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Tix Info For Rigo-Agbeko Card Dec. 7 in AC

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ATLANTIC CITY (November 13, 2013) — Undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) / World Boxing Organization (WBO) 122-pound world champion and Cuban sensation GUILLERMO “El Chacal” RIGONDEAUX returns to the ring fresh from his career-best victory. Rigondeaux will be bidding for Fighter of the Year honors when he defends his unified titles against former two-time world champion JOSEPH “King Kong” AGBEKO, Saturday, December 7, at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom in Atlantic City. The card will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark®beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. The live telecast will also feature local favorite GLEN “Jersey Boy” TAPIA risking his Top-10 rating and undefeated record in a 10-round junior middleweight battle against knockout artist JAMES KIRKLAND and three-time world title challenger MATTHEW MACKLIN in a 10-round middleweight rumble against undefeated contender LAMAR RUSS.

These six gladiators boast a combined record of 135-10, 96 KOs — a winning percentage of 93% and a victory by knockout ratio of 71%.

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Caesars Atlantic City, Caribe Promotions, SMS Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Tecate, tickets to the Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko world championship event go on sale Tomorrow! Thursday, November 14, at Noon ET. Priced at $200, $100. $50 and $25, plus applicable service charges, tickets can be purchased at Boardwalk Hall box office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.ticketmaster.com.  To charge by phone call 800-736-1420.

“After a brilliant performance against Nonito Donaire, Rigondeaux puts his extraordinary skills to test on December 7 against Joseph Agbeko,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “This bout epitomizes the contrast of style of slick boxer versus brawler. Which style will prevail?”

“On December 7, fans will see some of the fight game's purest boxing and punching at its most distilled,” says Peter Nelson, director of programming, HBO Sports. “The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is the perfect home for three such intriguing match-ups.”

“I'm very excited to get back in the ring,” said Rigondeaux. “Joseph Agbeko is a great champion, and I believe all fans will be pleased with the type of performance we will both exhibit to end a great year of boxing. I believe Agbeko will come prepared, ready to engage and be very aggressive. We will both showcase our skills, and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to end 2013 the way I opened it up, with surprise and pure boxing class for the world to see. I would like to thank HBO, my promoters Top Rank and Caribe promotions, my manager Gary Hyde, advisor Alex Bornote, trainers Ramon Garbey, Joel Casamayor, Pedro Luis, and all those that have a part in making this fight happen.”

“This is going to be a great fight. I'm extremely motivated. I plan to make my country proud by becoming world champion again after I defeat Rigondeaux,” declared Agbeko.

“I've been waiting for this opportunity my whole life. Now that it’s here it's time for me to show the world that I'm here to stay. This is just the beginning,” said Tapia.

“Tapia hasn't fought anyone near my level. I'm going for the knockout,” said Kirkland.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the ring and back to my winning ways,” said Macklin. “I've seen a few of Russ' fights and he's very sharp, very skilled and he's always in exciting fights as am I. This should be a great fight for the fans both in Atlantic City and those watching on HBO. A big win against Lamar will set me up nicely for a big 2014.”

“This is great opportunity for me and my team,” said Russ. “I want it to be known to the fans and to Macklin that on December 7th I am coming to fight and I am coming to win.”

“We are delighted that Joseph Agbeko has stepped up to the plate by challenging Rigo for his WBA and WBO world titles and we are looking forward to putting on a “master class performance” against little Joe December 7th,” said Gary Hyde, Rigondeaux's manager.

“Joseph Agbeko is a great warrior in the tradition of African fighters like Azumah Nelson. He's coming for the title and plans to lay it all on the line. He's a legitimate danger to Rigondeaux,” said Frank Espinoza, Agbeko’s manager.

“I'd like to thank Top Rank and HBO for giving Glen this opportunity,” said Tapia’s manager Pat Lynch. “I know it's something he’s worked really hard for. It's going to be a great fight and Glen will not disappoint his fans on December 7.”

“Kirkland brings all-out aggression into the ring. He's strong, powerful and exciting,” said Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, of SMS Promotions.

“Macklin-Russ should be a barnburner between two fighters who can bang,” said Lou DiBella, Macklin’s promoter. “The fight means so much to both boxers that it can’t help but be a good one and we are happy that it is on such a high quality card in Atlantic City.”

“We know that Russ will come to fight but we are very confident in Matt’s skills and experience and know those two assets will put us back into the win column,” said Macklin's advisor Anthony Catanzaro.

