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Kaleisha West and Ava Knight Blast Marlen Esparza

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Knight (left) had earned a win and draw against West (right). Both ladies took aim at Esparza for her Tweets. (Katherine Rodriguez photo)

Women’s bantamweight champion Kaleisha West has had enough of Marlen Esparaza’s twitter antics. The 25-year-old from Moreno Valley, California released the following statement via her official social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

“This chick will get her ass whooped by me or Ava [Knight]. Amateur boxers don’t realize how different the game is when the headgear is off, rounds are increased and gloves go down to four ounces. This girl is a clown act, a disgrace to women’s boxing and has never truly been tested. She was handed a bronze medal. You would’ve thought she’d be humble. I have absolutely lost respect for her.”

What’s gotten West so riled up? It all started a few months ago with something Esparza tweeted about women’s professional boxing.

““I don’t really plan on going pro right now,” Esparza tweeted. “I haven’t seen a pro girl that I can respect yet.”

West and fellow women’s champion Ava Knight took immediate offense to the matter, and made sure Esparza knew about it, too. Esparza seemed to back off her comment afterwards, saying she didn’t really mean it the way it all came out. All seemed fine.

Fast forward to the end of last week, when after a long hiatus, the feud came roaring back. Esparza lashed out at Knight for refusing to spar with her while the 23-year-old Houstonian visited California.

“A few months ago, Ava Knight was feeling that internet courage and wouldn’t stop talking. Now she doesn’t want to spar. Scared? I think so! I didn’t say much [then] because I don’t talk over twitter, but I have to now. She’s saying she’s too good to spar me! Ava Knight, if you’re so good, show me!”

She continued. “Now you can’t get in the ring and spar because you’re a pro? Your record is not all that. You went pro because you couldn’t win at Nationals. I’m telling you to spar me! We can record it and show everyone. You don’t want to talk anymore? What happened, Ava?”

“I didn’t want to talk over twitter like you did,” Knight responded.

You can run all you want,” Esparza retorted. “I let you talk. You think your pro status makes you legit. I’ll play with you. Spar me!”

“I don’t need your sparring,” said Knight. “If you want to talk, take off the headgear and talk with the gloves. P.S. stay amateur.”

“After I get gold [in 2016],” said Esparza. “I’m going to have one pro fight to whoop you, if you’re not a baby mama by that time!”

TSS caught up with Knight afterwards to get her side of the story, since she seemed less interested in twitter beefing than her amateur nemesis.

“Someone called my coach before my fight [to see] if I wanted to spar and I simply said no thanks,” Knight said. “He told whoever [he talked to] no. Nothing was thought of it. I was getting ready for a fight, and didn’t need her sparring.”

Meanwhile, West simply isn’t having it. She told TSS last week she didn’t think any women’s boxer who has been put in the limelight of popular culture thus far, especially Marlen Esparza, was the right person for the job. She’s disappointed Esparza hasn’t used the platform provided to her by her multiple endorsements to speak out on the current state of women’s boxing.

“The state of women’s boxing is horrible,” she said. “It’s crap right now.”

“Ava doesn’t need sparring with an amateur…Marlen needed her, and if she hadn’t have bit the hand that fed her, Knight would have still worked with her. But who in their right mind would want to help an ungrateful, stupid little girl? This girl doesn’t even know what it means to struggle in a sport. Her testimony is whack, and she’s immature.  She needs to get the pampers off and grow up.

“I speak truth when champions are disrespected. I speak up when undeserving people are naïve, arrogant, and dumb. I stand behind my word when people are wronged, and I give respect where it’s earned. This girl needs a professional mentor. This is my response to her disrespecting tweets toward women’s pro boxing, her baby mama comment, and her arrogance about how much money she makes. It’s different for us women. It’s different for us women in boxing, and for the current face of women’s boxing to act inappropriate as an ambassador? Disgrace, embarrassing.”

 

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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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