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Here's The $500,000 Great American Heavyweight Boxoff

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(L-R) Front – Don Elbaum and Greg Sorrentino; Rear – Devan Vargas, Jason Estrada, Alonzo Butler, Emmanuel Nwodo, Daniel Martz and Joey Abell.

Don Elbaum & Greg Sorrentino Announce

The $500,000 Great American Heavyweight Box-Off

NEW YORK CITY (January 15, 2013) – Veteran promoter/matchmaker Don Elbaum and financial backer Greg Sorrentino today during a press conference held at historic Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, officially announced the creation of The $500,000 Great America Heavyweight Box-Off (TGAHBO). The tournament, planned as an annual event, is scheduled to launch in April at a site to soon be determined.

Introduced as participants were 2004 U.S. Olympians Jason “Big Six” Estrada (20-4, 6 KOs), of Providence (RI), and Devin Vargas (18-2, 7 KOs), of Toledo (OH), Tennessee (Chattanooga) knockout-artist Alonzo “Big Zo” Butler (28-2-1, 21 KOs), Minnesota (Coon Rapids) heavy-hitter Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell (28-6, 27 KOs), former USBA cruiserweight champion Emmanuel Nwodo (24-5, 20 KOs), fighting out of Baltimore (Maryland), and a 22-year-old sleeper from West Virginia (Clarksburg), “The Mountain” Daniel Martz (7-0, 6 KOs). Talks are ongoing to finalize the remaining two challengers, plus one reserve, in case of injuries.

The purse structure will be $25,000 to the winners and $15,000 to the losers in the quarterfinals, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, in the semifinals, leading up to the championship final in which the champion will earn $250,000 with $50,000 going to the runner-up.

“The history of boxing is the heavyweight division and America is a big part of it,” Elbaum said. “We weren't looking for ex-champions or highly-rated fighters. Not one of the fighters here is. I'll be the matchmaker; I'm picking the fights, no requests. I had this idea seven or eight months ago. Four months ago, I had discussions with some people and one person, Greg Sorrentino, said he'd back me because he believes we need this in the sport. He's a former professional heavyweight and now a very successful businessman.”

“I've been involved in various aspects of boxing, never on the promotional end before, but I'm excited,” Sorrentino explained. “This is the greatest country in the world and we're going to help get an American heavyweight champion to rule the roost again.”

Elbaum said he has had discussions with several possible venues, including some casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Turning Stone and Madison Square Garden, and that he's close to making a television deal. He also noted that 12 other heavyweights are in the running for the remaining two spots in the field, plus one reserve fighter, and $25,000 of the TGAHBO champion's purse will be donated to the winner's charity of choice.

Also attending the press conference was Las Vegas legend Bill Krachenberger, who will set tournament odds on the individual fighters, as well as for all TGAHBO fights, to be offered at several Nevada sports books.

The fighter demonstrating the most “heart” in tournament fights, excluding the TGAHBO champion, will be awarded the Gennaro Pellegrini Jr. Award. Pellegrini, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, had a dream to fight at the famed Blue Horizon before being shipped out to Iraq for duty. Elbaum made that happen in 2004 but seven months later Pellegrini was killed in action.

Fighter Press Conference Quotes

Joey Abell: “I want to thank everyone for getting me involved in this tournament with world-class athletes. I plan to win the tournament by putting everything into it.”

Alonzo Butler: “I've been given a great opportunity to be in this heavyweight tournament. I'm ready to get it on and then bring the world heavyweight championship back to the United States.”

Emmanuel Nwodo: “I'm so glad I'm in the tournament and can't wait. This is something new in the heavyweight division. It's awesome! We'll all show our best. This is an opportunity to prove ourselves and I'm proud to be part of it.”

Jason Estrada: “I appreciate being in this tournament. Good luck to everybody else….but not as much as me. I'm working hard in training and I expect the winner to be me.”

Devin Vargas: “I'm very excited about this tournament. These fighters will be out to prove themselves, unlike the top heavyweights who won't fight us and are protected by their promoters. One of us will be the next heavyweight champion.”

Daniel Martz: “I don't have as much experience as these other guys. They have a lot more fights than me, but this is a great opportunity to prove that I belong here.”

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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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