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Ray Beltran Beats Ji-Hoon Kim; Jessie Magdaleno Wins Too in Vegas



Beltran sends Kim to the mat in a wild round one. (Chris Farina-Top Rank)

LAS VEGAS-Raymundo Beltran survived an exchange of knockdowns in the first round to out-last the very tough Ji Hoon Kim and retain the NABF lightweight title and hometown hero Jessie Magdaleno remained undefeated on Thursday night at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

Two days before the big fight, Beltran and Kim wowed the crowd of fans and celebrities with their extreme resilience. The Top Rank fight card was televised by ESPN and a couple of thousand fans showed up any way.

Kim opened up the fight by catching Beltran with a perfect left hook to the chin in the opening round. Beltran got up slowly and crossed himself before resuming the fight. Later in the same round Beltran connected with his own left hook from a distance and down went Kim. The bell sounded a few seconds after Kim beat the count.

From the second round on it was Beltran working Kim’s body but the Korean was firing back with bombs. Though Beltran was the more accurate puncher Kim had his moments in every round. After 10 brutal rounds the fight ended with Beltran a little busier and more accurate. All three judges scored it for Southern California’s Beltran. Judge Lisa Giampa saw it 97-94, judges Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth both had 98-92.


Fans came to see knockout artist Jessie Magdaleno (13-0, 9 kos) roll up another knockout but he found it a little tougher than usual against Ontario’s speedy Jonathan Arellano. Still, he knocked down the Californian twice in winning by unanimous decision in an eight round junior featherweight fight.

Magdaleno didn’t waste time in trying out Arellano’s chin in the first round. He unloaded with both barrels but saw Arellano slip most of the blows. After that, he methodically went to work.
In round two a counter right hand dropped Arellano, who began to move in closer. In the third round Magdaleno slipped into attack mode and looked ready to end the night, but Arellano countered with some booming left hook counters.

“It surprised me,” said Magdaleno. “He took advantage. It was a learning experience.”

Magdaleno slipped into attack mode and then back into defensive mode while confusing Arellano a bit because of his southpaw stance. Arellano couldn’t seem to get into the firing lanes without getting hit with the right hook.

Arellano weakened little by little but kept looking for the perfect counter. Magdaleno fired two lead left hands that hurt the Californian, who was ultimately dropped by a five-punch combination. Arellano beat the count and resumed fighting.

“I could have knocked him out but I wanted to show I’m a good boxer as well,” said Magdaleno after.

In the final round though Magdaleno was firing at will, Arellano continued firing back looking to end the fight in his favor. But the bell rang and all three judges gave Magdaleno all eight rounds. The scores were 80-70 twice and 80-69 for Magdaleno.

Other bouts

Hometown fighter Robert Osiobe (14-5-4, 6 Kos) upset previously undefeated Jose Roman (14-1-1, 11 Kos) by split decision after eight rounds of a lightweight fight. Though Roman landed the harder and more accurate shots – including a knockdown in the eighth round – judges Dave Moretti and Dick Houck scored it 76-75 for Osiobe. Judge Bob Bennett scored it 77-74 for Roman. Many in press row saw Roman winning the fight.

In a one-sided fight Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (15-0, 8 Kos) battered New Mexico’s Willie Villanueva (10-5-1, 2 Kos) and eventually forced referee Robert Byrd to halt the fight at 2:03 of round seven. Gradovich, who fights out of Oxnard, was too quick and too accurate for Villanueva who rarely scored more than two or three punches a round. A flurry of blows by Gradovich forced the referee to stop the fight.

Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo (1-0) won his pro debut but it wasn’t easy against L.A. boxer Leonard Chavez (1-1) in a junior lightweight contest. Verdejo was the busier fighter and his activity was the difference after four rounds.

Local fight Jesus Gutierrez (7-0) defeated Oklahoma’s Mike Maldonado (6-1) by unanimous decision after six rounds of a lightweight bout. Gutierrez landed the harder blows and that proved the difference in the fight. Judge Lisa Giampa scored it 58-56 and Moretti and Ross had it 59-55.

Rhode Island’s Toka Kahn-Clary defeated Dallas’s Jesus Garza by unanimous decision after four rounds of a junior lightweight bout. The left-handed Clary got off to a fast start but Garza stayed apace. Two judges scored it 40-36 and one 39-37 for Clary.



2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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