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Ex Fighter Terri Moss Excited For Women's Boxing

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maryanns pics resized1It’s an exciting time for women’s boxing. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will showcase the sport for the first time in its 116-year modern history. It’s an event that has been eagerly anticipated by boxing’s foremothers, and the excitement can hardly be contained by those who have fought so long and so hard just to see it happen.

“This is so huge for us,” said Terri Moss, a Colorado-born Georgia resident who fought professionally from 2002-2007. “It is a great time of opportunity for women to be seen as real athletes. It’s like what Billy Jean King did for tennis.”

King, the trailblazing women’s tennis player who helped legitimize women in another sport men had long dominated, won twelve Grand Slam titles in tennis, but is probably best known in pop culture for defeating male tennis player Bobby Riggs in a match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes” in 1973.

That was almost 40 years ago.

“It’s almost amazing to think that its 2012, and we’re just now getting [women’s boxing] into the Olympics,” Moss, age 46, said. “There is even wrestling in the Olympics for women. It’s been there for years.Of all women athletes, I think we have suffered the most as far as not being accepted. There are so many people out there – some of them even women – who just don’t believe women should fight.”

Boxing history is chock-full of people who didn’t give up when the going got tough. In fact, it’s what we love most in our sport. When the going gets tough, we like to see our fighters get going. Our favorite boxers are the ones that keep coming, keep fighting and persevere.

Perseverance is Evander Holyfield in round ten against Riddick Bowe.It’s Diego Corrales versus Jose Luis Castillo and Arturo Gatti versus Micky Ward. It’s Joe Frazier decking Muhammad Ali in the Superfight and Jack Dempsey riding the rails as a hobo and fighting people in bars for food money on his way to becoming heavyweight champion of the world.

Perseverance is boxing.

The women of boxing know all about it. After skyrocketing into American consciousness in the early 2000s, led by superstar fighters like Christy Martin, Laila Ali and Ann Wolfe, the sport didn’t seem to go anywhere further. It seemed to be stuck in the mud.

Moss, who fought and won titles during that important era of the sport, believes women’s boxing suffered then from a distinct lack of depth in the amateur ranks.

“Lots of people say we had a little upshift with the Christy Martin and Laila Ali stuff and that then it kind of sunk, but I didn’t really see it that way,” she said. “There really wasn’t a lot of amateur boxing going on at the time. When I got into boxing, a lot of women were just skipping the amateurs and going to the pros because so many of us had gone to tournaments to fight and nobody would be there to fight. You get tired of training so hard for nothing, you know? It was discouraging. That alone, made us learn that if we wanted anything at all from this sport, we’d have to stick to it. We would have to continue to wait. We would have to continue to drive forward whether we had to take fights out of our weight class or beyond our experience – whatever. We learned that we had to persevere.”

“Whatever it takes,” she said almost as if remembering a personal motto during that time. “There’s not a lot that’s going to happen for us unless we make it happen.”

Whenever I interview a fighter, I wonder what made them want to fight in the first place. Male or female, what would drive a person to want to step inside a ring for an old fashioned fist fight? Why would anyone want to make that happen exactly?

“For women, it’s an empowerment thing,” Moss said. “Not because we want to prove something to someone else but because we want to prove something to ourselves. We want to go out there and conquer our own fears as well as the things we’re told we cannot do.”

Boxing hit Moss like a ton bricks. She fell in love with the sport fast, furious and seemingly out of nowhere.

“I never really watched boxing until the first Holyfield-Tyson fight,” she recalled. “Honestly, I never really paid that much attention to boxing.”

“I stumbled into the gym [at age 34] because a friend of mine saw that Jennifer Lopez movie (“Enough, from 2002”),” Moss remembered with a laugh. “It was the women empowerment thing! I just followed her in. I thought she was crazy!”

Boxing has a funny way of drawing people to it, but once you’re hooked – well, you’re hooked. For Moss, it was no different.

“It only took one training session for me to decide it’s where I wanted to be.”

Moss has been there ever since. The retired champion is a boxing trainer, fitness guru and promoter of her increasingly popular white-collar charity boxing shows in Georgia. She oversees fights internationally for sanctioning organizations and is a chairperson for the Champions of Dignity Association, a charity dedicated to providing care for retired boxers as well as educating the sport’s current ones.

She’s a boxing evangelist who spreads what she calls “the boxing bug” everywhere she can. It’s what drives her, and it’s why you perhaps should listen when she says this is an unprecedented time in women’s boxing.

“I really do believe women’s boxing is on the verge of a major change,” she said. “I’ve only been in boxing for about 12 years, and I’ve already seen so much. It’s a total turnaround. I mean, women’s boxing for amateurs is now incredible! We’re real fighters. We don’t have to get in there now and hope to look like real fighters.”

One of the reasons Moss thinks women’s boxing had such a tough time maintaining its momentum during the 2000s was because a lot of the fighters were not employing the sweetest of science.

“There was so little experience out there,” said Moss. “Nobody really knew how to fight, and if you did know how to fight, there was nobody out there to fight you who knew how to fight.”

Moss believes its different now. The 2012 U.S. Olympic team knows how to fight, and she expects big things from the three-person team of Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields. Moss believes at least two of the three women will win silver or gold, and she’s anxious to see what happens after the Olympics with the group, whether they continue their amateur careers or try their hands in the professional ranks.

Whatever the case, Moss believes the opportunity is there for something really special for this group of female athletes, and she’s glad she finally gets to see it.

“We have fought so hard to get this. We want people to know that we are real fighters. We think like fighters. We talk like fighters.This means a lot to us. This is our chance to show the world who we are. This is huge.”

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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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