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Teddy Atlas Kept PAL Boxing Alive

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NEW YORK CITY (January 25, 2012) – When government funding ceased three years ago for the New York City Police Athletic League (“PAL”) Cops & Kids Boxing program, The Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation absorbed operational costs, expanded its reach into education, and today it is making life-changing differences for hundreds of inner-city youths between the ages of 10 and 21.

Certified by USA Boxing, the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program has been a knockout of a success, providing a safe place for city kids to go after school. Members not only learn how to box, some developing into team members for competitive tournaments like the famed Daily News Golden Gloves, but also build camaraderie, discipline, self-esteem and character.

The program now has gyms at Park Hill in Staten Island, where 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team member Marcus Browne developed his skills, and Flatbush Gardens in Brooklyn with more gyms soon opening in Brownsville and Berry Houses in Staten Island, as well as future plans to open gyms in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens.

The Dr. Atlas Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by renowned boxing trainer and television analyst Teddy Atlas in his father’s memory, currently leases gym space for $1.00 a year for its Brooklyn and Staten Island locations. Operational costs, however, are approximately $50,000 for each gym, including equipment, computers, teachers, coaches, etc.

Unlike other charitable organizations that may keep up to 80-percent of funds for expenses and administrative fees, nearly 100-percent of all monies raised by the Dr. Atlas Foundation go directly to needy families and individuals. Fundraising, however, especially during today’s strained economic times, simply isn’t enough anymore. Sponsorships, corporate and individual, and public donations are desperately needed to continue The Foundation’s invaluable community work.

“During the past 15 years,” Teddy said, “the Dr. Atlas Foundation has given millions of dollars directly to people in need. The money may go towards cancer treatment, medical expenses not covered by insurance, medical equipment, Christmas presents for kids, and many other ways to help sick children and families. Other organizations claim that monies raised go toward research, but the future is now for people in need. We get calls every day from people in need, many of whom were directed to us from these other organizations. Our programs are getting real results.”

The Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program offers much more than learning the sweet science and demands strict membership requirements. Each gym has an academic learning center and all gym members are subject to a review of their report cards and adherence to a set of rules established for proper behavior and appearance.

“The boxing program is needed for wayward kids with little or no direction,” Atlas continued. “Our gyms give them a place to go for hope; building confidence and making them feel better about themselves. They get the tools there that they need to grow-up and become productive people. It is an important, valuable alternative to violence, crime and drugs. That’s what boxing does like no other sport. It helps kids find themselves. Not only do they discover things that they didn’t know were available to them, they gain pride and confidence in themselves. Our program is a platform for them to have dignity. The Dr. Atlas Foundation has been helping needy people with medical expenses, relocation assistance, and for other areas like that. But violence is a sickness and we’re helping to prevent that with our gyms. I agreed to absorb the boxing program with a twist – education components had to be part of it. We established behavioral rules and conduct with disciplinary consequences. The kids have to keep their grades up if they want to train. Pat Russo did a great job as the PAL boxing program director and he’s continuing to do a great job as the director of our program.”

Russo proudly and happily remains in charge today. “I couldn’t walk away from these kids after 20 years as the PAL gyms director,” Russo explained. “I’d known Teddy for years and called him saying we had seven gyms and 1000 kids who were going to be turned out in the streets. Teddy saw this as preventative in terms of sickness, crime activity and drugs. We always taught the value of education and becoming a productive person, so this program fit into the Dr. Atlas Foundation organization.

“Kids want to be a part of something and we’re providing a positive alternative to gangs and drug activity. People in power have a bias for some reason against boxing, but it costs about $100,000 to incarcerate a teenager. It costs us $50,000 a year to run one of these gyms, where we can guide 200 or more kids and keep them out of jail. There are a lot of one-parent kids here who don’t really know what’s out there for them. We had one kid who just entered the Police Academy. It’s tough. They can’t pay money to be here but there’s no cost to help making a good kid into something for themselves. We’re mentors. They really want discipline and it’s really working.”

Donations and sponsorships are needed to help fund the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program. For more information go online to http://www.dratlasfoundation.com/boxingclubs.html

Here is a link to short video presentation about the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program through the eyes of some of its members: atlas video.nfl. Also find this link featuring Olympic boxing hopeful Christina Cruz on The CBS Morning Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qb8BxWO5r4.

 

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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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