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Trainer House and Stiverne Are A Good Team

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Bermane-StiverneDon-House1-20-2014 32d1bBermane Stiverne & Don House

OTTAWA, Canada (January 19, 2014) – The impending World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship fight to determine the successor of recently retired Vitali Klitschko, matching the WBC's top two contenders, respectively, WBC Silver champion Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne (23-1, 20 KOs) against Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs), is extra special for Stiverne's veteran head trainer, Don House.

“First,” he explained, “I've been with Bermane since the first day and that's really why this is so special for me. It's also special for me because I've been part of teams for world champions – Diego Corrales, Kevin Kelly, Joan Guzman, Frankie Liles and others – but I've never been the head trainer of the world heavyweight champion or a WBC world champion.

“Bermane has grown a lot since the beginning (pro debut July 29, 2005). He was young and a little immature back them. The first time I saw him hitting the heavy-bag I said I could make him a champ and give him the discipline he needed. He liked to say he was a boxer but the last couple of years he has believed he'd be world champion. There's been no stopping him since the Arreola fight.”

Last April in his second successful WBC heavyweight title eliminator, Stiverne successfully defended his WBC Silver belt, winning an impressive 12-round unanimous decision (118-109, 117-110, 117-10) over Arreola, breaking his opponent's nose and dropping him in the third round despite a serious right shoulder injury that was aggravated during their fight.

The strong bond between House and Stiverne, who seeks to become the first Haitian World Heavyweight Champion, goes beyond a trainer-fighter relationship. “House is like a big brother to me,” Stiverne said from training camp in Las Vegas where they both live. “The relationship isn't on a business level, it's more like family. In my amateur days, I was more of a brawler, but House taught me how to box and be smart in the ring. I knew how to fight and go toe-to-toe back in the day but he taught me to relax in the ring, be calm, and use skills I never knew I had. With him and my conditioning coach, Victor Vargotski, I have the best team I could ever have.”

“Don House has been with Bermane from day one,” Stiverne's manager Camille Estephan commented. “He is one helluva coach and an excellent person. He and Victor Vargotski have been by Bermane every step of the way. Together, we truly form a family. The bond is very strong and I believe this makes a difference in the sense that there is true trust established, which gives Bermane peace of mind and faith in what he is working on in the gym. This is truly priceless.”

Three scheduled purse bids for mandatory challenger Stiverne to challenge Klitschko were postponed, however, nothing can deter Stiverne and the WBC eventually mandated his world title fight versus Arreola for the vacant belt. They may not know exactly where or when, yet, but Stiverne and House are preparing as if this is not a rematch with Arreola.

“I've evaluated this fight and we have been going at this like Bermane hasn't fought Arreola before, as if everything is brand new,” House noted. “Can Arreola bring anything into this fight differently? No. He may come to fight in the best shape of his life but he doesn't have the skills to beat Bermane. He doesn't have the power or speed that Bermane does. Arreola will be right there, Bermane won't have to look for him, and he will be ready to fight 12 rounds.

“I never hear anything about injuries or illness from Bermane until after the fight in the locker-room. He keeps that stuff to himself and I didn't know how badly he hurt his shoulder during training camp. And he hurt himself during the fight, too. This fight he is going to finish things. He fought sick in the Ray Austin fight (101 temperature in Stiverne's first WBC eliminator win). It just shows how much heart and balls he has; no excuses, ever, from Bermane.”

The 34-year-old Stiverne, noted, “My injured right shoulder was the reason I had to go with plan B and why I didn't throw a lot of right hands. I dropped him with the only right I threw with power that landed. I came out to finish him the next (fourth) round but slipped and pulled a muscle in my back. I wouldn't let that bother me, though, despite how painful it was. I kept going and followed the plan to get a W and was rushed to the hospital right after the fight. I learned that, whatever the issue, I still fight like a warrior and that's the real meaning of no pain, no gain.”

The WBC ordered the promoters of the two fighters – Don King Productions (Stiverne) and Goossen-Tutor Promotions (Arreola) – to negotiate but the fight is slated to go to a WBC purse bid in Mexico on Monday, Jan. 24 unless an agreement is reached prior to the already extended deadline.

“The world heavyweight title means you're the baddest man on the planet,” House concluded, “unlike a Tiger Woods, 'Magic' Johnson or even Floyd Mayweather. This title brings a different twist to sports.”

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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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