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Williams, Cloud, Arreola Fighting Feb. 18 on Showtime

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LOS ANGELES (Feb. 2) – On Saturday, Feb. 18, Paul “The Punisher” Williams, Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud and Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola will bring their aggressive, knockout power and crowd-pleasing all-out action style to the great fans and city of Corpus Christi, Texas. The stacked fight card will emanate from the 9,200-seat American Bank Center Arena in an event presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions. On the SHOWTIME Championship Boxing world championship doubleheader (LIVE at 10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), the Williams vs. Nobuhiro Ishida bout will be promoted in association with Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions. The Cloud vs. Gabriel Campillo bout will be promoted by Don King Productions in association with Sampson Boxing, LLC. Arreola will battle Eric Molina to headline the preliminary bouts on SHOWTIME Extreme.

The fights from Corpus Christi — which is a two-hour drive from the Mexican border — will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT, with Arreola stepping into the ring at 8 p.m. CT. Tickets are priced at $25, $35, $50, $75, $100 and will available at the American Bank Center box office and on Ticketmaster.com starting Saturday, January 14 at 10 a.m. CT. VIP packages are also available by calling (817) 296-4546.

The 30-year old Williams (40-2, 27 KOs), a southpaw from Aiken, S.C., who twice held the WBO Welterweight Championship and the interim Super Welterweight Championship, will take on Japan's Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs) in the scheduled 12-round junior middleweight main event.

“The Punisher” takes on Ishida with his sights strictly on re-establishing his reputation as “The World's Most Feared Boxer.” Fighting just three times in the past two years, Williams is looking to stay busier and getting back to dominant victories. Before sustaining a devastating second-round knockout in a WBC World Middleweight championship bout against Sergio Martinez in November 2010, Williams was involved in one of the more unique victories in boxing when Kermit Cintron took a nosedive through the ropes and landed on the floor beneath the ring, declaring himself unable to continue. After the Martinez bout, Williams took on the challenge of Cuban Erislandy Lara back in July of last year and earned what many considered a very controversial decision win, despite the fact Williams threw and connected with more punches than Lara.

In facing the 36-year old Ishida, Williams will be taking on a dangerous veteran who, back in April of last year, handed current WBC Continental Americas Super Welterweight Champion James Kirkland his first defeat in 28 fights by knocking him down three times en route to a first-round stoppage in Las Vegas – his only fight on American soil to date. After his KO loss to Ishida, Kirkland landed a November fight with Alfredo Angulo, who had 17 knockouts in his 20 wins, and in a slugfest, he stopped Angulo in the sixth round, making Ishida's KO victory over Kirkland that much more impressive.

“I am happy to be getting back in the ring and honored to be fighting on SHOWTIME and I know 2012 is going to be a good year for me,” Williams stated. “Just like in the gym, sometimes you have good days and sometimes bad days. I had a couple of bad days against Martinez and Lara, but I am much more focused now and I intend to show everyone in Corpus Christi.

“I know Ishida is a hungry fighter and a hungry fighter is a most dangerous fighter. Lara fought over his head against me and I am going to try not to let it happen again with Ishida. I am looking to get some belts in 2012 at 154 and 160 pounds.”

“I'm coming with every intention to win, but I'm not underestimating my opponent,” said Ishida. “I respect him, but I fight for the welfare of my family. Obviously, after winning this fight I'm looking for a shot at the world title. I'm really excited to fight in the United States again, so I will put it all on the line against Paul Williams.”

Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (23-0, 19 KOs), of Tallahassee, Fla., will be making the fourth defense of the IBF light heavyweight title he won via 12-round unanimous decision over former world champion Clinton Woods in August 2009. The undefeated, 29-year-old then successfully defended his title against Glen Johnson, Fulgencio Zuniga and Yusaf Mack.

Challenging him for the IBF belt is the very competent 33-year-old Spaniard from Madrid, Gabriel Campillo (28-3-1, 8 KOs). A former WBA light heavyweight world champion, Campillo handed current world champion Beibut Shumenov the only loss of his career – on his home soil in Kazakhstan, no less. Now, in his second trip to America, he presents a serious challenge to Cloud.

Arreola (34-2, 29 KOs), 30, from Riverside, Calif., remains determined to become the first man of Mexican descent to win a world heavyweight championship, having lost his first opportunity to long-reigning WBC Champion Vitali Klitschko back in 2009. Since experiencing his only other loss as a pro to Tomasz Adamek in April 2010, “The Nightmare” has dedicated himself to training and physical conditioning while rattling off six consecutive wins, four by knockout, weighing about 20 pounds less while doing so.

In his most recent outing back in November, Arreola traveled to Leon, Guanajuato to make his highly anticipated Mexican debut at the grand arena “El Domo” where he headlined an event promoted by Goossen Tutor and Promociones Del Pueblo and broadcast on Televisa. He stopped Raphael Butler in the third round in front of over 7,000 rousing fans in attendance.

“I am very excited about fighting on February 18 in Corpus Christi and being on SHOWTIME Extreme,” Arreola exclaimed. “I remember seeing Fernando Vargas fighting in front of a full house here and I believe I will bring that type of excitement for these great fans. I am looking to build off a positive 2011 when I showed that I could get my weight under control and take my training and conditioning more seriously. This will be the first fight of what I predict will be a big and exciting 2012 for me and my career.”

Standing directly in Arreola's path towards heavyweight supremacy, is 29-year-old Eric Molina (18-1, 14 KOs). Having tasted defeat in his professional debut, Molina and his camp went back to the drawing board to make sure that it wouldn't happen again. To this point he has been successful in that regard, defeating all of his next 18 opponents, while dispatching 14 of them by knockout.

“Six sluggers, three world champions, all in 'Triple Threat' fights,” said promoter Dan Goossen. “This will definitely be SHOWTIME for the fans in attendance and the ones watching at home”.

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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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