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Antonio Orozco, Dominic Breazeale, Julian Ramirez & Manny Robles at Media Day

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MONTEBELLO, CALIF—Junior welterweight contender Antonio Orozco led a squad of prizefighters ranging from bantamweight to heavyweight in a media day on Thursday morning.

Golden Boy Promotions staged the meet and greet for Orozco (pictured) and the others who will be fighting on Friday, Jan. 24, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. Fox Sports 1 will televise the boxing card that includes many prospects and contenders.

Many liken Orozco to a Mexican version of Miguel Cotto with his low crouch and high guard. The boxer from San Diego has risen through the junior welterweight ranks with the usual bumps and grinds expected of most prospects. But the competition stiffened last year and continues with his next assignment: to defeat Miguel Angel Huerta.

Funny thing. Huerta was formerly managed by Frank Espinoza, who now manages Orozco. It’s just one of those quirks that can happen in the sport of pro boxing.

“Yes, they told me a little about him,” said Orozco. “He’s a very tough guy. That’s why they signed him in the first place.”

Orozco will have to find a way to navigate through Huerta’s danger zone.

“The only thing I can do is prepare hard for each fight,” said Orozco, who defeated hard nosed Jose Reynoso last year in Las Vegas.

Heavyweights

Former US Olympian Dominic Breazeale (8-0, 8 Kos) returns to Indio, where he’s fought in the past, to meet Homero Fonseca (10-6-3). The heavyweight bronze medalist is managed by Al Haymon and, he says, has no compunction about fighting any of the top heavyweights.

“If they want to give me a shot I’m definitely going to take it,” said the tall heavyweight who recently moved to Rancho Cucamonga.

Coaching the heavyweight is John Bray, a former heavyweight prospect during his day who also coached in The Contender reality television series.

“Dominick is a really grounded person and takes advice well,” said Bray, who sparred with a number of great heavyweights during the 1980s. “He’s a future champion of the world.”

Also appearing on the fight card is heavyweight Gerald Washington, who is more known for being a former linebacker on the USC Trojans football team.

Julian Ramirez

Julian Ramirez (9-0, 6 Kos) has rocketed up the listings of standouts. The East L.A. boxer knows he has a quick opponent in Derrick Wilson (10-5-2),who has tripped up several undefeated prospects in the past, like Braulio Santos and Charles Huerta.

“I’ve been sparring with quick guys,” said Ramirez. “I know Wilson is a little tricky with his speed. I’m ready for him.”

Ramirez said not to expect a laid-back fight.

“I’m an aggressive fighter,” said Ramirez, who is managed by Joel De La Hoya. “I like knockouts. But I know there are guys you can’t knock out.”

Manny Robles Jr.

Robles (4-0, 2 Kos) is a third generation fighter whose late grandfather and namesake was one of the top trainers for many years in Southern California. That’s built in pressure for Robles who fights an opponent who has 12 fights with only two defeats, in Ricky Lopez.

“It’s like any other fight to me,” said Robles,who is trained by his father Manuel Robles II. “They’re saying that I made a mistake fighting him.”

Robles is managed by Al Haymon and said his favorite fighter of all time is former world champion Martin Castillo.

“I loved the way he fought,” said Robles, at Daniel Ponce De Leon’s boxing gym in Montebello. “I liked the way he moved around.”

Others training at the gym, but not part of the media day, include lightweight world champion Miguel Vazquez and Giovanni Segura. One of the trainers at the Montebello gym is former world champion from the 1990s, Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez.

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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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