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Liakhovich Likes His Experience In Jennings Fight

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LAS VEGAS – At 35 years of age, former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich, 25-4, 16 KOs, has been around the boxing block a few times. However, the mileage he has logged in the ring figures to be his biggest advantage in his next fight. Liakhovich will take on the younger and perhaps hungrier Bryant Jennings, 27, in a 10-round heavyweight contest on the latest edition of the nationally televised “Fight Night” boxing series on the NBC Sports Network, March 24th from Brooklyn, NY. The broadcast begins at 10PM ET.

“The biggest problem for him will be my experience,” said Liakhovich.

And that experience is formidable. He had an all-star amateur career with a 145-15 record and numerous titles, trophies and medals to his credit. As a professional, Sergei has met top heavies like Lamon Brewster, Shannon Briggs, Nikolay Valuev, Dominick Guinn and Maurice Harris. Liakhovich did not beat them all, but he learned valuable lessons that make him the fighter he is today.

His career-best performance was his title-winning effort against Lamon Brewster in 2006. In that fight, Liakhovich seemed to come from nowhere to beat the streaking Brewster who had defeated Wladimir Klitschko and a long line of other A-list big men. But Liakhovich defied the odds to capture the WBO belt by unanimous decision.

“What I remember most is the fight,” Liakhovich said. “I was just 29 years old. I fought Brewster for the world title and I won the world title.”

In the six years that have passed since that fight, Liakhovich has experienced a few bumps in the road, including his last bout, a TKO loss to Robert Helenius in Germany. But Liakhovich feels that the trials he has encountered have made him battle-tested and ready for the second half of his career.

“You have to learn from your mistakes and move forward,” Liakhovich said. “You have to take the experiences with you. Look forward, move forward.”

The relatively inexperienced Bryant Jennings, 12-0, 5 KOs, played leap-frog in January when he stepped up at the last minute to fill the void left when fellow-Philadelphian Eddie Chambers pulled out the first “Fight Night” main event. Chambers was to have fought Liakhovich that night, but the fighter's exit forced promoter Main Events and match maker J Russell Peltz to find a whole new feature bout. Jennings answered the call, and won that bout against another undefeated prospect, Maurice Byarm. The victory in his very first main event thrust Jennings into the spotlight and put him on a path that Liakhovich thinks he may not be quite ready for.

“I saw the fight,” Liakhovich said. “He is young, has decent speed, decent power. He is a decent fighter. I will take him into the deep water and see how he does.”

Speaking from his Las Vegas training camp, Liakhovich said that he and trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad have prepared for anything that Jennings brings into the fight. And although the former champion says that his goal is to again fight for the world title, he's not getting ahead of himself.

“First is first,” Liakhovich said. “I'm focused on beating Jennings. We'll see what he has and then we'll go from there.”

Be sure to tune into NBCSN for all the action following the NCAA basketball tournament!

To find the location of the NBC Sports Network on your local cable, satellite or IPTV provider, click here:http://www.nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/30092015/ns/sports/

Fight Info:

Tickets to the blockbuster triple-header, priced at $200, $100 and $75 and may be purchased by calling Main Events (973) 200-7050, Peltz Boxing (215) 765-0922, or online through www.peltzboxing.com. The non-televised undercard fights will begin at 7:30 p.m., the NBC Sports Network Fight Night broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. ET on Mar 24th.

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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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