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Weekend Wrap – Gesta, Wilder, Magdaleno Brothers Nab Weekend Wins

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While there weren’t any big time boxing PPVs over the weekend, fans of the sweet science had plenty of action to keep themselves busy.

ESPN’s Friday Night Fight’s series showcased two rising prospects both under the age of twenty-five. The show was broadcast live from Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas. First up was junior featherweight Jesse Magdaleno (11-0, 8 KOs), who made quick and easy work of Silva Santos (17-3, 9 KOs). He pummeled Santos right from the very start and dropped the overmatched Brazilian at the end of the first, then again in the second, before finishing him off with just six seconds left in the round.

In the main event of the evening, Mercito Gesta (26-0-1, 14 KOs) notched a TKO9 win over Ty Barnett (20-3-1, 13 KOs) in what is becoming typical Gesta fashion: he alternated brilliant displays of offense with fairly mediocre defense before overcoming his opponent with sharp, precise punches. Gesta, a junior welterweight, is often compared to fellow Filipino southpaw Manny Pacquiao, but that’s a bit unfair to him at this point. He doesn’t seem to possess the overwhelming speed and agility Pacquiao does, though he does have solid enough power. Still, Gesta is only twenty-four years old and seems to be progressing nicely for Top Rank, who would like to see him challenge for a title in the near future.

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Alabama isn’t particularly known for boxing, but native son and heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder (24-0, 24 KOs) may help to change that. Wilder is one of the United States’ best and brightest prospects in the heavyweight division. He was featured in the main event at Exposition Hall in Mobile, Alabama in front of a boisterous hometown-like crowd. The fight was nationally televised on Fox Sports.

Wilder was America’s lone boxing medalist in Beijing during 2004 Summer Olympics, taking home the bronze in the heavyweight division. After four years, though, fans are ready to see him tested, and his opponent Saturday didn’t even come close. Wilder blasted out veteran Kerston Manswell (22-6, 17 KOs) in the first round in tremendous fashion by knocking him across the ring and down three times before the contest stopped. While Manswell isn’t much of a real life contender these days, he had been in the ring with guys who are/were (e.g., Ruslan Chagaev) and had never been dominated quite like this before.

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Finally, Telefutura’s “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card was a prospect bonanza of sorts. Three undefeated fighters stayed that way on the Top Rank promoted card at Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas. Light heavyweight Mike Lee (10-0, 6 KOs) showed that eating fresh at Subway may really have its advantages (Lee is featured in national advertisements for the sandwich shop).

The Notre Dame graduate blasted out journeyman Mike Seever (13-12-1, 11 KOs) in just two rounds with a series devastating right hands. He is reportedly scheduled to fight on the 9/15 Martinez-Chavez PPV card next, which should provide even more exposure for the rising contender.

Lots of folks like what they see in twenty-year-old welterweight Jose Benavidez (16-0, 13 KOs) and the prospect likely gained even more admirers after his demolition of the previously undefeated Javier Loya (7-1, 6 KOs) on Saturday. Benavidez dominated his game opponent until the contest was halted in the fourth.

Finally, junior lightweight Diego Magdaleno (23-0, 8 KOs), older brother of Jesse, held up his end of the bargain this weekend, keeping the brothers undefeated at Texas Station Casino for the weekend and on their way to the top of the sport. Magdaleno outclassed former title challenger Antonio Davis with solid combination punching and aggressive offense. Magdaleno took home the easy win by TKO4 after both the referee and the corner had seen Davis eat far too many sharp punches to continue.

What did our TSS readers think about these fights? Did any one guy stand out to you in particular? Are any of these guys future stars in the sport? Let us know!

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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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