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Counting Down To The Second Shadow Box Film Festival

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The fascinating worlds of filmmaking and boxing will intersect when the second annual Shadow Box Film Festival unspools at the School of Visual Arts Theater in Manhattan on December 6th and 7th.

Building upon the success of last year’s inaugural festival, the Shadow Box Film Festival continues to be the only film festival dedicated to screening films about the sweet science, providing filmmakers from around the world a venue for their works to be seen.

“Last year’s festival was an incredible success,” said festival director David Schuster. “We are now building on that with another fine slate of boxing films, as well as some classic John Garfield titles hosted by his daughter Julie Garfield.” Schuster continued: “Also the films in this year’s festival are more diversified and have more of an international flavor.”

This year’s festival will showcase twenty four boxing films, including eleven features. The films were shot or produced in six different countries.

One country that will be well represented in this year’s festival is Ireland, which will have two films from acclaimed documentarian Andrew Gallimore included in the program, along with a short film from Matthew Dobbyn.

Gallimore’s first entry, “The Gentleman Prizefighter,” is a documentary about former heavyweight champion James J. Corbett and is narrated by Oscar nominated actor, and former amateur boxer, Liam Neeson. His second film, “A Bloody Canvas,” is the story of light heavyweight champion Mike McTigue.

Belfast’s Dobbyn will debut with “Stealing the Show,” a short film that profiles current professional middleweight Dee Walsh.

Over three thousand miles away from the Emerald Isle, Iranian filmmaker Yahya Ghobadi contacted the festival about his animated film, “Return,” now scheduled to be screened.

“The fact that we have a film from an Iranian filmmaker is exceptional and exciting,” explained festival advisory board member Robert Cassidy Jr., who oversees film selection. “The channels of communication required to secure the film were complicated, but now we have the middle -east represented in our festival,” enthused Cassidy. “Somehow a filmmaker in Iran found our festival!”

Complimenting the international flavor of the festival will be old fashioned Hollywood melodrama in the form of two John Garfield gems, “They Made Me a Criminal,” (Friday, December 6th) and the all-time classic “Body and Soul” (Saturday, December 7th).The Saturday evening screening will be hosted by the actor’s daughter, Julie Garfield.

On both evenings of the festival actors who have helped enhance the image of the boxer on film will be honored with an award in Garfield’s name.

Burt Young (“Rocky”) will receive the award on the 6th and Holt McCallany (“Lights Out”) will receive his award from Ms. Garfield on the 7th. An additional “Garfield” award will be presented to SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes on the evening of the 6th. Mr. Rhodes is receiving the honor in recognition of his unwavering support for the Shadow Box Film Festival and the students at SVA in their pursuit of artistic excellence.

In addition to SVA, the festival has also received support from corporate sponsors Maxim Group, and Anthony Garguilo’s A.S.G. Pest & Termite Management, both of Long Island.

The festival itself will show its unflagging support of boxers this year by making a charitable contribution to a fighter requiring help with medical expenses.

Two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi makes his acting debut in “Omerta,” a crime film directed by Craig Tubiolo, and screening the same day, Saturday, as Malignaggi’s battle with Zab Judah across the river at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Another world champion turned thespian, and festival advisory board member, Michael Bentt captured his thoughts on the festival by stating, “The films for this festival not only appeal to the boxing fan, but to anyone who is drawn to the art of great storytelling.”

The 2nd annual Shadow Box Film Festival takes place Friday, December 6th, and Saturday, December 7th at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street) in Manhattan. For tickets call (800) 838-3006. Website: www.boxingfilmfest.com

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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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