“Caesars Atlantic City’s commitment to sponsoring some of the top sporting events on the East Coast is no more evident than with this December 7th HBO triple header set for historic Boardwalk Hall,” said Kevin Ortzman, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Caesars, Bally’s, and Showboat Atlantic City. “As a boxing fan, I’m particularly looking forward to the Tapia v. Kirkland bout. Given Tapia’s New Jersey roots and his quick growing reputation as an up and comer, this match already possesses a great storyline and will certainly be a high energy affair.”

Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs), of Miami, Fla., returns to the ring after unifying the titles by defeating 2012 Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaireon April 13 at a sold-out Radio City Music Hall in New York. Rigondeaux thoroughly dominated Donaire via a unanimous decision victory, ending his 12-year, 30-bout winning streak, as well as claiming his WBO junior featherweight title. Rigondeaux had a stellar amateur career, winning Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2000, World Amateur Championship titles in 2005 and 2001, and Pan American Games gold medals in 2005 and 2003, all at 119 pounds, before defecting from Cuba and embarking on a professional career which began in Miami in 2009. In only his seventh professional fight where both fighters scored knockdowns, Rigondeaux captured the WBA interim super bantamweight title, winning a tough split decision over the vastly more experienced former world champion Ricardo Cordoba in 2010. After successfully defending the interim title in 2011 with a first-round knockout of previously undefeated former European super bantamweight champion Willie Casey, Rigondeaux won the WBA world super bantamweight championship with a sixth-round knockout of previously undefeated defending champion Rico Ramos on January 20, 2012. Rigondeaux has successfully defended that title thrice since then, blasting once-beaten Teon Kennedy in the fifth round, which included Kennedy suffering five knockdowns en route to the loss, and winning a dominant unanimous decision over once-beaten contender Roberto Marroquin last year, on June 9 and September 15, respectively, and Donaire in their April title unification fight.

Before moving up to the junior featherweight division, Agbeko (29-4, 22 KOs), of Accra, Ghana, was one of the dominant forces of the bantamweight division. He captured his first International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight title just one month removed from his U.S. debut, on September 29, 2007, knocking out defending champion Luis Perez in the seventh round, ending Perez's seven-year winning streak. Agbeko successfully defended the title twice, winning decisions over William Gonzalez and Vic Darchinyan, before losing it to Yonnhy Perez in October 2009. Agbeko avenged that loss and reclaimed the title in their rematch 15 months later. His second reign ended in his first defense, August 2011, a majority decision loss to Abner Mares, who also won the rematch in December of that same year. After taking over a year off, Agbeko returned to the ring last March 22, and defeated Luis Melendez to capture the IBO bantamweight title. Agbeko will be training with Roger Mayweather for his upcoming world title challenge.

Tapia (20-0, 12 KOs), of Passaic, NJ, will be fighting for the fifth time this year, only the second time he has fought this much in a calendar year. And why not? Tapia has starched three of the four opponents he has faced so far this year, with the highlight being his nationally-televised eighth-round knockout of undefeated Abie Han, in July, to capture the vacant NABO junior middleweight title. He returns to the ring fresh from knocking out Elco Garcia in the fifth round on September 28, in Atlantic City. Tapia is currently world-rated No. 9 and No. 10, by the WBO and IBF, respectively.

Promoted by rap star 50 Cent's SMS Promotions, Kirkland (31-1, 27 KOs), of Austin, TX, returns to the ring after a 21-month hiatus spent dealing with legal issues. The two-fisted wrecking machine has acquired 11 of his last 12 victories by knockout dating back to 2007 and his victory by knockout ratio is an incredible 87%. Prominent victories on his resume include Alfredo Angulo, Carlos Molina, Joel Julio and Bryan Vera.

Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs), of Birmingham, England, has collected Irish, British and European middleweight and junior middleweight titles since making his pro debut in 2001. His steady rise up the ratings matched by his impressive victories earned him his first title shot, against WBA middleweight titlist Felix Sturm in 2011, in the defending champion's backyard, Cologne, Germany. Macklin took it to Sturm from the opening bell but came up short on the judges' scorecards, losing a split decision that many observers thought reeked of “home cooking” in favor of the out-gunned Sturm His performance earned him two more title fights, against middleweight champions Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin, losing to both by stoppage.

Russ (14-0, 7 KOs), of Wilmington, NC, has twice served as WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin's lead sparring partner in previous training camps. Career highlights include spectacular back-to-back knockout victories over Jose Alonzo and Jonathan Cepeda, who boasted a combined record of 25-0 when Russ fought them in 2012. A graduate of Fayetteville State University with a degree in Business Administration, Russ has taken care of business in 2013 winning all three bouts by unanimous decision.

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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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