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Stevens, Adamek, Mchunu Win Big on NBC Sports

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Middleweight Curtis Stevens, heavyweight Tomasz Adamek and cruiserweight Thabiso Mchunu all nabbed impressive wins Saturday night on NBC Sports. The three bouts took place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

In the main event, middleweight contender Curtis “Showtime” Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) defeated Saul Roman (37-10, 31 KOs) by first round knockout in what might be his most impressive win to date.

Stevens let it be known beforehand he wanted to challenge number one ranked TBRB middleweight and WBA titlist Gennady Golovkin next, so he was looking for an impressive performance to help make the case.

And so it was.

Stevens started fast and furious. He clipped Roman with an overhand right early, then had him up against the ropes and hurt. A few seconds later, Stevens deflected Roman’s right hand return to land a hard left hook to put his opponent down. The brave middleweight rose to his feet, but was quickly dispatched again by the aggressive Stevens. Again, it was a devastating left hook from Stevens that put Roman down, this time for good.

Like a shark sensing blood, Stevens saw his opponent hurt and went in for the kill. He knocked Roman out cold at 2:26 of the first, making the statement he so desired.

On the undercard, heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) defeated Dominick Guinn (34-10-1, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision. Adamek was as sharp as ever.

In the first, Guinn immediately employed a quick jab up and down Adamek’s torso. The former heavyweight contender, 38, started the fight as if he knew this was his last chance at glory. The two men had been sparring partners in the past and it showed. Both came into the ring knowing each other’s tricks.

Adamek worked hard in the first to show his power. While Guinn was busy, Adamek was patient and used real power whenever he got in close. Quick jabs from Adamek ended the round, but Guinn had done enough early to take it.

In the second, Adamek started the round busier. He moved in closer to punching range, and ate some right hands from Guinn because of it. Still, Adamek’s jab was quick and snappy in the round. Both men were landing hard punches, though not cleanly. Adamek probably did the best work with his jab.

Adamek made Guinn miss more in the third, and his jabs and fast right hands were as effective as ever. Guinn had little answer for the active Adamek. A headbutt from Adamek opened up a cut near the end of it, which only served to galvanize Adamek.

A lighting quick jab opened up things for Adamek in the fourth. He was growing increasingly confident in his approach while Guinn’s bravado started to fade. The fight was being fought at closer quarters now, which was good for the shorter-armed Adamek. Three- and four-punch combinations were the norm now for Adamek. Guinn tried to keep up the pace, but labored under the blood and sweat of his brow.

A peppery jab told the tale in the fifth, and it was the sliding in and out of range Adamek who was serving it. Guinn tried to employ a stiff jab of his own, but he was lulled into activity far too much to be effective. Adamek was the boss in both punches and pace.

It was more of the same in the sixth and seventh. Adamek kept Guinn off balance with educated punching patterns. Guinn was mostly inactive, though had limited success during the rare times he let his hands go.

Adamek opened up in the ninth, and he appeared as fresh as ever. He landed hooks, uppercuts and right crosses as much as he wanted. He was aggressive without being greedy, and he looked as sharp as ever.

The tenth and final round played the same. Adamek, a smart fighter, had to know he had the bout in the bag. He didn’t give up the round, but decided digression was the better part of valor and was content to take the win by decision.

And that’s exactly what he did. Judges scored the fight unanimously for Adamek by scores of 99-91, 99-91 and 98-92.

Finally, previously unknown cruiserweight Thadiso Mchunu (13-1, 9 KOs) made a statement by dominating former heavyweight title contender Eddie Chambers (36-4, 18 KOs) with an impressive showing of real skill. It was Chambers’ first fight after a move down from heavyweight to the cruiserweight division, and it may have been a huge mistake. Mchunu was faster, landed with more power and had the better defense.

Mchunu, a slick southpaw, used sharp, straight punches to keep Chambers at bay. While Chambers moved forward, the sharpshooting Mchunu landed clean, hard jabs and precise left hands.

Chambers’ high guard was woefully ineffective. He appeared sluggish and lazy at times, and his greatest asset at heavyweight, his speed, was reduced to molasses compared to the leaner, quicker Mchunu.

Mchunu controlled the pace round after round. Chambers landed very few punches, despite his cocky behavior in the prefight buildup.

All ten rounds played the same song. Chambers moved forward in every round looking to land but was unable to put anything together. Meanwhile, Mchunu was leaning back and forth on his back foot landing power shots one after another.

It was the 24-year-old Mchunu’s first venture outside his home country of South Africa, but he seemed at home fighting in the cruiserweight division against interloper Chambers. Chambers’ usually solid jab was active, but didn’t land nearly enough to keep Mchunu from picking up most of the rounds. Final punch stats showed Chambers’ jab landing at a paltry six percent.

Chambers did find more of a home for it in the seventh, but his backhand power shots were thrown very little and landed even less. The American slickster was reduced to following the smaller man around the ring like a lost puppy. Mchunu was the master, and he opened up in the eighth. He landed a jab, then a jab-cross, then a jab-cross-hook. Next, he was circling, then right back at Chambers with more combinations. All the while, Chambers remained inactive and appeared befuddled.

A confident Mchunu looked the part of real contender in round nine. He landed hard one-twos and smirked at Chambers as he moved in and out of range at will. Chambers had no answer for the puzzle presented him, and Mchunu was landing with just enough power to keep his opponent from rushing in and going for broke.

The final round was a microcosm of the whole fight. Chambers came forward but was tentative and unsure of his approach. Mchunu was the bigger puncher and controlled Chambers with his feet and fists.

When the final scores were tallied, judges at ringside scored the bout for Mchunu by unanimous decision. Scores were 99-91 two ways and 97-93 once for the winner, Mchunu.

 

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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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