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MARES: “I'm Ready For War”…Quotes From Final Press Conference

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JOSEPH AGBEKO & ABNER MARES
FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Also Undercard Fighters Eric Molina, Eric Morel, Warren Browning & Carlos Molina
Thursday, Aug. 11, The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas
Telecast This Saturday, Aug. 13, Live on SHOWTIME® at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT;
Non-Televised Undercard Fights Start at 3:30 p.m. PT

LAS VEGAS (Aug. 11, 2011) –  You beat the best, you are the best and this Saturday, Aug. 13, the best bantamweight in the world will emerge when finalists Joseph King Kong Agbeko and Abner Mares clash in The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

The highly anticipated matchup for Agbeko’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight title and the promising, unbeaten Mares’ WBC Silver championship belt will take place at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Agbeko, of Bronx, N.Y., by way of Accra, Ghana, will bring a record of 28-2 with 22 KOs into the 12-round bout. Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is 21-0-1 with 13 stoppages.

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

Doors open Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The first non-televised undercard fight starts at 3:30 p.m.

Agbeko and Mares were scheduled to meet last April 23, but the fight was postponed when Agbeko was injured moments after his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport for fight week.  Doctors diagnosed the champion with sudden onset sciatica, a back injury.

The fight card is promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions and is sponsored by Corona.  For more information, visit www.donking.com or www.goldenboypromotions.com, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing or follow the event on twitter at www.twitter.com/GoldenBoyBoxing or www.twitter.com/abnermares00.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://sports.sho.com/.

What the fighters and executives said Thursday:

JOSEPH KING KONG AGBEKO

“It’s great to be back.  Las Vegas is like my home. I made my U.S. debut here.  I want to thank my promoter, Don King, and all who made this fight and tournament possible.

“It may be Mares’ dream to become world champion but my dream is to become No. 1 pound-for-pound in boxing.  A loss on Saturday would not give me that chance, so my only option is to win.

“I don’t understand why Mares is a (near 2-1) favorite.  I’m the champion.  I just want a fair fight.’’

ABNER MARES

“I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to do what I love, and that is boxing.  I want to thank the media for the attention and support they give the little guys.  I want to thank SHOWTIME for allowing me to enter this tournament and showcase my talent.

“The final is here and I’m really happy about that.  I had a tough fight in my last fight against (Vic) Darchinyan and now I am ready make my dream come true.

“I am totally ready for this.  There’s no way I can lose.  The thought of defeat is not in my mind.  I am ready for a war.’’

ALAN HOPPER (Vice President of Public Relations, Don King Promotions)
“On Saturday, we are going to have a barn-burner. In Joseph King Kong Agbeko, we have a true Ghanaian warrior who follows in the footsteps of greats like “The Professor” Azumah Nelson.
“This is for Abner Mares: If you want to know what I mean by this, just ask the head of your promotional company, Oscar De La Hoya about a fighter from Ghana by the name of Ike “Bazooka” Quartey.  He knocked Oscar on his tail — but to Oscar's credit he got up and knocked him on his butt and flurried at the end to win the fight.  But he can tell you what it's like to be in the ring with a warrior from Ghana.  IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko is one of these warriors.
“I say this so you know what you are up against, Abner. I wish you luck and may the best man win.”
DAVID ITSKOWITCH (Chief Operating Officer, Golden Boy Promotions)

“We’re very excited about the culmination of this tournament and on Saturday.  Wwe are going to witness a great night for boxing.

“This tournament would not have happened without the visionary work of Ken Hershman and his staff who have done an outstanding job which we appreciate.”

CHRIS DEBLASIO (Senior Director Communications, SHOWTIME Sports)

“On behalf of Execute Vice President and General Manager SHOWTIME Sports, Ken Hershman and Executive Producer, David Dinkins, Jr., I want to thank the fighters for staying committed to this tournament.  In Agbeko versus Mares, you won’t find a more competitive and compelling matchup this year in boxing.

“This fight is of major importance to the bantamweight division and on Saturday night we will see who the best bantamweight in the world is.

“Boxing, which began on the network in 1986, has always been our flagship sport and this bantamweight tournament is just one of the innovative ways that SHOWTIME Sports has made its mark in this industry.’’

FRANK ESPINOZA (Mares’ Manager)

“From day one, I knew Abner had the makings of a champion.  Joseph Agbeko is one of the best in the world, but on Saturday we are going to see the coronation of boxing’s newest superstar.

“I want to thank Ken Hershman and everyone involved for this tournament.’’

ERIC MOLINA

“I love being here in this kind of big-fight atmosphere.  When I started boxing, I could only dream of this kind of opportunity.  I’m well-prepared and ready for a war.’’

WARREN BROWNING

“I’m not cocky, just confident.  I am really looking forward to Saturday.  Bring it on.’’

ERIC MOREL??“I’m extremely happy to be involved in this event.  I want to fight the winner of Agbeko-Mares and win another world title.’’

CARLOS MOLINA

“I want to thank Golden Boy and everybody who had a part in making this show happen.  This is a great card full of champions. I’m ready to put on a show on Saturday night.’’

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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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