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Sadam Ali Wins at Barclays Center

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Boxing returned to Brooklyn Monday night when Golden Boy Promotions presented a seven bout card at the Barclays Center’s Cushman/Wakefield Theater, televised by Fox Sports 1.

The main event paired Brooklyn’s own Sadam Ali, recently signed to a promotional deal by Golden Boy, and Catskill, NY’s Jay Krupp in an eight round welterweight contest.

Ali had to fight off Krupp’s charges, and heavy left hook, but once he settled into a rhythm with his jab, he was able to properly exhibit his skills edge. After eight rounds, the judges gave Ali, who scored two knockdowns, the win, by scores of 79-72, 78-71, and 77-72.

The Theater, for those wondering, is simply the main arena, with partitions and draperies put up to shrink capacity.

Ali (17-0, 10 KO) was coming of a twelve month layoff when the bell sounded for round one.

Always a fluid boxer, Ali used his jab early to help establish a rhythm. Krupp (17-6, 8 KO) was not intimidated by his opponent or the big stage surroundings as he wobbled Ali early in the round with a right hand, and dropped him with a left as the bell sounded to end the round. Ali (146 lbs) gave Krupp (146 lbs) a smile and nod of acknowledgment as he headed back to his corner.

Ali used the second round to continue to try and establish a groove and Krupp pressed the action.

In the third round Ali tightened up his defense to ward off Krupp’s left hand and put Krupp down with a strong overhand right. After beating the count, Krupp was continually tagged by Ali’s combinations.

The fourth frame found Ali using his jab with great effectiveness. He often doubled the jab, used it upstairs and downstairs, and hooked off the jab. The tough and determined Krupp kept coming but seemed to be losing steam as Ali began to take control of the fight.

In the fifth and sixth rounds the action dropped off a bit as Ali, a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, used his superior boxing skills to launch a variety of combinations at Krupp. In the sixth an Ali right hand buckled Krupp, but the game fighter refused to go down.

Krupp took the fight to Ali at the start of the seventh, but could not mount a successful offense. Ali taunted Krupp by sticking out his tongue and doing a little shuffle. Krupp answered with a shuffle of his own.

In the final stanza Ali again knocked Krupp down with a right hand with thirty seconds left in the round. Krupp survived the count and the two boxers waged a furious back and forth over the final ten seconds before the bell sounded to end the contest.

In the co-feature Michael Perez (19-1-2, 10 KO) of Newark, NJ faced Miguel Zuniga (13-2, 8 KO) of San Diego in a ten round battle for the vacant WBA FedeLatin super lightweight title.

In round one, Perez immediately introduced himself by landing a left hook to the side of Zuniga’s face. A sharp boxer, Perez used movement and multiple combinations to establish an early presence.

The second and third frames saw both boxers engage in back and forth action with Perez landing the bigger shots. Zuniga, originally from Tijuana, Mexico, showed he was not going anywhere even as Perez landed a powerful combination to end the third round.

In the fourth and fifth Perez stepped up his attack and began landing four and five punch combinations. At one point he landed a series of rapid fire machine gun lefts that thudded against his opponent’s head. Zuniga found success when he was able to get inside and land some hard counter shots. The Mexican was a tough customer, but Perez was clearly in control. He continued to tattoo Zuniga with punches.

Zuniga found some success in the sixth frame. Although Perez was boxing beautifully and landing combinations, Zuniga landed two strong right hands followed by an uppercut that snapped Perez’s head back.

In the seventh round both fighters pressed the action and continued back and forth exchanges that had the audience cheering in appreciation. A small cut was opened under Perez’s left eye. It was unclear if the cut resulted from a punch or a clash of heads.

In the eighth stanza the crowd continued to show their appreciation for the action taking place inside the ring. Zuniga continued to show what a tough customer he was by getting inside and landing shots. Perez continued to use good lateral movement and flashed multi-punch combinations.

The final two frames showcased exciting back and forth exchanges with Zuniga using body punches to mount an attack and Perez answering with thudding lefts and rights.

Perez had gained a hard fought control of the fight and the judges agreed with scores of 99-91 (twice), and 96-94.

Former Olympian, and Staten Island native, Marcus Browne (7-0, 6 KO) won a unanimous decision victory in an ugly eight round light heavyweight bout against Lamont Williams (5-2-1, 2 KO) of Gardenia, Ca.

The talent that Browne undeniably possesses was diluted in a fight that saw both fighters clinching and mauling throughout. Browne had a point taken away in the fifth round for using his head, although he had also done that in the second round, but escaped the referee’s detection. He also rubbed his glove in Williams face during a clinch.

Some boxing did take place in spite of the roughhouse antics and Browne was the superior fighter. Williams posed a difficult test for Browne and Browne may have become frustrated when he realized his opponent was planning to stay the distance.

The judges awarded Browne the decision with scores of 79-72 (twice), and 76-75.

The third bout of the evening was a four round featherweight tilt between Claude Staten Jr. (1-0-1) of Brooklyn and Derrick Bivins (1-1-2) of Philadelphia.

Both fighters engaged in a chess match for most of the four round distance.

In the first round both boxers used the three minutes to feel each other out. There was a lot of feinting as each tried to find a home for their punches.

In the remaining three frames movement interspersed with combinations filled the time and the judges saw it 40-36 for Bivins and 38-38 twice for a majority draw.

D’Mitrius Ballard (3-0, 2 KO) brought a big left hand with him from Maryland when he squared off with Lekan Byfield (3-6-2), of Tarrytown, NY, in a four round super middleweight contest.

Byfield started the proceedings by jumping on Ballard and trapping him against the ropes. Although he was throwing punches, the referee warned Byfield about using his head. Ballard regained his composure and hurt Byfield with a left hand. Ballard finished the round strongly.

In the second and third rounds Ballard established control by way of his jackhammer left hand. He moved Byfield backward and around the ring by repeatedly landing his big punch. Byfield fought back, but did not have enough to make a dent.

The fourth and final round showcased an interesting moment when each fighter turned the other around in the corner a few times in succession, resulting in what resembled an awkward dance movement.

Ballard scored a unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 across the board.

In the evening’s opening bout Jamel Herring (5-0, 3 KO), of Coram, NY, overcame a quiet first round to overwhelm Justin Robbins (2-4, 1 KO), of Springfield, IL, to earn a TKO victory. Robbins was unable to continue after three rounds of a scheduled six round super lightweight contest.

The announced attendance for the evening was 3,059.

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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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