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First Bareknuckle Boxing Event Since 1889 Unfolds Friday

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It has been nearly 123 years since the last bareknuckle boxing match took place.  In 1889 bareknuckle champion John L. Sullivan defeated Jake Kilrain in an epic 75 round marathon fight.

 

Bareknuckle boxing paved the way for what boxing has evolved into, although nowadays it carries along a false misconception of a barbaric sport.

 

When people think of bareknuckle fighting, the image of a barroom brawl or a bum fight comes to mind—two untrained combatants throwing hands viciously and carelessly.  Safety and skill rarely co-exist in the world of “street fighting”.

 

But for this first time since 1889, this Friday will make history as former cruiserweight boxing champion Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn will go to battle with MMA fighter Chris Thompson.  The bareknuckle boxing match is a sanctioned bout consisting of 10-90 second rounds and will be fought under London Prize Ring Rules.

 

“Many people hear the term bareknuckle boxing and immediately think of a vicious street fight or back alley brawl,” said Gunn.  “This is a fight between two professionals with referees and doctor’s ringside.”

 

Gunn went on to add that bareknuckle boxing reduces the risk of injury more than traditional boxing and mixed martial arts.

 

“In boxing a fighter can take a lot of punishment over the course of the fight, and even MMA fighters can take a rough beating before the fight is called,” said Gunn.  “Since we don’t wear gloves, I pick my shots and use a different approach than I did when I fought with boxing gloves.   It’s not about getting in there and wailing on your opponent until he can’t stand; it’s about fighting a strategic match to win.”

 

Gunn is excited about having the chance to be part of something that can really take off in the world of fight sports.

 

“The public enjoys watching fights because they want to see two professionals who know what they’re doing stand there and throw hands,” said Gunn.  “I believe that following this first match the sport is going to take off and become huge.”

 

Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn has become a recognizable name in the boxing industry due to his heavy hands, relentless drive and ability to put a show on every time he stepped between the ropes.

Heavyweight world champion Tomasz Adamek had the following to say about Gunn in a blog on his website, “Our fight began a thread of friendship between us.  He, (Gunn) street killer who fought over 100 street fights bare fisted, is looking for his place in between the ropes of the ring. He promised me a rematch for a lost fight.  Oh these sparring should be interesting.   He boasts that he has yet to be put down on the floorboards by anyone and you can see love for the ring in his eyes”.

 

“I want to thank all of my team, Dominick Scibetta, Kyle White, Al Ross and Renato Colantoni for always supporting and standing behind me,” said Gunn.  “And also a special shout out to Joe McEwing, who I have had the pleasure of knowing for several years; I believe he is one of the smartest minds in the sports industry I’ve ever met.”

 

The first bareknuckle boxing match will take place Friday, August 5 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It will be available to watch live online at www.ustream.tv.

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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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