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Ringside Report: Otero, Agha Notch Wins in Texas

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Houston – Notable locals Ivan Otero and Darlington Agha notched decision wins Thursday night at the Bayou City Events Center.

Junior welterweight Ivan Otero (11-2, 2 KOs) defeated Aaron Anderson (2-21-1 KO) by unanimous decision. Judges at ringside scored the bout 60-53, 60-53 and 59-54.

Otero came to the ring to fight. Anderson came to showboat. For the fans in attendance, both approaches made good.

Anderson entered the ring wearing a long, red cape. He was adorned with a crown, and he joyfully carried his scepter to the tune of R. Kelly’s “I am the Greatest.” Otero was accompanied to the ring by a Puerto Rican flag and a live rapper.

This was going to be a show.

When the bell sounded, both men did their thing. Otero strode forward as a professional. He threw hard left hooks and ripping right crosses. He snapped a quick jab, kept his hands high and did just about everything you’d expect a professional pugilist to do.

Not to be out-done, Anderson mimicked the fighting style of James Toney – minus the punches. Instead, the affable funnyman would take any and all chances he could to smile for the crowd, twist his soft body in the form of a bodybuilder, etc.

This played out through the first few rounds, the notable change being Anderson swinging (and landing) a punch from around and behind his own body. He was deducted a point for it immediately by referee Sam Garza.

At the beginning of the fourth, Anderson waited for Otero to come over to him by doing the chicken dance. Otero obliged, cracking him all over and around the ring after. The ever-confident Anderson didn’t care, though. He’d put his hands behind his back like he was a prime Roy Jones, Jr. at times, except for the punching of course.

Anderson did throw a fast flurry at Otero in the fifth. They were pillow soft though, so the ringside judges and even Otero couldn’t help but find it amusing. Later in the round, Anderson screamed at Otero while dancing around the ring like Muhammad Ali.

“You can’t cut off the ring! You can’t catch me, Ivan!”

Otero had him hurt moments later because it turned out he could.

The sixth and final round sort of encompassed the bout. During one of the exchanges, an inebriated crowd member screamed out to Anderson, who was wearing red trunks.

“Hey Red, your punches are weak!”

“Your momma is weak!” Anderson responded.

It might seem hard to imagine how entertaining a fight like this can actually be, but it certainly was a good show.

The main event was preceded by two solid heavyweight scraps, including undefeated prospect Agha.

In the penultimate bout of the evening, Sugar Land’s Darlington Agha (8-0, 6 KOs; pictured above in Rachel McCarson photo) defeated Andrew Greenly (14-42-3) by unanimous decision. Judges scored the bout 60-54, 58-56 and 58-56.

Agha was wise to come out carefully against the veteran Greenly. He began by trying to establish a jab, with Greenly content to counter. Agha took the first round with hard hooks to the midsection, though Greenly landed some sneaky punches whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Agha was more aggressive in the second, going to his patented right hook to his opponent’s ribs. Greenly was cute though. He’d create separation with his feet, then draw his opponent to him so he could land crosses in the approach. This continued in the third, though Agha started to make Greenly miss more often on counter attempts.

The fourth and fifth played out the same. Agha was careful, but not inactive. Greenly would sometimes try to quickly shift his way around his opponent, but Agha was responsible enough in his advance to avoid any real danger.

In the final round, Greenly opened up enough to land some good shots, though Agha was out-working him with his ever-consistent body attack.

Other Action

In the evening’s opening bout, heavy-handed welterweight Jonathan Cashmere (2-0, 2KO) kept Willie Miller (0-4) out of the victory column yet again in his winless career. Miller came out aggressively and firing fast. Cashmere was more cautious, working behind a high guard at first. The two locked together for some close quarter work for the next minute and a half, Referee Sam Garza letting them work with one hand free. There, Cashmere landed a hard hook inside that hurt Miller. Stunned, the staggering fighter went back to the ropes only to get worked over more. Miller escaped for a time, but then ended up in similar circumstances just a few short seconds later.

In the second round, Miller landed a one-two, but Cashmere was just too strong for it to matter. He bullied Miller back into the corner, then landed a well-timed right hook downstairs before coming back up to the chin with the same. Miller went down to a knee in shock. He made his way back up, but the fight was halted right there.

Next, undefeated welterweight Felipe Reyes (4-0, 3 KOs) dominated Anthony Woods (0-4) with a devastating body attack to earn a TKO in 2. Reyes came out exactly like you’d expect a fighter in Mexican flag trunks to: aggressively throwing hooks to the body while gladly eating a steady diet of punches in return. The faster and taller Woods used his reach to land some quick and clean shots at the beginning of the round, but as it progressed the steady avalanche of brutal body work looked to be taking its toll.

