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Heavyweight’s Adamek and Glazkov Ready to Rumble on NBC Sports Network

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In what will likely be this weekend’s most watchable and competitive main event, heavyweight contenders Tomasz Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) and Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (16-0-1, 11 KOs) will fight a 12-round heavyweight title eliminator (IBF) at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The fight will air live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 9:00 PM ET.

The two were previously scheduled to meet last November in Verona, New York, but the fight was rescheduled after Adamek withdrew just days prior to the event because of a stomach flu. Garret Wilson took Adamek’s place, and Glazkov defeated him by unanimous decision.

The winner of the bout will move a step closer to earning a mandatory title shot at one of the belts held by Wladimir Klitschko, and more importantly, his lineal Transnational Rankings championship.

Adamek and Glazkov met the media earlier this week via telephone. Both men said they were prepared to do their best on fight night. It’s an important bout for each.

Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titleholder Adamek has been in big fights before, and he’s been a heavyweight contender since he moved up to the division in 2009. In fact, Adamek has been a consistently solid fighter for the bulk of his career.

“Every fight is big,” said Adamek. “…Ten rounds, twelve rounds, every fight is important. To be a challenger to title fights, you have to win every fight. Every fight is very important.”

While he doesn’t have the same professional pedigree as Adamek, Glazkov, an 2008 Olympic bronze medalist for Ukraine, may be emboldened by time earlier in his career spent sparring against Adamek. According to rumors, he even hurt Adamek while the two were training together.

Adamek remains unmoved.

“My opinion is sparring is sparring, [and fighting] is a different story; you have small gloves, no head gear and millions of people in the world watching you. It’s a different game. I’m looking not for what was, but what is in the future. The fight is important, and I want to show my class, my experience and win this fight.”

If Glazkov feels differently about it, he didn’t let on during the call. For him, too, sparring means little to Saturday’s fight.

“I agree that sparring is sparring, and a bout is a different story,” said Glazkov.

Glazkov said he doesn’t hold any ill will over last year’s cancelled fight. He said he believes Adamek was seriously ill and that there wasn’t any kind of shenanigans going on.

“I don’t think Tomasz was playing any kind of game… He’s an experienced fighter. He’s not scared. He knows exactly what he is doing, and he is like everybody else. He can get sick… so personally, I don’t think he was playing some kind of trick.”

Glazkov said he and his team have developed a good game plan for the fight.

“I was watching his bouts…picking out pluses and minuses, picking weak spots and strong spots…making decisions after that and using that in our preparations.”

Main Events CEO Kathy Duva told me last week Glazkov was a much better fighter than people probably knew. She said he was a good defender with a solid amateur background and had a real shot against Adamek. Speaking to the media during the call, Duva said she’s always willing to provide her television partners the best fights she can find, and that means not just pilfering them for uncompetitive showcase bouts for the fighters she promotes.

“My prospective as a promoter is that I’ve promised the television network to give them the best fights I possibly can. I am not the fighter’s manager. They both have very capable management, and so we present opportunities to them and they decide if they want to take them or not. So this opportunity arose and we presented it. Both gentlemen are convinced they are going to win, and that’s how good fights get made, when both sides believe they are going to win.”

Each fighter has good reason to believe he’ll come out on top. Adamek has been in with the best. He’s lost two professional bouts in his career, and only one at heavyweight, against Vitali Klitschko in 2011. Since that TKO 10 loss to Klitschko, Adamek has won five straight.

“I never think about losing,” said Adamek. “Because if you start thinking about that, you better not go into the ring. I am ready for a war. I am thinking good. I have big faith. I’m healthy. God [gave] me health. He [gave] me talent in the ring.”

Meanwhile, Glazkov is undefeated and feels his best years are still ahead of him. While the 29-year-old hasn’t yet faced the same level of opposition as the 37-year-old Adamek, Glazkov is confident he’s ready for the larger stage. He said that his future as a legitimate heavyweight title contender starts with a win over Adamek, and that’s his only focus.

“The ratings speak [for themselves]. I am getting to the top as much as I can. Right now I am concentrating on the bout with Tomasz, and after the bout, we will look where our ratings are going to be.”

It’s a good approach. Both fighters stand much to gain from a win, and with the relationship Main Events is building with both NBC and HBO, the winner could potentially find himself with a nice fight later this year regardless of what any alphabet organization has to say. Moreover, the heavyweight division is in dire need of legitimate competition for world champion Wladimir Klitschko. The winner of this bout moves up that list for sure.

The quote of note, by the way, goes to Adamek, who referred to himself as a “mountain boy.”

“I want to be the best. I prepare very, very hard for every fight. I’m a mountain boy. Every fight I take seriously. I am training very hard, and we are ready for a tough fight. So we will see what happens.”

The co-feature on Saturday is a ten round light heavyweight scrap between Isaac Chilemba (21-2-2, 9 KOs) and Denis Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KOs). Both bouts will air live on NBCSN Fight Night starting at 9:00 PM ET.

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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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