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So Cal Gym Hopping: Ponce De Leon and Other News

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Juan Manuel Lopez and Daniel Ponce de Leon 391e2A couple of prizefighters in the Los Angeles area are gearing up for pivotal fights this coming March.

Former featherweight and junior featherweight world champion Daniel Ponce De Leon returns to face old nemesis Juan Manuel Lopez in Puerto Rico on March 15. And former U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz has a date on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Alfredo “Perro” Angulo fight card in Las Vegas on March 8.

Both Diaz and Ponce De Leon have been doing some heavy duty sparring in Montebello and South El Monte.

“They’ve been doing some good work,” said Ben Lira, who trains Diaz in South El Monte.

Ponce De Leon needed a good southpaw and who better than the swift and elusive Diaz who was born and raised in South El Monte.

“Ponce looks pretty good,” said Lira, who’s known Ponce for many years. “He’s going to do very well in Puerto Rico.”

Back in June 2008, the Mexican southpaw was starched by a Juanma right hook in a world title defense. It was lefty- versus lefty and the Puerto Rican hit man was the better man that night in Atlantic City.

A lot of time has passed for both southpaw sluggers. Lopez was easily defeated by Southern California’s Mikey Garcia and Ponce De Leon lost the featherweight title to Abner Mares, who then lost to Jhonny Gonzalez who was earlier defeated by Ponce De Leon. It’s a vicious circle where styles dictate the winner.

“I’ve been working hard,” Ponce De Leon said recently. “He (Lopez) is a very good fighter.”

Can Ponce De Leon’s style defeat Lopez’s this time around?

We’ll see.

Other fight chatter

Sandy Tsagouris (11-2, 5 Kos) stopped Mexico’s Yolanda Segura (16-7, 10 Kos) in the third round of their featherweight bout scheduled for six rounds. The fight took place on Saturday in Ontario, Canada. Tsagouris, 32, returned to boxing after almost three years away.

Undefeated middleweight Patrick Nielsen (22-0, 11 Kos) knocked out Tony Jeter (16-4-1, 11 Kos) at 1:06 of round two. Their fight was held in Denmark on Saturday. Jeter fights out of the U.S. and Nielsen is from Denmark.

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (38-0, 32 Kos) stormed past Mexico’s Juan Kantun (21-6-3, 15 Kos) with a technical knockout at 1:01 in round six on Saturday in Chiapas, Mexico. Nicaragua’s Gonzalez is considered one of the top prizefighters pound for pound in the world and is a former junior flyweight world champion.

United Kingdom’s Dereck Chisora (20-4, 13 Kos) knocked down America’s Kevin Johnson (29-5-1, 14 Kos) once and rumbled to a 10-round unanimous decision win on Saturday in a heavyweight fight. Also, undefeated Tyson Fury (22-0, 16 Kos) won by knockout against American heavyweight Joey Abell (29-8, 28 Kos) at 1:48 of round four. Both fights took place in London, England.

New York’s Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 Kos) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision win over Emmanuel Taylor (17-2, 12 Kos) on Saturday. The 10-round welterweight match took place in Huntington, New York. Taylor fights out of Maryland.

Australia’s Daniel Geale (29-2, 15 Kos), a former middleweight world champion, met Garth Wood (12-3-1, 8 Kos) in a 12-round bout for a regional title on Wednesday Feb. 19. Geale, 32, lost the IBF middleweight title to Darren Barker last August in Atlantic City.

Fernando Garcia (18-6-2, 11 Kos) meets Mexico’s Adolfo Landeros (22-33-2) in a lightweight bout scheduled for eight rounds on Friday in San Diego. The main event takes place at the Bing Crosby Hall and is promoted by Jorge Marron Productions. For ticket information call (619) 743-0698.

IBF lightweight world titlist Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 Kos) of Mexico defends against Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18 Kos) of Russia on Saturday Feb. 22. The title match takes place in Macao, China. Also, former Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming (3-0) of China faces Thailand’s Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11 Kos) in a flyweight battle.

Mariana “Barbie” Juarez (38-7-3) challenges Melissa McMorrow (9-3-3) in a battle of former flyweight world champions on Saturday in Puebla, Mexico. Juarez is a former flyweight titlist now fighting in the junior bantamweight division. McMorrow, is the current WBO flyweight champion from San Francisco, Ca. moving up a weight division to challenge Juarez.

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (21-4) defeated Gegard Mousasi (34-4-2) by unanimous decision after five rounds. The mixed martial arts bout was held in the 185-pound middleweight division. Also, Ronaldo Souza (20-3) defeated Francis Carmont (22-8) by unanimous decision. Both fights took place in Brazil.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Michael Seals (17-0) vs. Lester Gonzalez (12-10-4).

Fri. Showtime, 10 p.m., Angelo Santana (14-1) vs. Henry Lundy (23-3-1).

Sat. HBO2, 5 p.m., Miguel Vazquez (33-3) vs. Denis Shafikov (33-0-1).

Sat. pay-per-view, 7 p.m., Ronda Rousey (8-0) vs. Sara McMann (7-0); Daniel Cormier (13-0) vs. Patrick Cummins (4-0); Rory MacDonald (15-2) vs. Demian Maia (18-5).

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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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