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Jermain Taylor Returns Dec. 30

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Jermain Taylor Returns Dec. 30 – NEW YORK (Dec. 12, 2011) – Long regarded as one of the world’s premier super middleweight contenders, Andre Dirrell will return to the ring for the first time in 21 months when he faces Darryl Cunningham in the co-feature of a special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Dec. 30, live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif.

Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOs), of Flint, Mich., has not fought since winning by 11th-round disqualification over Arthur Abraham in The Super Six World Boxing Classic on March 27, 2010. Cunningham (24-2, 10 KOs), of Detroit, has been victorious in 17 consecutive starts and has not lost since December 2007.

The ShoBox main event will spotlight another comeback — that of former undisputed middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., in a scheduled 10-round middleweight bout. Taylor’s first start in 26 months represents a return to the division he once dominated. Taylor will face Jessie Nicklow (22-2-3, 8 KOs) of Baltimore, Md.

In the opening bout of the telecast, former Cuban amateur standout Luis “El Leon” Garcia (11-0, 9 KOs) of Cork, Ireland, meets southpaw Alexander “The Great” Johnson (12-0, 5 KOs, 1 NC) of Oxon Hill, Md., in an eight-round showdown of undefeated light heavyweights.

Dirrell anticipates challenging for a world title in 2012 but for now the 2004 Olympic Games bronze medalist is content to be fighting again and focused on Dec. 30.

“I’ve been waiting for this for the longest time,’’ he said. “(The time off) seemed like forever.’’

Dirrell’s last fight – a Super Six Group Stage 2 bout against Abraham in Detroit – ended abruptly after an illegal Abraham right hand to the head rendered Dirrell unconscious. The illicit punch came while Dirrell, who had slipped in Abraham’s corner, was down on one knee. The referee halted the contest at 1:13 of the 11th round, ruling Dirrell the winner by DQ. Dirrell was comfortably ahead at the time by the scores of 98-91 and 97-92 twice.

The athletically gifted Dirrell, 28, cited neurological problems stemming from the Abraham bout and dropped out of the Super Six tournament. He now says he has a clean bill of health and is ready to not only resume his promising career but make a statement in his first bout back.

“It’s real important I go in and give a good showing,” said Dirrell, who trains at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. “I’m not worried about what happened in the past. The only thing I’m worried about is that I haven’t been in there (for a long time).”

Dirrell, whose only defeat came on a 12-round split decision to World Boxing Council (WBC) 168-pound champion Carl Froch in Group Stage 1 of the Super Six tournament on Oct. 17, 2009, expects to have some jitters for Cunningham.

“They’re nothing I can’t handle. I’m just more anxious than anything,” Dirrell said.

With a possible world title shot in the future, Dirrell wanted to face a solid foe. He gets that in Cunningham, a tough, veteran lefty who possesses a lot of hand speed and decent power. Cunningham was scheduled to face Kelly Pavlik earlier this year, but Pavlik withdrew.

In his most recent outing, the confident Cunningham, 37, took a unanimous decision over Dante Craig last Oct. 6 in Detroit. Cunningham also has notable victories over the likes of Antwun Echols, Rubin Williams and Pat Coleman. All but two of Cunningham’s fights have taken place in Michigan.

“I’m always coming to win,” said Cunningham, a personal trainer who says he does 800-900 sit-ups a day. “This is my opportunity to shine. I’m not going to lie down. People don’t know me now. They don’t know my heart, what’s inside me. But the whole world is going to know me after this fight.’’

In the telecast’s opener, Garcia, a six-footer who turns 24 on Dec. 23, and the 5-foot-11 1/2 Johnson, who turns 30 on Dec. 22, will be making their ShoBox debuts.

In his most recent outing and lone fight in 2011, Garcia scored a second-round TKO over former world champion Byron Mitchell on Nov. 6. Mitchell, cut near his left eye, was counted out at 0:51 in the second.

Until this year when he was a victim of several fights falling out, Garcia had maintained a busy schedule. He fought five times in 2010 and four times in 2009.

Garcia was a stellar amateur and a world junior champion. He thought he’d earned a trip to the 2008 Olympic Games but his spot on the team went to a boxer he’d beaten, Emilio Correa,  who went on to win a silver medal.

Disillusioned with what he claimed were the politics of amateur boxing, Garcia defected to Cork shortly thereafter and turned pro in September 2008. He’s trained by Glenn McCrory in Newcastle, England.

Johnson will be making his fourth start this year. He is coming off a fourth-round TKO over Keon Johnson (no relation) last July 16 in Washington, D.C.

A pro since March 2007, Alexander Johnson won his start before last on an impressive 10-round majority decision over fellow unbeaten and highly touted prospect, Farah Ennis, on April 2 in Atlantic City. Performing with calm intensity and passion, Johnson was victorious in his most noteworthy triumph by the upset scores of 98-93, 97-93 and 95-95.

Jermain Taylor Returns Dec. 30 / Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

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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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