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Andre Ward To Fight Edwin Rodriguez Nov. 16

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SHERMAN OAKS, CA (September 20, 2013) – Following slightly more than a year's absence from the ring due to injury, 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and current WBA and Ring Magazine World Super Middleweight Champion, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward makes his highly anticipated return to the ring defending his title against Edwin Rodriguez on Saturday, November 16 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA.

Simply and appropriately billed as “The Return,” Ward (26-0, 13 KOs) will risk his title against the undefeated Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs) in the scheduled 12-round World Championship main event which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets are priced at $200, $125, $75, $50 and $25 (parking included with purchase) and will be available at Citizens Business Bank Arena Box Office or online at AXS.com or by calling AXS at 888-929-7849 starting on Friday, September 27. For more information, please visit www.CBBankArena.com.

Following last year's 10th-round destruction of then-WBC Light Heavyweight titleholder Chad Dawson in his biggest and most impressive defense of both his WBA and WBC belts in his hometown of Oakland on September 8, Ward was scheduled to take on former WBC/WBO Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik back in January. However, the bout had to be scrapped because Ward required surgery to an injured right shoulder, keeping Ward out of the ring for over 12 months and costing him an intriguing fight and sending Pavlik into retirement.

With Ward's Super-Six Tournament demolition through the 168-pound division against the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Carl Froch, Ward now puts his attention toward the currently ranked #1 WBC, #3 WBA, IBF and WBO Rodriguez.

“I'm excited to get back in the ring on November 16,” stated the champion Ward. “The opponent is Edwin Rodriguez. He's a young, hungry, undefeated fighter who doesn't believe he can lose and it's my job to change his mind. I think he and his team feel like they are going to catch me slipping coming off of surgery and the layoff. I try to live like a champion. I stay in the gym, eat well, and don't abuse my body and this rest that I got was needed. I don't feel like the layoff will hurt me, I feel like it will help me. It allowed me to rest mentally and physically, and I want to show the fans on November 16 that I'm better than I was before I left.”

So now the 29-year old Ward can't wait to make his return against the Dominican-born super middleweight, who now lives in Worcester, Mass. Having made a huge statement in his last bout stopping Denis Grachev in the first round in Monte Carlo, France winning the “Monaco Million Dollar Super Four Tournament” – Rodriguez, 28, will be fighting for the first time in California. In his most recent outing, the undefeated Rodriguez known as “La Bomba, ” handled Grachev from the opening bell. The normally durable Grachev went down twice in the first round and was taking further punishment when referee Stanley Christodoulou stepped in to stop the one-sided bout. Grachev was coming off impressive wins over highly-touted Californian Ismayl Sillakh, and also ended former champion Zsolt Erdei's undefeated run. With the victory, the DiBella-promoted Rodriguez has propelled his name toward the top of the 168-pound division targeting Ward in the process.

“Vince Lombardi once said, 'Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.' On November 16th, I know I will win,” stated Edwin Rodriguez.

“I commend Andre Ward for accepting a huge challenge after an injury and layoff. On November 16th, he will wish he didn't when he gets La-Bombed by La Bomba,” said longtime promoter Lou DiBella.

Some strong words from the #1 world-rated Rodriguez proclaiming the demise of the #2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Ward probably summed it up best, “You have a young fighter in Edwin Rodriguez that feels like it's his time. You have a young veteran in myself that feels like it's still my time, and those ingredients will make for a blockbuster fight on November 16 on HBO.”

All other bouts will be announced shortly. Doors open at 3 p.m. with the first undercard fight set at 3:15 p.m.

The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with S.O.G. Promotions. The Ward-Rodriguez bout is presented in association with DiBella Entertainment and sponsored by Morongo Casino Resort Spa and the City of Ontario.

“We are proud to be a sponsor to this great boxing event featuring WBA and Ring Magazine Supermiddleweight World Champion Andre Ward,” stated Morongo Casino Resort Spa General Manager, David Brents.

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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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