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“Klitschko” Doc Debuts on HBO Saturday

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hbo-ipad-serviceKLITSCHKO CHRONICLES THE DYNAMIC BROTHERHOOD OF REIGNING

HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS WLADIMIR AND VITALI KLITSCHKO WHEN THE DOCUMENTARY DEBUTS SATURDAY, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

Coaches, athletes and pundits often use the word “brotherhood” to describe a team undergoing a journey so profound that they feel as close as family, or to indicate two athletes bonded in rivalry. The ultimate example of the word in both senses is actual brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, reigning heavyweight champions of the world.

Spanning four decades, the Cold War, an Olympic gold medal, a nuclear disaster, a political campaign and seven world championship titles, the documentary KLITSCHKO presents an intimate look at two brothers’ rise to athletic supremacy when it debuts SATURDAY, SEPT. 8 (5:30-7:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Sept. 12 (11:30 a.m.), 16 (8:15 a.m.), 20 (12:50 a.m.), 24 (noon), 27 (4:30 p.m.) and 29 (noon)

HBO2 playdates: Sept. 9 (1:00 p.m.), 11 (2:10 p.m.), 19 (7:30 a.m.), 21 (5:05 p.m.) and 27 (midnight)

The film will also be available on HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.

Directed by International Emmy® winner Sebastian Dehnhardt, KLITSCHKO is a revealing all-access look at the first brothers ever to unify the heavyweight titles. The feature-length documentary recounts the triumphs and pitfalls of the Ukrainian giants through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, highlighted by archival material and candid insights from trainers, friends, opponents and family, including the brothers’ father, who died shortly after the film’s completion.

Wladimir, 36, and Vitali, 41, who both began their professional careers in 1996, have avenged one another’s losses and worked each other’s corners. Vitali first became world champion in 1999, followed by Wladimir in 2000. Vitali retired in 2004, only to make a comeback in 2008 that led to the brothers’ historic unification of the heavyweight titles.

KLITSCHKO charts the brothers’ ascent from humble beginnings in the Soviet Union, the early successes that brought them to Germany and America, their subsequent professional setbacks and the recent dominance that has resulted in a combined pro record of 102-5, with 91 KOs.

Whether detailing Vitali’s struggles to combat political corruption in his native Ukraine or Wladimir’s allegiance to trainer Emanuel Steward, which led him to ban his brother from training camp, the documentary is a frank portrayal of two similarly strong personalities who are increasingly taking divergent paths.

The Klitschko brothers’ association with HBO Sports began in 2000 and has been highlighted by some of the most memorable heavyweight fights of the last decade, among them Vitali’s valiant battle with then-heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in 2003. Combined, the brothers’ ring record on HBO is an impressive 21-4, 17 KOs.

In June, the Boxing Writers’ Association of America (BWAA) honored Vitali and Wladimir with the James A. Farley Award for Honesty and Integrity in Boxing.

The debut of KLITSCHKO opens a special day of boxing programming that also features a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader, which begins at 9:45 p.m. (ET/PT) and includes Vitali Klitschko’s (44-2, 40 KOs) world title defense versus challenger Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KOs), presented from Moscow.

KLITSCHKO is a production of BROADVIEW Pictures funded by FILM-UND MEDIENSTIFTUNG NRW; directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt; produced by International Emmy® winner Leopold Hoesch; edited by Lars Roland; cinematography by Johannes Imdahl; original score by Stefan Ziehten. Universal Pictures International Entertainment is the global multi-platform distributor for KLITSCHKO (excluding U.S. and Germany).

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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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