An overhand right got things going for Reyes early in the second, and before Woods could recover he was corralled into the corner by even more body punches. Woods’ new strategy was set now. He covered up into a defensive position and let Reyes strafe him up and down his torso before going in for a clinch. The pattern repeated itself until Referee Barry Simons halted the action at 2:54 of the second round.

On it was to the next bout, where Eric “The Tasmanian Devil” Lainez and “Scrappy” Andy Sandoval, junior featherweights, were exactly what they claimed: two scrappy little Tasmanian devils. Each in search of his first win as a professional, the men rushed into the center of the ring a whirlwind of activity. They returned to their corners after the first realizing it would take more than just aggression and valor.

In the second, each man established a new plan. Sandoval used a jab and overhand right to do his work. Lainez used short hooks and uppercuts. Both fighters again had their moments, though it appeared Lainez might have gotten the better of it. It was more of the same in the third. This time, Sandoval was able to mix in a short jab and an increased activity level. Judges still had their hands full, though. It was close.

The final round played out like the first three. Neither fighter seemed to hurt the other, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. As a peculiar aside, Sandoval displayed several interesting looking jabs throughout the contest in which he’d end up standing only on one foot as it landed, his back foot popping up in the air. It was very strange.

When the final bell rang, Eric Lainez (1-0) was awarded a majority decision over Andy Sandoval (0-2). Judges Ray Zaragoza and Charlie Philips scored the fight the winner 39-37, while Eva Zaragoza saw it a draw, 38-38.

Female featherweights were next on the bill. Jennifer Scott (3-4, 2 KOs) defeated Angel Ford (0-2) by a unanimous decision. Judges at ringside scored the bout 40-36 all three ways.

Scott took the first with long, sharp punches augmented by fancy footwork. Ford landed a few hard blows herself, but was mostly a punching bag for the leaner, faster Scott. The next round saw more aggression from Ford. She mostly tried to time Scott as she shuffled into range, then clinch and throw inside. At one point, she even hit the unexpected Scott as the referee leaned into to break them. This gave the offended Scott more inclination to turn up the heat. In the third, Scott hurt Ford with a hard right hand. Now, the fight was being fought with Ford’s back to the ropes while Scott went to work. Ford could not catch her breath but made it to the end of the round.

In the last round, Scott used her reach expertly, then doubled over Ford with a hard left. Ford staggered a bit, but was able to move just enough to stay on her feet. Seconds later, Scott had her hurt again, this time upstairs with a right. It was too close to the bell, though. Timekeepers were banging away just a few moments after.

Terrell Jamal Woods (3-7, 3 KOs) provided the knockout of the night by dismantling Isaac Teran (2-1, 2 KOs) in just half a round. Teran looks like the real deal. He’s large, lean and comes to the ring looking mean. When the bell rang, though, he looked more like a schoolyard bully forced into his first real tussle than a student of the sweet science. After appearing to be cautious and schooled, Teran unraveled into a rank amatuer, throwing punches in all-too-predicable bunches, chin out-stretched as if it were a target.

Woods saw it. He covered enough just long enough to get his bearings, then crushed the unsuspecting Teran with a devastating left hook. Teran went straight back to the canvas; the first part of him that hit the floor was the back of his head. Somehow, the tough slugger got to his feet and continued, though Woods had him back on the floor seconds later. He made it to his feet again, but was far too hurt to continue. Referee Sam Garza stopped the bout at 1:59 of round one.

Other Notes and Nuggets

-If you live in or around Houston, there is no better way to spend your entertainment money on a Thursday evening than attending a Savarese Promotions’ fight card at the Bayou City Events Center. Lou Savarese knows what he’s doing. The matches are always fun to watch, the crowd is knowledgeable and the venue is comfortable.

-University of Houston football team chaplain, Mikado Hinson, made his debut as a ringside boxing announcer Thursday. It was a solid performance. Hinson is no stranger to the world of boxing. He’s served roles in many fight camps, most notably for former heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd.

-Married couples served in official capacities at ringside. In addition to your writer and his wife reporting for TSS, judges Ray and Eva Zaragosa were on hand, along with a timekeeper duo, Sam and Dee Carolina.

-Notable local celebrities in attendance were trainer Ronnie Shields, super middleweight Edwin Rodriguez and former University of Houston standout and NFL’er Rex Hadnot.

-There are far too many creepy weirdos snagging pics and videos of ring card girls at boxing shows. What are you doing with those, gentlemen?

Follow Kelsey McCarson on twitter.

 

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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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