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MATTYSSE: “I Am Ready To Fight”

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003MatthysseIMG 1729LAS VEGAS (Sept 6, 2012) – The four boxers who’ll appear this Saturday, Sept. 8, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. pronounced themselves fit and ready to go during Thursday’s final press conference.

In what should be a terrific, hard-fought main event between two eager, determined and hungry fighters, undefeated Olusegun Ajose (30-0, 14 KO's) of Nigeria will face hard-hitting Argentine Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KO's) for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.

Promising, unbeaten middleweight J'Leon Love (12-0, 7 KO's) of Las Vegas will risk his perfect record against Chicago's Ramon Valenzuela (7-1, 1 KO) in the co-feature.

Preceding Saturday’s doubleheader on SHOWTIME will be two live undercard fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT): Daquan Arnett (6-0, 4 KO's) of Orlando, Fla. meets Jesus Tavera (3-2, 1 KO), of Mexico City, Mex. in a six-round junior middleweight scrap and Ishe Smith (23-5, 11 KO's) of Las Vegas takes on Puerto Rico's Irving Garcia (17-7-3, 8 KO's) in a 10-round junior middleweight bout.

Ajose vs. Matthysse, a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship taking place Saturday, September 8 at The Joint At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment, Gary Shaw Productions and Arano Box Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will air live at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) with middleweight prospects J'Leon Love and Ramon Valenzuela squaring off in a 10-round co-featured bout presented in association with Mayweather Promotions. Preliminary fights will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $150, are on sale and may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Here is what the SHOWTIME fighters, their promoters and representatives said during the final press conference at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino:

OLUSEGUN AJOSE

“I’m grateful that I am fighting on SHOWTIME. I am thankful to be back on their network. I was on ShoBox last year in my American debut. This is an opportunity for me to show everyone what I’ve got. I give Matthysse a lot of respect. I think he is the best in the division. That makes me the best of the best in this division.

“The fans should expect fireworks. He is an all-out guy and I am an all-out guy. My advice to people is they shouldn’t blink. Whatever power he has, show me. He has to land first. I am not worried about his power. I’m not even thinking about his power. If he hits me, I am going to hit him too.

“My aim is to come in, win the title and take it back to Nigeria. In Nigeria they think I am invincible. They think no one can beat me. I think so, too. I want to use this as an opportunity to teach younger fighters about boxing. There is a lot of talent there. I want to make boxing bigger than what it is now. It used to be very big. Boxing used to be the national sport for Nigeria and then football took over. Boxing is still big but I want to make it bigger.’’

LUCAS MATTHYSSE

“Thank you SHOWTIME and thank you Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity. What can I say? I am ready to fight. I am ready to win and take the belt back to Argentina. That is all.’’

ERIC GOMEZ (Vice President/Matchmaker, Golden Boy Promotions)

“When we approached Team Matthysse about fighting Ajose, the first thing they said was that he is pretty tough. There are no other guys out there, no other possibilities and we said this is going to be a good fight. Matthysse has had some experience with that kind of fighters. He thinks that Ajose is tougher than Devon Alexander and Zab Judah and I agree with him. He really is a better fighter and he’s hungrier because he has been waiting a long time for this title shot. So I want to say thank you for being patient, making this happen and I wish both of them luck.’’

MARIO ARANO (Arano Box Promotion, Co-Promoter of Matthysse)

“Matthysse’s time has come. He has had a tough road but he is ready. He has fought former World Champions and they all are tough. Obviously we feel the Judah and Alexander fights were hometown decisions and we consider Lucas Matthysse a world champion and undefeated. Hopefully this Saturday Lucas is going to be victorious. We respect Ajose very much but unfortunately he has to dance with the toughest opponent he has ever faced.’’

RON RIZZO (Vice President, DiBella Entertainment)

“I don’t think there has been enough credit given to Golden Boy and SHOWTIME for saving this show and elevating this fight to the main event. This fight does stand by itself as a main event. With boxing there are always complications, but there is a lot of credit to give to these guys for making the show go on. Ajose has been looking forward to this for a long, long time. He has had to wait for this opportunity for a long time. He has been the No. 1 guy and had been passed over and over. He has been patient, but now he is ready to seize his opportunity. I want to thank Matthysse for taking this fight because no one else wanted to fight Ajose.’’

J’LEON LOVE

“I believe in myself and my ability and I have a team that I am surrounded by that believes in my ability as well. I am the future of the sport. J’Leon Love will be a future champion. This is a blessing and I want to thank God for this opportunity. This doesn’t happen every day. One minute we were fighting an eight-round fight on SHOWTIME EXTREME and now we are fighting as co-main event in a 10-round fight.

“We have been training so hard, day in and day out. All I know is how to work hard. We met in the amateurs years ago, I think I was maybe 14 or 15, but professionals and amateurs are so much different. We are going to go out there and definitely handle business. That’s all I know is to fight. We are going to give a good one. I am going to show you that I’ve been waiting for this all my life. We wait years and years for this and now I have my moment and I’m not going to let it pass. I am going to solidify myself and show the world who I am.’’

RAMON VALENZUELA

“I just want to say this will be a really good fight. I am going to be victorious. I am pleased that I’m going to fight on SHOWTIME as the co-main event.’’

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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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