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China Keeps Punching at 2011 Boxing Worlds…ZHENYU LI



The 2011 World Boxing Championships, the major qualifying event for the London 2012 Olympics, rang down the curtain last weekend in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, with China bringing home one gold, one bronze and three “Olympic tickets”.

“Generally speaking, the performance of our boxers is up to the mark,” Jianping Chang, president of the Chinese Boxing Association, the highest organ of power overseeing boxing in China, told TSS in Beijing after the Worlds. “I’m especially satisfied with Shiming Zou’s exceptional showing.”

China’s boxing kingpin Zou (pictured) put on a series of dominating shows and claimed his third world title in Baku after being crowned at the 2005 and 2007 Worlds.

“It’s Asia’s only gold medal at this Worlds,” Chang said, referring to Zou’s latest success. “By winning the world title for the third straight time, Zou is spoken highly of by almost all the global experts.”

The 30-year-old Chinese, who has remained unbeaten since 2007, is the world’s most accomplished light flyweight in amateur boxing, a legendary ring master who has one Olympic gold medal and three world titles under his belt.

Apart from Zou, China’s second best, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zhilei Zhang who has been co-handled by American legendary trainer Lou Duva since 2009, fell short of expectations in the newly-concluded boxing tournament, even failing to qualify for the quarter-finals.

It was the two fresh prospects — heavyweight Xuanxuan Wang and light heavyweight Fanlong Meng that secured the other two of the three Olympic boxing berths for China.

“Our main purpose of this outing is to win as many ‘Olympic tickets’ as possible,” said Chang. “The Chinese team overall has been ranked among the world’s elite. Some certain boxers should have done better.”

On top of the world at this Worlds is Ukraine, a dark horse that amazingly claimed four out of ten gold medals; Cuba, the traditional boxing superpower, topped two weight categories; China, Russia, Brazil and the host nation Azerbaijan won one gold medal apiece.

As far as the “ticket” number goes, Ukraine is also the biggest winner, clinching six spots at the 2012 London Games; standing side by side, next in line are Cuba, India, Italy and Kazakhstan, all with five.

At the height of its power, prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China managed to grab one gold, four bronzes and seven “Olympic tickets” at the 2007 edition of the premier boxing event.

“There will be another Olympic qualifying tournament in the Asian region. So, we’ll still have chances to qualify for more weight classes,” Chang asserted.

There are a total of 232 Olympic spots for the entire ten weight categories in men’s boxing. As the main Olympic qualifying event, the 2011 Worlds allowed 92 boxers to qualify; the other 140 tickets will be produced by the respective continental Olympic qualifying tournaments.

With the emergence of Shiming Zou, amateur boxing in China has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years.

It reached its climax in 2008 when China, in the Beijing Games, smashed the triopoly of Cuba, Russia and the United States, any of whom had ruled the tally table in boxing at every Olympics since 1942. With two golds, one silver and one bronze, China emerged as the new king in the amateur boxing world.

Three years on, the 2012 London Olympic Games is approaching. Will China’s boxing be in a position to renew its old glory in an alien land?

As women’s boxing punched a spot in next year’s London Games and would bring two more boxing gold medals to the table, it adds more weight to the bar for the Asian female boxing powerhouse.

China once dominated the 2009 Women’s World Boxing Championships, playing the solo on the brightest medal tally with five golds, two silvers and four bronzes, far exceeding the runner-up Turkey with three golds and four bronzes.

“Speaking of the 2012 London Games, the Chinese national boxing team has set its sight on one gold medal for men’s boxing and another for women’s boxing,” confided Chang.

“We have confidence to have a serious crack at the Olympic golds next year.”

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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