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Berto Fights Soto Karass on July 27

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“KNOCKOUT KINGS II” FEATURING FORMER TWO-TIME WORLD CHAMPION ANDRE BERTO FACING PERENIAL CONTENDER JESUS SOTO KARASS AND UNDEFEATED RISING STARS KEITH THURMAN AND DIEGO CHAVES SQUARING OFF FOR WBA INTERIM WELTERWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LANDS AT THE AT&T CENTER IN SAN ANTONIO ON JULY 27

PLUS, UNBEATEN TEXAS SENSATION OMAR FIGUEROA JR. FACES JAPAN’S NIHITO ARAKAWA FOR WBC INTERIM LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

SHOWTIME® TO TELEVISE TRIPLEHEADER LIVE

Tickets Go On Sale Friday, May 17 At 10:00 A.M. CT!

SAN ANTONIO, May 15, 2013 – San Antonio, Texas will once again be the site of a major boxing event when SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® returns to the Lone Star State on Saturday, July 27 with “KNOCKOUT KINGS II, a spectacular night of world-class fights at the AT&T Center featuring a tripleheader starring some of the sport’s brightest stars live on SHOWTIME.

In the 12-round main event, former Two-Time Welterweight World Champion Andre Berto is back in the ring to take on tough Mexican contender Jesus Soto Karass. Plus, unbeaten knockout artist Keith Thurman and fellow power-puncher Diego Gabriel Chaves battle for Chaves’ WBA Interim Welterweight World Championship and Weslaco, Texas’ undefeated rising star Omar Figueroa Jr. squares off against Tokyo’s Nihito Arakawa for the vacant WBC Interim Lightweight World Championship.

Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50, $25 and $10, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, go on sale Friday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m. CT and will be available for purchase at theAT&T Center box office, online atwww.ticketmaster.com and www.ATTCenter.com, all Ticketmaster locations by calling(800) 745-3000 or through Leija & Battah Promotions by calling (210) 979-3302 or emailing m@leijabattahpromo.com.

The event marks the return of co-promoters Golden Boy Promotions and Leija & Battah Promotions to San Antonio where they recently promoted the April 20 blockbuster fight between Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout which had almost 40,000 fans in attendance.

“Texas is our new home away from home and it’s great to be returning so soon after the Alvarez-Trout mega event in April,” said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “That event proved that boxing is alive and well and on July 27, we’re going to have another stacked card that will pack the AT&T Center.”

“Leija-Battah Promotions is thrilled to be co-hosting another SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event in San Antonio in collaboration with Golden Boy Promotions,” said Mike Battah, President of Leija & Battah Promotions. “The people of San Antonio and Texas demonstrated their affinity for boxing on April 20 at the Canelo vs. Trout sell-out event and we look forward to hosting multiple mega-fights yearly.”

“We have always dedicated ourselves to providing the people of San Antonio and all of South Texas with a broad variety of first-class sports and entertainment events at the AT&T Center,” said Rick Pych, Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations. “San Antonio is a city that truly appreciates and supports boxing in a big way and this is a terrific opportunity for fight fans to witness three world-class bouts in an arena setting.”

A member of the 2004 Haitian Olympic team, Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KO’s) turned pro later that year and has never looked back. A throwback fighter willing to go into the trenches to put on exciting bouts for his fans, the 29-year-old from Winter Haven, Florida first struck professional gold in 2008 when he stopped Miguel Rodriguez in the seventh round to win the WBC Welterweight World Championship. Berto successfully defended the crown five times before losing it to Victor Ortiz in The Ring Magazine’s 2011 Fight of the Year. He bounced back five months later to defeat Jan Zaveck for the IBF Welterweight World Championship. In his most recent bout, Berto engaged in a fight of the year candidate against Roberto Guerrero, losing a hard fought 12-round decision last November.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve fought in Texas and I’m happy to be back fighting in front of the great fans here,” said Berto. “I’m hungrier than ever to get my title back and the first step is taking out Soto Karass on July 27.”

