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Counting Down To Martinez-Murray on April 27

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sergio martinez, martin murray New York, NY / Buenos Aires, Argentina (3/22/13) – On April 27th, Middleweight kingpin Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez will make his much anticipated ‘Homecoming’ in his native country of Argentina, when he looks to defend his WBC middleweight title against England’s undefeated interim WBA middleweight champion Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11KO’s).

In the live televised co-feature, Martinez’ fellow countryman, longtime welterweight contender Luis Carlos Abregu (34-1, 28KO’s) takes on fellow top-rated contender Antonin Decarie (27-1, 8KO’s) for the vacant WBC Silver welterweight world title.

Both bouts will take place at the country’s famed 50,000-seat Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina, with HBO World Championship Boxing providing live coverage starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Only one week after tickets went on sale, just a few hundred were left available for purchase at the entire 50,000-seat venue. With the bout being the first for Martinez in his native country since 2002, and first ever as world champion, the expectations for the turnout on fight night were high, but even the organizers of the event in Argentina were blown away by the fan response.

“I am very pleased with the way the event has been received by my fellow countrymen and I promise to give them a performance that will be talked about for years to come,” stated the Champion Martinez. “This is a dream come true for me and I hope it inspires the youth in Argentina and the world that with hard work and a clean lifestyle anything is possible.”

Martinez added, “I would also, from the bottom of my heart, like to thank HBO Sports president Ken Hershman, who I asked personally when I was out to lunch with him, Sampson (Lewkowicz), Lou (DiBella), and Nathan (Lewkowicz), in New York City, if HBO could facilitate a fight for me in Argentina after the Chavez fight. Ken Hershman promised they would work on it and now it has come to fruition.”

“This is a massive opportunity for me and it’s going to be a hard fight, but it doesn’t daunt me at all,” said the undefeated champion Murray. “I’m told there’s going to be about 50,000 people in the stadium so it’s going to be very hostile. I’m always in the zone when I enter the ring though, so it makes no difference what people are doing around me. I’ll just be focused on going in there and doing my job.

“Sergio Martinez is easily the best middleweight in the world so obviously I’ll need to raise my game to beat him, but myself, and my team, know that’s something we’re very capable of doing. Winning this will make me the number one middleweight in the world and set up some more huge opportunities. Being on HBO is an absolute honor. It is the biggest stage in the world. There’s stardom to be had, but I don’t box for that. I’m doing this to prove I’m the best middleweight in the world and for the future of my wife and kids.”

“We are thrilled to be involved with this gigantic and historic event,” said Martinez’ longtime promoter Lou DiBella. “Argentina’s favorite son, long-reigning middleweight champion Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez, returns to his native land to defend his crown against the undefeated English challenger Martin Murray. In the co-feature, you have fellow Argentinean Luis Carlos Abregu facing Canada’s Antonin Decarie, in a highly anticipated welterweight matchup, with the World WBC Silver Championship at stake. This will be the first time that this great stadium will play host to a world championship boxing event, adding to what promises to be a truly memorable night for the sport of boxing and for the great country of Argentina.”

“HBO Boxing is delighted to be able to present live Sergio Martinez’ middleweight title defense from his homeland,” said Kery Davis, Senior Vice President, Programming, HBO Sports. “This doubleheader from Buenos Aires will have a true international flavor and spirit. We know all four fighters will be bringing their A-game on fight night. Boxing fans are in for a real treat. The telecast from a high-energy, open-air stadium will be exciting.”

“This is a massive step up for Martin but I think he could be getting Martinez at the right time. He (Martinez) was rocked all over the place in his last fight against Chavez Jr. and he’s 38-years-old,” said former world champion and promoter of Murray, Ricky Hatton.

“Martin has really come into his own the past couple of years and, to be honest, I think if he can pull this off it will go down as one of the best wins by a British fighter in history. When I beat Kostya Tsyzu he was ranked number two pound-for-pound in the world and I think most people have Martinez at number three. The difference is though that Martin’s going away from home for this fight, so if he wins, I think it’ll be bigger than my fight with Tsyzu.”

“This event will be a celebration, not just for the country of Argentina, but for the viewers of the best network in boxing, HBO,” proclaimed Sampson Lewkowicz, the longtime advisor of Martinez.

“The hard work for this event has paid off and we are now focusing on providing the fans of Argentina and the viewers of HBO a fantastic show that will rival any other production that they have seen in the past,” stated Martinez’ business manager Miguel Ángel de Pablos.

Never in the history of the sport has the President of a country made the official announcement of a fight as is the case with Martinez’ upcoming bout. In addition to announcing the world championship bout, Argentina’s President, Cristina Kirchner, also revealed that the fight will be shown live on public TV Channel 7 in Argentina, allowing 40 million Argentineans to see their champion defend his title on free television.

The bout against Murray will be Martinez’ first since regaining his WBC belt from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the son of the legend. On September 15, 2012, in a masterful performance in his first HBO PPV headliner, Martinez, globally recognized as one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world, dismantled the powerful, undefeated Mexican winning a dominant 12-round unanimous decision before a record-setting, sell-out crowd at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Since defeating Kelly Pavlik for the championship in 2010, Martinez has made five title defenses, including four by devastating knockout, against top opponents with a combined record of 173-4-1.

The 30-year-old Murray, a former Commonwealth and British champion, is unbeaten in 26 professional bouts since turning pro in 2007. Unlike Martinez, who had a very limited amateur pedigree, Murray began boxing at just 11 years old and had a stellar amateur career that included winning the ABA (British senior) title in 2004.

In just his second year as a professional and with only 10 fights under his belt, Murray competed in the U.K.’s ever-popular ‘Prizefighter Middleweight Tournament’, knocking off two fellow undefeated prospects and ultimately winning the tournament in the process.

In 2009, he signed with Hatton Promotions, joining forces with one of Britain’s most popular boxers in its long-storied history, Ricky Hatton.

The bout will not be the first time that Murray has traveled into enemy territory. In 2011, he challenged longtime WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm in Sturm’s home country of Germany. In a give-and-take fight, Murray was dealt a 12-round split draw against Sturm, one that many boxing insiders questioned loudly.

Not to be deterred, Murray won both of his contests in 2012, including his most recent outing when he picked up the interim WBA middleweight title scoring a devastating sixth-round TKO over previously undefeated Jorge Navarro (12-0, 10KO’s) on November 24, 2012.

The Martinez-Murray world championship telecast, which begins at 8:30 p.m ET/PT, will be produced and distributed live by HBO. Follow HBO Boxing news at www.hbo.com and at www.facebook.com/hboboxing. Use the hashtag #MartinezMurray to join the conversation on Twitter. For constant updates on the fight, including videos, pictures and articles, visit www.dbe1.com, www.hbo.com.

A limited number of tickets are still available for purchase through www.tuentrada.com

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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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