be back.

“I want to thank Abner Mares and his team for their patience.  It's going to be a great fight.

“I thank SHOWTIME for this tournament.  It will make me the best 118-pounder in the world when I win on Aug. 13.

“My prediction is that the announcer will say “And STILL IBF bantamweight champion of the world…

“I love fighting boxers over fighters because boxers use their brain.  This will be a good fight.

“I know that we have both fought Vic (Darchinyan) and Yonnhy (Perez).  He survived that but he will not survive me.


Abner Mares:

“I expect nothing but tough fights at this point in my career.  It helps me prepare better.  Against Vic (Darchinyan), I fought a war. I'll do whatever I need to do.

“In December, I had to change my plan because of the cut (on my head).  Depending on how the fight goes over the first few rounds, I'll adjust. I plan to box more this time but you never know.

“It would mean everything to get the IBF world title. Knowing you're the world champ, that's everything.

“It was frustrating at the time the first fight was called off.  I was at the peak of my training and I can't lie, I'm human and I was very frustrated.  It destroyed me a little bit, but then I regrouped and the more mature Abner prevailed.  It's Joseph's health and that's serious. I'm glad he's better.  I saw him at the press conference before the fight in April and he was weak and limping.  I felt bad and realized that could have been me.

“I took three weeks off after the fight was called off and took my family vacation but I went right back to the gym when I got home and now I feel just as ready as last time, ready to be a world champ.

“Never in my short life did I think that I'd be sharing the stage with Don King.  This is incredible.

“I want to be Mexico's 20th world champion.  I made my dream come true when I went to the Olympics in 2004 and now I will make my dream come true of becoming a world champion.

“Thanks to SHOWTIME for showcasing me.  Many people know who I am because my last two fights were on SHOWTIME.”

Don King, Agbeko’s Promoter:

“It's always a pleasure to be in Las Vegas.  Thanks to Ken Hershman who chose to endure and conquer. This is more than a fight. It will be dedicated to W.E.B. DuBois.  He died in '93 in Ghana and now the mantle has fallen on Joseph Agbeko. DuBois said in the 20th century color line is the biggest problem in America and now, King Kong will come down and beat on his chest and the elephants will come running.  Mares will be Pancho Villa and Agbeko will win for his Ghanaian people.  This is a fight for unity, solidarity and togetherness.

“I like Mares but it's going to be a day for Joseph.  You've got to be there on the scene.  If you can't, check it out on the screen.  This fight is a statement.  We're part of history, and sorry Abner, to be a part of history, one must be sacrificed.

“Not only did Agbeko defeat something I can't pronounce (Sciatica) but he will defeat Abner Mares this August 13 and we'll be going on to better things.

“This is a great tournament.  SHOWTIME has been a vanguard for fighting for what is right.”

David Itskowitch, Golden Boy Promotions COO and Mares’ Promoter:

“I'm excited about this event, the Final of The Bantamweight Tournament.

“The first round was a great one and Saturday, Aug. 13, live on SHOWTIME at The Joint, we'll have a great ending.  Tickets are very reasonable, starting at $25.  You can get tickets at the Hard Rock box office and Ticketmaster.com.

“When Abner wins this fight on Aug. 13, he will be the first fighter to have his pro debut all the way through winning a world championship with Golden Boy.  It's been quite a journey.  I'm proud to know him. He is a family man and an example for all athletes.  He got here by winning a great knock-down, drag-out fight against Vic Darchinyan and the Final should be just as exciting.

“The Joint is a great place to see a fight.  It's a fun spot.  There’s not a bad seat in the house.

“This fight would not be happening without SHOWTIME.  I want to thank Ken Hershman.  We hit a bump in the road with this tournament but Ken stuck with it.  He has a lot of experience in persevering like he has in the Super Six.  Thanks to Gordon Hall, David Dinkins (Jr.), Chris DeBlasio and the entire team that kept everything together.”

The world championship fight is promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions and is sponsored by Corona.

Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $150, are on sale now and may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

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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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