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Ward-Froch Super Six Final Set for Oct. 29, In NJ

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NEW YORK (July 18, 2011) – The stakes couldn’t be higher, the drama more intense. On Saturday, Oct. 29, two confident reigning world champions–one from America, the other from Europe–will collide in the eagerly awaited Super Six World Boxing Classic Final, a World Championship Unification, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

When the Super Six began, neither undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) super middleweight champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, Calif., nor his World Boxing Council (WBC) counterpart, Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KOs), of Nottingham, England, were among the favorites.

But through career-defining fights and remarkable drama both in and out of the ring, Ward and Froch have persevered and emerged as prominent members of boxing’s exclusive Pound-for-Pound list and are now poised for global stardom.

The Super Six World Boxing Classic was conceived by Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®, to match the best fighters in a deep, talent-laden division in a series of fights to see who would come out on top.  Now, Ward and Froch are just one victory away from earning the distinction of being the undisputed No. 1 super middleweight in the world.

 “I can’t think of two more deserving men than Andre and Carl to represent this tournament in the Final with a chance for one of them to hoist high the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup,” said Hershman. “The two survived the gauntlet – fighting one elite athlete after another – and rightfully deserve the division’s top billing.

 “The Super Six was created to determine the No. 1 super middleweight in the world through an arduous run of championship level fights, but more importantly, to sustain conversation and piqued interest in these boxers before, during and between fights. It is clear that we have delivered that and much more.”

 The winner of the 12-rounder will claim super middleweight supremacy, both world championship belts, The Ring magazine championship and the coveted Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup.

“Going into a fight of this magnitude, I expect the toughest fight of my career,” said Ward.

Froch echoed Ward’s comments regarding the enormity of the Super Six Final. “Not only is it for two world titles, but it’s for the tournament trophy and The Ring belt is also on the line,” said the WBC champion. “It makes this the biggest and the most prestigious fight to happen for as far back as I can remember.

“This has been a fantastic tournament. It has produced some amazing fights in our division, fights that certainly would not have happened otherwise. For the Final, we have a great fight between two superior athletes.”

Ward said, “The Super Six has given me the opportunity to fight the best and, so far, I’ve been fortunate to beat the best. It’s also given me the chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do and that’s become undisputed champion. This fight brings me closer.

“I salute SHOWTIME and everyone involved for allowing me into this tournament. We’ve all put our nose to the ground, and we’re still standing and heading to a grand finale. I’m excited to be part of it.”

The last boxer from the United States to capture an Olympic Games gold medal, the six-foot one, 27-year-old Ward won the WBA belt by upsetting Super Six co-favorite Mikkel Kessler with an impressive 11th-round technical decision in Group Stage 1. Ward retained the crown with lopsided 12-round unanimous decisions over Allan Green, Sakio Bika and, most recently, Arthur Abraham (last May 14) in a Super Six Semifinal. Ward will be making his fourth defense against Froch.

Coming into the tournament off a 12th-round TKO over Jermain Taylor, Froch took a 12-round split decision over Andre Dirrell in Group Stage 1. The 33-year-old Froch then lost the WBC belt on a close decision to Kessler in a thrilling Fight of the Year candidate in Group Stage 2, but regained it in his subsequent Super Six start when, after an eye injury sidelined Kessler and forced him to relinquish the belt, he masterfully outclassed a determined Abraham en route to a unanimous decision. Froch defended his strap and secured a berth in the Final with a convincing, hard-fought decision over Glen Johnson last June 4.

In what will be an intense, highly charged affair, Froch fully expects his power to be the difference.

“Ward is a boxer and mover who can be messy up close,’’ Froch said. “I can box when I need to and I have proven time and again that I can fight with the best of them. I have my natural fitness, a big heart, experience at the top level and the ability to take a punch.

“My punching power is far superior to Ward’s. This will prove to be the deciding factor.”

Style-wise, Froch compares Ward to an earlier Super Six victim, Dirrell. “They are similar,’’ Froch said. “Both can't punch and both are frightened of getting hit hard.’’

It wouldn’t be a major fight involving Andre Ward without an upcoming opponent questioning his ability or legitimacy. Ward is accustomed to it. In some ways, he almost expects it and, up to now, thrives on it.

 “I don’t think Froch gets the attention he deserves in his country so he tries to get it in the United States,’’ Ward said. “Fine, if it sells a few tickets. He’s certainly not the first to speak out against me and he won’t be the last. I think Froch likes to hear himself talk – except he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

“My thoughts going into this fight are plain and simple: I want to retain the WBA belt, win the WBC belt and The Ring belt and bring home that Super Six hardware. I’m a pro and locked in on that and being one of the best in the world. Froch can dominate through his tabloids; all I want is to dominate the night of the fight. What he must understand is it looks totally different on the inside of those ropes than the way it looks on the outside.

“But Froch is absolutely right (about my elusive style),” said Ward. “I don’t get paid to get hit. It’s not my job. I was taught right away not to get hit or take unnecessary punishment. I’m not in it to be Fight of the Year; I’m in it to be Fighter of the Year.”

The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Matchroom Sport in association with Caesars Atlantic City.

Dan Goossen, of Goossen Tutor stated, “Words alone don’t do justice to describe the talent, inside and outside the ring, of Andre Ward.  Outside, he is someone you want to hug and admire because of his gentleman like qualities. Inside the ropes it’s a completely different story. He is an ornery man you don’t want to mess with; a real fighter.”

“As for the SHOWTIME tournament format, it is one of the best things to happen in boxing for many, many years,” Goossen continued. “When you have the best fighting the best in every fight, it’s great for the fans and our sport.  Believe me, nothing will stop Ward from beating Froch and capturing the inaugural Super Six Cup and catapulting himself to that next level.”

From Eddie Hearn, Managing Director, Matchroom Sport, ''Carl Froch epitomizes everything that is great about this sport. He puts everything on the line every time he enters the ring, in short he is the ultimate warrior. Beyond the steel determination is a sharp and bright mind who when linking up with his trainer Rob McCracken, can devise game plans to overcome anyone in this division. This is a huge fight. It's the kind of fight that determines your legacy, a fight that you have worked your whole life towards. The Super Six Cup, two prestigious World title belts and The Ring magazine belt – Carl Froch will be Andre Ward's worst nightmare on Oct. 29 and will NOT be denied.

“The Super Six has been a breath of fresh air in the sport of boxing. It's almost like how boxing used to be – the best fight the best, forget the politics. It's given us great fights, great drama and you couldn't have a more fitting Final.''

“The history of boxing in Atlantic City is rich,” said Don Marrandino, President of Caesars AC. “Some of the greatest of all time have fought here including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and, of course, Arturo Gatti. Our intent is to bring the biggest and the best boxing events back to our revitalized city. Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch in the Super Six World Boxing Classic Final is just that.  I can’t wait for Oct. 29.”

Future announcements regarding the press tour, travel and ticket packages and tickets on sale date will be made shortly.

 

For more information on the Super Six World Boxing Classic including exclusive photos, fight highlights and interviews, plus to view all episodes of the acclaimed documentary series FIGHT CAMP 360°: Inside The Super Six World Boxing Classic, please visit the website at www.WorldBoxingClassic.com.


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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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