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Keith Thurman-Julio Diaz Set For April 26

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KEITH THURMAN, LUCAS MATTHYSSE AND OMAR FIGUEROA TO HEADLINE SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® TRIPLEHEADER
AT STUBHUB CENTER IN CARSON, CALIF., ON SATURDAY, APRIL 26

INTERIM WBA WELTERWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

KEITH THURMAN VS. JULIO DIAZ

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT BOUT

LUCAS MATTHYSSE VS. JOHN MOLINA

WBC LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

OMAR FIGUEROA JR. VS. JERRY BELMONTES

Tickets Go On Sale Tomorrow, March 27 at 10:00 a.m. PT

LOS ANGELES (March 26, 2014) – StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., has rapidly become known amongst boxing aficionados as the place to be to see world-class fights and fighters. On Saturday, April 26, that reputation continues to grow as Golden Boy Promotions and SHOWTIME Sports® team up for an all-action tripleheader featuring some of the top fighters in the sport today. In the 12-round main event, Florida power-puncher Keith “One Time” Thurman defends his interim WBA World Welterweight Championship against former World Lightweight titleholder Julio “The Kidd” Diaz.

In other televised bouts on SHOWTIME, Argentine knockout king Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse returns in a 10-round matchup against hard-hitting Californian John Molina and Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. defends his WBC Lightweight World Championship against fellow Texan Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes.

“To headline a show like this against a former world champion is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and that day is here,” said Thurman. “I respect Julio Diaz and I will not underestimate him. He knows that this may be his last shot, and I expect the best from him, but I’ll be the one leaving with the victory.”

“This is a big opportunity for me to face a fighter that is feared by many, but not by me,” said Diaz. “I have been in the ring with far more dangerous and experienced fighters in the past, and everyone knows that I come to fight. My previous opponents Amir Khan and Shawn Porter will tell you that. ”

“Molina is the kind of fighter I respect and always want to compete against,” said Matthysse. “He shows up to fight and we’re going to give the fans the kind of show they want to see. I don’t think it will last long, but it will be something to see while it does.”

“I’m excited to showcase myself against someone that I consider to be one of the best fighters in the world at 140 pounds,” said Molina. “I am very well prepared to come in on fight night and do what I do best, and that is to be victorious.”

“I am especially excited about this fight because I have wanted to get payback against Belmontes for longer than a decade,” said Figueroa. “I fought him in the amateurs and he always beat me because I was always shorter than him. Now I am taller, stronger and bigger than him and I am looking to beat him the way he beat me in the amateurs.”

“I beat Omar 5 times in the amateurs but it was just that, the amateurs, we were young,” said Belmontes. “We have taken different paths as professionals and finally they cross and we meet again… on April 26, he’ll be beaten… for the 6th time”.

Tickets priced at $150, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, go on sale tomorrow/Thursday, March 27 at 10 a.m. PT and will be available online at AXS.com, by phone at 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849) and at StubHub Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT).  VIP Suites are available by calling 877-604-8777.  For more information on group discounts or VIP packages, please call 877-234-8425.

A supreme knockout artist whose power continues to captivate more and more fans with each bout, Clearwater, Florida’s Keith “One Time” Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs) skyrocketed from prospect to contender to champion with three wins over Jan Zaveck, Diego Chaves and Jesus Soto Karass in 2013, earning the interim WBA Welterweight World title with the victory over Chaves. On April 26, the 25-year-old makes the second defense of his crown.

A respected veteran who has earned his stripes in the boxing world, Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KOs) found new life in his career with a move to the welterweight division in 2012. Since making the move, Diaz is 2-2-1, including a 10-round split draw to Shawn Porter and a hard-fought loss to world renowned Amir Khan. The 34-year-old former world lightweight champion from Coachella, Calif., would like nothing more than to win another title on April 26.

Popular Trelew, Chubut, Argentina native Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs) has been knocking opponents out for nearly 10 years, becoming one of boxing’s most feared competitors in the process. The former interim WBC Junior Welterweight World Champion, Matthysse’s last 11 wins have ended before the final bell, and after a 12-round decision loss to Danny Garcia in a terrific championship bout last September, the 31-year-old is more determined than ever to take matters out of the judges’ hands.

Covina, California’s John Molina (27-3, 22 KOs) has plenty of dynamite in his fists as well, earning him a reputation as an exciting fighter ever since he turned pro in 2006. In July 2013, the 31-year-old added to his legend with a dramatic come-from-behind last-round knockout of previously unbeaten Mickey Bey, Jr. In his most recent bout last November, the hard-hitting Molina halted Jorge Pimentel in two rounds.

Seen for years as the future of boxing, the time for Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. (22-0-1, 17 KOs) is now. In his last fight, an epic win over Nihito Arakawa last July, Figueroa won the WBC Lightweight World title in a Fight of the Year candidate. The 24-year-old of Weslaco, Texas, was scheduled to face Ricardo Alvarez on the March 8 Canelo vs. Angulo PPV event but sustained an injury in training that forced him to withdraw. On April 26, the fiery competitor returns to defend his crown for the first time against Jerry Belmontes.

Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs) proudly represents his hometown in and out of the ring, but it was his effort in the ring in March 2014 that earned him a shot at Figueroa. In that fight he won a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Australian contender Will Tomlinson. Now, more confident than ever, the 25-year-old plans on delivering another upset win on April 26.

A full undercard will be announced shortly.

Thurman vs. Diaz, a 12-round fight for Thurman’s Interim WBA Welterweight World Championship on Saturday, April 26, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T and Casamigos Tequila. It will take place at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and will air as the main event of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) and will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP). In the co-feature, Argentine knockout artist Lucas Matthysse faces hard-hitting John Molina in a 10-round junior welterweight bout that is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions. In the opening bout of the telecast, Omar Figueroa Jr. defends his WBC Lightweight title against fellow Texan Jerry Belmontes. Preliminary fights will air on SHOWTIME EXTREME®.

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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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