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Mares, Ponce De Leon & Santa Cruz Media Day at Azteca Gym



TSS LOGOBELL, Ca.-Azteca Gym hosted the Southern California triumvirate of Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares and Ponce De Leon in a media bash to promote their upcoming Cinco de Mayo weekend fight.

Famous for housing a number of historic boxers ranging from Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. to Miguel Vazquez in the past 30 years, Azteca Gym was the site chosen by Golden Boy Promotions to allow various media representatives the chance to speak, see and photograph the world champions from different weight classes on Thursday afternoon.

One particular fight stands out as an oddity because two fighters are managed by the same person, Frank Espinoza. Those fighters, Mares and Ponce De Leon, will meet on May 4, at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Showtime will televise.

Frank Espinoza Jr., the head of Espinoza Promotions, works closely with both Southern California-based prizefighters and communicates with both of them on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet situation,” said Espinoza. “Somebody’s got to go home a loser.”

Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 Kos) defends the WBC featherweight title against the undefeated Mares (25-0-1, 13 Kos). Both are managed by Espinoza and have sparred, befriended and known each other for many years.

“On a personal basis both guys are very family-oriented,” said Espinoza. “I like them both. They’re very humble.”

Mares, 27, is a former bantamweight and junior featherweight world champion. He’s also a former Mexican Olympian. So is Ponce De Leon who is now 32 and is a southpaw.

What do you do after someone wins or loses and he’s your fighter?

“This is a sport, there’s got to be a winner and there’s got to be a loser,” Espinoza said. “”It’s going to be an interesting match.”

There is no rematch clause.

Santa Cruz

Jose Armando Santa Cruz stood a few feet away from his brother Leo Santa Cruz who had a line of camera crews ready to pounce on him with questions. Someone asked the elder brother why the youngest brother Leo emerged as the best of all the brothers.

“It’s because he is the youngest and everybody picked on him when he was little,” said Jose Armando Santa Cruz with a chuckle.

Nobody laughs when Leo Santa Cruz enters a boxing ring. He’s already a bantamweight world champion at age 24, and now looks to move up in weight to fight dangerous Alexander Munoz of Venezuela.

Santa Cruz respects Munoz for his vast experience.

“He’s strong too,” Santa Cruz said. “We’re going to be moving, not waiting for his punch.”

Other fight chatter

Southern California’s Mia St. John (47-12-2, 18 Kos) travels to Denmark to challenge Finland’s Cecilia Braekhus (21-0, 5 Kos) who holds the WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight world titles. The match takes place Saturday April 13, in Frederikshavn, Denmark.

Female and male collegiate boxers nationwide participate in the first National Championships for boxing beginning today at the University of San Francisco. It’s a three-day event and includes more than 20 colleges. Doors open at 5 p.m. For more information visit

Tustin’s Paul Velarde (3-3-3) fought Carlos Morales in the main event on Thursday at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa. Also, Santa Ana’s Alberto Ibarra met Riverside’s Rashad Hughes. The Roy Engelbrecht Promotions fight card also includes MMA and began at 7:30 p.m.

Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 Kos) and Ryan Coyne (21-0, 9 Kos) square off in a battle between undefeated light heavyweights on Friday April 12, in Las Vegas. Don King Productions is staging the event at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino. The winner gets a title shot. Showtime will televise.

The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale takes place at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The main event features Urijah Faber (27-6) Scott Jorgensen (14-6) meeting in a bantamweight bout. In a female bantamweight match, Meisha Tate (13-3) fights Cat Zingano (7-0).

Ronica Jeffrey (11-0) and Natasha Spence (6-1-1) battle for the number one spot on the WIBA junior lightweight division. The eight-round event takes place Friday April 12, at Dover Downs Casino and Hotel in Delaware.

IBF female junior bantamweight titlist Debora Dionicius (11-0) against Gabriela Bouvier (9-3-1) in a championship fight set for 10 rounds. The match takes place in Parana, Argentina. Dionicius is from Argentina and Bouvier is from Uruguay.

Former world champion Juan Diaz (35-4, 17 Kos) returns to the ring after a brief retirement and faces Pipino Cuevas Jr. (16-9, 14 Kos) in junior welterweight match. The fight card takes place on Saturday April 13, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

WBA featherweight titlist Chris John (48-0-2, 22 Kos) makes a title defense against Japan’s Satoshi Hosono (23-2, 17 Kos) on Sunday April 14. The match takes place in Jakarta, Indonesia. Also, Daud Yordan (30-2, 23 Kos) fights Simpiwe Vetyeka (24-2, 14 Kos) in another featherweight fight.

WBA bantamweight titlist Koki Kameda (30-1, 17 Kos) hung on to the world title by split decision against Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (36-2, 19 Kos) after 12 rounds on Sunday. The match was held in Osaka, Japan.

WBA female bantamweight titlist Irma Garcia (7-0-1) retained the title against Janeth Perez (17-2-2) by split decision after 10 rounds in Mexico City. It was their second match in three months. Garcia has won both fights by decision.

Rustam Nugaev (23-6-1, 13 Kos) knocked out Jonathan Maicello (19-1, 11 Kos) at 2:03 of round eight in a lightweight clash. The fight took place at Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif.. Nugaev now holds the USBA lightweight title. Whittier’s Alex Luna (13-0, 9 Kos) won by decision against Mario Hermosillo (11-10-3) in a junior welterweight fight.

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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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