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ARTHUR ABRAHAM: “I Still Have A Lot Left in My Tank”

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BERLIN — March 23 shall represent another glorious day for Arthur Abraham (36-3, 28 KOs). Then he will meet Robert Stieglitz (43-3, 24 KOs) for their hotly anticipated rematch inside the GETEC-Arena in Magdeburg, Germany. The 33-year-old Abraham captured the WBO super mddleweight world championship last August when he beat Stieglitz on points in his hometown of Berlin. This time the champion is making his way to his opponent’s backyard. In the following interview, he reveals what kind of performance can be expected from him.

Abraham-Stieglitz II will be televised live ringside to the U.S. from GTEC Arena in Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany on Saturday, March 23, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT, exclusively on EPIX, the premium entertainment service. EPIX will stream the fights live on EpixHD.com and on the EPIX app on Xbox consoles and Roku players as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans.

Mr. Abraham, the last time people saw you putting on the gloves you beat Frenchman Mehdi Bouadla by technical knockout on December 15. Were you satisfied with your first title defense at super-middleweight?

Arthur Abraham: I guess that I showed quite a good performance against Bouadla. There might have been some details I could have done better but in the end, I dominated my opponent that night and took care of him early. In preparation to that fight Mister Wegner told me his expectations and I must have fulfilled most of them. Anyway, he didn’t complain to me afterwards.

March 23 will mark the second time you are going to face Robert Stieglitz. Is there anything left you can surprise him with – or could he surprise you?

Arthur Abraham: Stieglitz hasn’t seen the best that Arthur Abraham has to offer in our first fight whereas he might have already shown everything he’s got. I have some words for him: Beware, because our rematch is going to be much tougher than the first fight! I’m training as hard as ever for this clash. After all, the crowd deserves to be entertained. My training regime is pure torment – and I love it.

Is it easy for you to adjust to Stieglitz’s style because you already fought him before?

Arthur Abraham: Definitely, I already beat him and I got all the knowledge and tools to do it again. He can’t really alter the way he fights but I should not underestimate him. Stieglitz wasn’t a world champion for nothing, defending his title a few times before I took it off him. He still has the ambition to beat me. Therefore, I have to sit down again with my coach and develop a game plan to defend my belt.

Do you feel better prepared in comparison to the first fight against Stieglitz?

Arthur Abraham: I feel prepared just as well. My coach and the rest of the team make me feel like that I can beat him for a second time. I still have a lot left inside my tank and want to defend my title a few times. My shape and motivation are the fundament for me still being the WBO Champion after March 23.

You will step inside the arena as the defending champion. The first fight versus Stieglitz saw you as the challenger. Do you have a different mindset with the belt around your waist?

Arthur Abraham: My attitude is still the same. I want to be the one standing tall. If I would think differently, I could capitulate before the fight has even happened. To defend a world championship is quite different than to challenge for a title. I have experienced both situations. Therefore, I know that Stieglitz will be fired up to get his hands on the WBO Belt again. But I won’t let him. My will and winning mentality will outlast his.

Can you please tell us about the punching power of Robert Stieglitz? Are you worried about it?

Arthur Abraham: I have respect for every opponent I face inside the ring. All I can say is that I have fought opponents with much more pop. I can assure you first-hand that he isn’t feather-fisted but Stieglitz doesn’t have the power to threaten me.

The first fight was staged in your hometown of Berlin. For the rematch, you have to go to his backyard – will this be a special challenge to you?

Arthur Abraham: Indeed, this fight is going to happen in his hometown of Magdeburg but this won’t work to his advantage as he might think. Years ago, my coach Ulli Wegner guided Sven Ottke to his biggest successes at this very arena. I feel confident that more than half of the crowd will side with me come March 23. Moreover, Berlin isn’t that far away either. For one night only, the city of Magdeburg will be my backyard. The people who might boo me at the beginning will be the ones who will cheer me the loudest after the fight.

The first time you fought Stieglitz, you followed the game plan of winning the fight on points. Are you planning for a stoppage win this time around?

Arthur Abraham: First and foremost, I plan to win – it doesn’t matter if I beat him on points or get it done early. To win by knockout is always like the cherry on the cake but you can’t plan such things beforehand. I still haven’t reached the top of my game as a boxer and I know that I can do even better. I know that I will be more aggressive in the rematch. It will be a much more intense encounter and the crowd will see if my opponent can put up some resistance – or not.

About EPIX

EPIX® is the newest premium entertainment network delivering the latest movie releases, classic library titles, plus original films, comedy, music and sports events on TV, on demand, online and on devices. Launched October 2009 as the first multiplatform premium network with online accessibility for subscribers through EpixHD.com, EPIX pioneered the development and proliferation of TV Everywhere for American consumers. EPIX was the first premium network to launch on Xbox 360®consoles, first on Android™ tablets and phones, first on Roku® players and soon to be the first to launch on PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system. EPIX is available to authenticated subscribers on hundreds of devices including Apple® iPads®, iPhones®, Kindle Fire tablets, Samsung® Smart TVs and Blu-ray™ players and more. Today EPIX remains the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up from new Hollywood hits to original programs on all platforms and provides more movies than any other premium network.

EPIX is a joint venture between Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), available to over 30 million homes nationwide through distribution partners including Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DISH Network, Mediacom Communications, NCTC, Suddenlink Communications and Verizon FiOS.

For more information about EPIX, go to www.EpixHD.com. Follow EPIX Sports on Twitter @EPIXsports and on Facebook www.facebook.com/EPIXsports.

 

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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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