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Riverside’s Juan Reyes Edges L.A.’s Daniel Roman

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ONTARIO, CA—-An eight-round junior featherweight clash exceeded even the greatest expectations when Riverside’s Juan “Pochito” Reyes (10-1-2) and L.A.’s Daniel “Baby-face Assassin” Roman (8-2-1) tangled on Friday evening.

The firefight was held before slightly more than 1,000 at the Doubletree Hotel by Thompson Boxing Promotions. This Southern California outfit is known for having perhaps the keenest eye for talent and a reputation for making great fights.

They did it again.

Reyes out-worked Roman but also showed the ability to slip more punches, and that benefitted him in the end. Otherwise, these two boxers poured everything into every round and did not pause for breath or to pander to the crowd. It was exhilarating non-stop action.

Roman jumped out in front in the first round when he nearly felled Reyes with a left to the body. That nearly collapsed the Riverside boxer but he managed to continue. But in the second round, Reyes refused to move backwards and that shifted the momentum back his way.

Reyes is not known for slipping punches or countering, but he gave a college education in the art of slip and counter, and that seemed to upset Roman. Well, at least for 2:30 of the round. Then Roman slapped some leather on Reyes to make the round seem even.

Six rounds of back and forth fire was traded by the two 122-pounders. The most remarkable thing was their incredible stamina. The crowd was spellbound by the ring war taking place and almost silent from the fourth round on. The usual cackles and crowd advice seemed to wither away or maybe the action in the ring just transfixed everyone.

After eight rounds, all three judges scored it the same way, 58-56 for Riverside’s Reyes.

Not everyone was happy with the decision  but in this fight, someone was going home unhappy. Still, it was one of the best fights of 2013.

Other bouts

Tijuana’s Carl “Memin” Carlson (10-0, 7 Kos) belted out Lupe Barerra (6-2-2) of Tijuana with left hooks to win by technical knockout at 1:41 of round three in a bantamweight fight. Carlson cracked a mean left hook to the jaw to drop Barerra the first time in round one. Left hooks to the body put Barerra on the floor twice in round two. A brutal left hook slumped Barerra almost eight seconds after the punch in round three and prompted referee Wayne Hedgepeth to stop the fight.

San Diego’s Israel Arellano (7-1, 6 Kos) was troubled by Tijuana’s Mario “Popeye” Hermosillo (12-11-3, 2 Kos) for two rounds in their junior welterweight clash. Hermosillo used clutching, grabbing and his head to keep Arellano against the ropes for two rounds. Then Arellano came out in round three and kept his space to fire a wicked three-punch combination to the head and body. One of those body shots sunk into Hermosillo’s belly and three seconds later he sunk to the ground and would not return as referee Lou Moret called it over at 1:48.

San Bernardino’s Joshua “Young Gun” Conley (7-0-1, 6 Kos) waited too long to crank it up against Mexico’s Juan “El Chiflado” Sanchez (5-7, 4 Kos) in a six round junior middleweight round. Sanchez fired more short-range blows while Conley went for the blockbuster that never came. Judges Pat Connolly scored it 58-56 for Garcia and Max DeLuca 58-56 for Conley. Marty Denkin had it 57-57 for a split draw.

Erick Ituarte (6-0-1) used his quicker hands to out-punch Mexico’s tough Roberto Ventura (3-5) after four featherweight rounds. Both were not shy about exchanging blows but Ituarte was firing three-punch combinations while Ventura was single-shot style. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Ituarte.

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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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