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Wilder on Liahkovich: “This Is A Stepping Stone For Me”

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ShoBoxINDIO, Calif. (Aug. 8, 2013) – The six fighters who will compete on a tripleheader tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 9, on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., are set and ready to go after weighing in Thursday at Fantasy Springs.

In the 10-round main event, unbeaten, hard-hitting Deontay Wilder (28-0, 28 KO’s), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will try to extend his winning and knockout streaks when he meets former world heavyweight champion Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KO’s), of Scottsdale, Ariz., by way of Vitebsk, Belarus.

In two terrific 10-round co-featured scraps, Francisco “El Bandito” Vargas (16-0-1, 13 KO’s), of Tijuana, Mexico, opposes left-handed Brandon “The Untouchable” Bennett (16-0, 7 KO’s), of Cincinnati, Ohio, in a clash of undefeated junior lightweights, and unbeaten junior middleweight Jermall “The Hitman” Charlo (14-0, 10 KO’s), of Houston, Texas, gets tested for class when he takes on Antwone Smith (23-4-1, 12 KO’s), of Miami, Fla.

The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona. Tickets, priced at $25, $35 and $45, are available at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com. Doors open at 4 p.m. PT. The first live fight is at 4:05 p.m. PT.

Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

WEIGHTS: Wilder tipped the scale at 224 pounds, Liakhovich weighed 232. Vargas weighed 130 pounds, Bennett 129. Charlo weighed 154 pounds, Smith 159 (Smith was fined 20 percent of his purse for coming in heavy).

Below are some final thoughts from the ShoBox fighters:

DEONTAY WILDER

“I think this is going to be a great fight. I don’t think they could have picked a better opponent for me. Liakhovich is a very tough guy. I know he is coming to fight. I don’t expect this to be easy. He’ going to put in all on the line, and that’s what I want. I want to see where I’m at. I always feel I have something to learn. At the same time, I’m looking forward to putting on a great show.

“If he shows up like he supposed to, and fights like he’s supposed to, this could be my toughest fight to date. But I know what I can do and I want people to see that. It’s great fighting in the main event on ShoBox. I expect many of my fans will be watching. I hope to make some new fans, too,

“The hard work is in the gym, in the training. I go 100 percent and I expect the same from those around me. I don’t have ‘yes’ men in my camp. If I’m doing great they let me now. If not, they say I can do better. This is a stepping stone for me, fighting the best of the best. I’m excited.

“My approach going in is to be patient, establish my jab and use my distance to keep him away. I don’t go in looking for a knockout. They just happen. I don’t put pressure on myself to knock anybody out. I like to keep my mind clear and focused.

“This is a 10-round fight and I’m ready to go all 10 rounds. Part of me wants it to go all 10, part of me doesn’t want to put it in the hands of the judges. But at the end of the day, all I want to do is win.’’

SERGEI LIAKHOVICH

“I’m going to take him into deep waters. We’ll see if he can take as much as he can give.

“I’ve trained off and on with Mike McCallum for almost five months, but eight weeks for this fight in particular. I don’t want to make any excuses, but I had a lot of problems with my previous training camps. There was so much B.S. This may have been my best training camp ever.

“I still feel I’m a dangerous fighter. I’m very confident. Only time will tell if he made a mistake fighting me. But we will know tomorrow night.

“It’s hard to say what Wilder will bring. He’s got a very strong right hand, but he’s very predictable. I don’t see a lot of things special about him. I just know I’ll be ready for every second of every minute.

“I’ve been off 17 months, but I was off 16 months when I won the world heavyweight title. I’m happy to get a big fight like this at this point in my career.’’

FRANCISCO VARGAS

“This is a tough opponent. I’ve trained super hard. This is going to be a great fight.

“I think pressure and good defense are the keys for me. He’s a quick southpaw, but I’ve fought two southpaws in my career, including one in my last fight. Southpaws are always a problem; you always have to make an adjustment.

“I hope he comes at me and fights inside, but I expect him to box.

“My dream was always to make the Olympic team. It’s a tough process being a pro, but my motivation to win a world title is the same as it was in the amateurs. You can only win so many medals in the amateurs.

“Fighting an undefeated fighter, this is a big step up, but we’re ready.’’

BRANDON BENNETT

“This is a dream come true fighting on SHOWTIME. Growing up I watched a lot of great fighters fight on SHOWTIME. I just want to look great, make it look easy and come away with a victory.

“At this point in my career, I just want to be the best. It is not about the money. I’m doing what I like to do. It’s my job and I like to fight. It’s tough to get great fights, so I am very grateful for this opportunity.

“I’m glad to be fighting often again. Fans may not know me now, but they will tomorrow. I hope to take the fight to him. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and see if I can frustrate him.

“Vargas had a lot of amateur fights, but I feel I have as much experience as he does. Conditioning-wise, I feel I can go 10, 12 rounds with no problem.’’

JERMALL CHARLO

“I can’t wait to fight him. I wish the fight was right now. He’s going to pay for not being ready to fight. I worked hard to make the weight. It makes me wonder what kind of camp he actually hard.

“I’ve been working too hard not to fight. I didn’t struggle or kill myself to make weight, but I had to work to make 154. He didn’t do his work. If I can do it, why can’t he? It’s the principal.

“Every fight is a big step for me. Smith has been in with a lot good people, but they were all guys who I feel I can beat. I don’t think he’s fought anybody as strong as me.

“I’ve trained very hard for 10 hard rounds. This is my fifth fight this year so I’m never worried about going the distance.’’

ANTWONE SMITH

“I got here around 10:30 pm Wednesday night, and thought I’d be OK with my weight but my body locked down and I got cramps. If I could have lost the weight, I would have. I’ll see how I feel when I get in there and make every adjustment I have to.

“At the end of the day, he’s never gone a distance of rounds and he’s never fought anybody. He doesn’t know if he can go 10 rounds. I want my experience to take over. I have to be smart and get into a spot where I am comfortable. I just hope I don’t go in there and hold myself back.

“There’s no doubt I’ve fought better than he has. I’ll do what I have to do to win. I don’t think this is going to affect me at all.’’

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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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