One of the fight game’s most rugged competitors, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico’s Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KO’s) always gives a supreme effort in the ring and, win or lose, his opponents never emerge from their fights with him unscathed. Fresh off of a January win over Selcuk Aydin, the 30-year-old Soto Karass hopes to add Berto’s name to a list of vanquished foes that includes Euri Gonzalez, Said El Harrak, Vince Phillips, David Estrada and Chris Smith.

“I respect what Andre Berto has done in his career and he’s a tough fighter, but a win over him would be the biggest of my career,” said Soto Karass. “If I want to get a world title shot, I have to go through him to get it.”

A crushing puncher with a 90% knockout rate, Clearwater, Florida’s Keith “One Time” Thurman (20-0, 18 KO’s) has raised his worldwide profile considerably since returning from a year-long injury induced layoff in 2012. Since then, Thurman has gone 5-0 with four knockouts, with wins over Brandon Hoskins, Orlando Lora and former World Champion Carlos Quintana. In his last fight in March, the 24-year-old scored a shutout win over former World Champion Jan Zaveck and on July 27, he challenges for his first world title.

“I’m looking forward to fighting for an interim title and doing it against someone like Chaves,” said Thurman. “I’m not going to have to chase him or get him to fight. We’re going to battle and I’m going to be the last man standing.”

The latest in the line of hard-hitting standouts from Argentina, Diego Gabriel “La Joya” Chaves (22-0, 18 KO’s) shares a similar fighting philosophy with his opponent, Thurman: to end matters as soon as possible. Currently sporting a five-fight knockout streak, the 27-year-old Chaves won the WBA Interim Welterweight World Championship in July of last year with a second round knockout of Ismael El Massoudi and defended it two months later with an identical result against Jose Miranda. Now he’s back to fight in the United States for the first time since 2010.

“I appreciate the opportunity to fight in the United States and against someone with a great reputation like Keith Thurman,” said Chaves. “We’re proud people and proud fighters in Argentina and I’m going to show this to the world on July 27th.”

Adding to the knockout theme on July 27 is Texas’ own titan, Weslaco native Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. (21-0-1, 17 KO’s), who has ended four of his last five wins with first round knockouts. In April, the 23-year-old thrilled his home state fans with a first round knockout over then unbeaten top prospect Abner Cotto, winning the NABA and WBC Interim Silver Lightweight titles in the process. He will draw on the energy from a San Antonio crowd for his third consecutive fight when he fights for his first world title against Arakawa on July 27.

“For me there’s nothing like fighting at home in Texas and the fans of San Antonio have pushed me to new heights in my last two fights,” said Figueroa. “I’m looking forward to giving them another big knockout win.”

Fighting out of Tokyo, Japan, 31-year-old southpaw Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16 KO’s) is a nine-year veteran guaranteed to give Figueroa some looks he has never seen in the ring before. A Japanese and OPBF lightweight champion, Arakawa has won 11 of his last 12 bouts, most recently dispatching Pakphum Tor Pornchai in two rounds on May 4. On July 27, he’ll enter hostile territory with the goal of pinning a “1” on Figueroa’s loss column.

“I’m looking forward to fighting in the United States for the first time against a tough opponent like Omar Figueroa,” said Arakawa. “I’m coming here to put on a great show and take the title back to Japan with me.”

“KNOCKOUT KINGS II,” featuring Two-Time Welterweight World Champion Andre Berto vs. tough Mexican contender Jesus Soto Karass in a 12-round welterweight main event, takes place Saturday, July 27 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Leija & Battah Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. In the 12-round co-featured attractions, unbeaten knockout artist Keith Thurman and fellow power-puncher Diego Gabriel Chaves battle for Chaves’ WBA Interim Welterweight World Championship in a fight promoted in association with KO International and Weslaco, Texas’ undefeated rising star Omar Figueroa Jr. squares off against Tokyo’s Nihito Arakawa for the vacant WBC Interim Lightweight World Championship in a fight promoted in association with Teiken Promotions. The tripleheader will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME and will be available in Spanish via second audio programming (SAP).

 

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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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