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TSS PROSPECT WATCH: Robert Tlatlik

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DUSSELDORF – Junior welterweight hopeful Robert Tlatlik returns to the conking campaign this Friday night, against Sylvester Walczak, a limited neighbor from Poland who will probably do well to make it through the scheduled 8 round distance.

Though still virtually unproven, twenty-four year old Tlatlik, 11-0 (8), looks like he could soon be one of the division’s top emerging prospects though he’s realistically still over a year away from attempting to make any serious step into fringe contention.

Meanwhile, Tlatlik hones his arsenal in the Freudenreich Pro Boxing center, a funky, no-frills little gym tucked away, a few yards of pavement and a few light years of motivation off a busy urban landscape. There, many an unsung whapathon serves as proof that the sport will never collapse, let alone die, with humans on this planet.

The great Emanuel Steward was in Freudenreich with some US hopefuls during one of his final Rhineland journeys, and included it in a positive assessment of German gyms.While Freudenreich is a popular facility for many skill levels and boxing interests, the building comes into it’s own during club fight nights like this Friday, which occur every few muggable moons.

These enchanted everlast evenings, the gym is always crammed to near overflow proportions, which in this case means around 200 inspired patrons packed under a low ceiling, pounding the strong local Alt bier and howling for their local heroes amidst makeshift seats of punching bag stands and rusty but still well-used universal gym type equipment.

Dozens more are turned away from squeezing in the door, and many stand outside by the beer table or smoking zone just to stay close and hope for a vacancy. Despite the heated emotions and humid atmosphere, a family friendly scene is maintained with dozens of youngsters and many a grandparent. All class, no jackasses.

Tlatlik, an ex-pat from Chorzow, Poland now living in nearby Essen, is anxious to get back into action after taking a good step last October with a TKO 2 of Sabri Ulas Gopeman, then 10-4. It was Tlatlik’s first scheduled 10 rounder. So far, Tlatlik’s most noticeable performance came on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko – Jean Marc Mormeck when he immediately steamrolled too ripe Kevin Still, 3-1, for a first round KO in front of around 30,000 customers.

It seemed still green Walczak, 4-4-1, was on a globe trotting career path as fodder for other young fighters with better records and better backing in places like the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland and Canada. Then, on March 15th the Ides were on his sides, as he beat 10-0-1 George Michael Carman at storied York Hall in London.

Now Walczak adds Germany to his travel log, looking to cash in one way or another while local favorite Tlatlik aims to continue his march to contention. Such are the ingredients of some great gym wars.

Prime conditioning is a trademark at Freudenreich, and Tlatik has yet to appear winded from any recent encounters. A solid punch rate and mix of combination shots indicates he will likely win some 10 round fights against decent competition soon.

“It looks like Tlatlik can go far. He is learning very well,” said knowledgeable insider Uwe Betker. “Time will tell, and that (probably still) won’t be for a little longer.”

It may be a while before deeper questions about Tlatlik’s power versus better opposition, and his continued ability to improve are answered.

For now, headlining Friday night at the club fights in Dusseldorf is a pretty good place to be.

 

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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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