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Thabiso Mchunu Looks To Be No Wizard of Oz

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Thabiso Mchunu was introduced to me, for a phoner, as the “great and powerful” Thabiso Mchunu, by the superb Main Events publicity chief Ellen Haley.

I made a joke about presuming that this South African cruiserweight contender turning out to be more substantive than the other dude we think of when hearing that “great and powerful” line, the Wizard of Oz, who turned out to be a charlatan working with a bag of tricks including special effects and a booming sound system.

Mchunu (age 26; lives in Cato Ridge, SA, a predominately Zulu region; has two children, still lives with parents) started boxing at age eight, after following his dad, who worked as a cop in South Africa, to a gym, and watching dad smash a heavy bag.

He had success as an amateur and then turned pro in 2007. He fought in his homeland and then for the first time, hit the US, and made a decent-sized splash. His UD10 win over Eddie Chambers told people that Mchunu was something better than a C plus grade hitter. It remains to be seen how high his celing is. In his last outing, in January, he scored another UD10, this time over Olanrewaju Durodola (17-1) in a flip a coin scrap of which you see a fair number of on Main Events/NBC cable shows.

On Saturday night, you can see for himself Mchunu’s upside; he takes on 13-7-1 Garrett Wilson at Foxwoods, with a Karl Dargan-Angino Perez fight underneath.

Wilson has one of those records that may or may not be deceiving, depending on how closely you have followed his career. Is he a legit 13-7, or could he be 18-2, and got screwed over because he wasn’t connected? He comes in off back to back losses, to Alex Alekseev, and then Czar Glazkov, a bout he entered into as a late fill-in.

Mchunu told me he respects Wilson but “I will take him to a place he has never been.”

The South African said we can expect him to both lead and counter, be versatile, show hand speed, movement and power.

His promoter, Kathy Duva, filled me in on how Mchunu came to Main Events. “We found Thabiso when his promoter from South Africa, Damian Michael, began to call (matchmaker) Jolene (Mizzone) and ask if she would put Thabiso on one of our cards,” Duva told me. “He called frequently and said that Thabiso would fight absolutely anyone. So when Eddie Chambers decided to move down to cruiser and Jo had a hard time finding anyone who would agree to face him, Jo called Damian’s bluff. Turns out he wasn’t bluffing!”

Duva is a fan of his personality, as well as his ring skills. “He is charming, articulate, extremely talented, and a true ‘bad-a**.’ He actually will fight anyone and we love to work with guys who welcome a challenge. ”

Longer term, he’s got the bluster of the Wizard. Asked who he targets next, should he down Wilson, Mchunu said, “I can defeat any of the fighters who have cruiserweight titles. The Polish fighter, Hernandez, any of them. They haven’t dealt with anything like me.”

Duva concurs. “In my opinion, Thabiso is a blue chip prospect for whom there are no limits. He wants to take on all the champions in the division, and I expect he will defeat them. I would not be surprised if Thabiso ended up owning his division with the next couple of years.”

Here is a release which went out which fills you in on the Dargan clash, and the air date for the card:

Dargan vs. Perez Scouting Report:

Who Will Win In A Battle of Speed Versus Power?

“Dynamite” Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Mashantucket, CT: Undefeated lightweight contender Karl “Dynamite” Dargan will face a fierce rival when he takes on Angino “The Nightmare” Perez on Sept. 20, 2014 at Foxwoods Resort Casino and live on the special afternoon edition of Fight Night on NBC. Dargan’s biggest asset is his speed but Perez has power in his arsenal. Who will win this battle of speed versus power? Below is the scouting report for the Junior NABF Lightweight Championship:

Karl “Dynamite” Dargan

Age : 29

Record : 16-0 (8 KOs)

Strength : Dargan is a good technical fighter with great hand speed. He is very elusive, making it tough for opponents to hit him.

Weakness : At 16-0, he has not faced the class of fighters that Perez has faced.

Experience : Dargan had a long and successful amateur career. He also trained with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and “Sugar” Shane Mosley.

Power : His power comes out during his flurries of punches, seen in his last fight when he knocked out Anthony Flores in the fifth round.

Speed : Dargan has the speed advantage in both his hands and his feet, his speed may be his biggest asset on offense and defense.

Endurance : Dargan has been ten rounds just once in his career, when he defeated Michael Brooks in late 2013. His endurance is yet to be tested.

Accuracy : Dargan possesses effective accuracy; he picks his shots wisely and is a great counter-puncher.

Defense : Dargan is a defensive fighter who has never been stopped. His defense may be the best part of his game.

Chin : Dargan has been down in his career before but has managed to rise to the occasion and remain undefeated.

Style : Dargan is a technical fighter with great defense and counter-punching abilities.

Angino Perez

Age : 31

Record : 16-5 (14 KOs)

Strength : Good height and reach advantage with knockout power in both hands, 14 of his 16 wins have all come by way of knockout.

Weakness : Perez has five losses and has been stopped in three of them, so his chin is a concern.

Experience : Although he came up short in all of them, Perez has been in the ring with current champions and former title challengers such as current WBA Lightweight Champion Richard Abril, Carlos Molina, and Ashley Theophane.

Power : Perez has the advantage in power, having recorded 14 knockouts in 16 victories.

Speed : Perez has average speed.

Endurance : Perez has only been past the fourth round once (in 2012 in a ten-round unanimous decision loss to Carlos Molina), so his endurance is still a question.

Accuracy : Angino possesses average accuracy, he throws a lot of punches but does not pick his shots as well as Dargan.

Defense : Perez has a tendency to throw wide and looping punches that can leave him open for Dargan to take advantage.

Chin : All three of Perez’s stoppage losses were in bouts at higher weight classes, so he may have an edge fighting at lightweight.

Style : Perez likes to utilize his size and reach to keep you on the outside, as well as mixing in flurries of punches to overwhelm his opponents.

The Match-Up :

Will Dargan be able to demonstrate that he’s ready for bigger fights?

Will Perez be able to handle Dargan’s speed?

Will Dargan be able to handle Perez’s power?

Will Perez’s drop in weight class help or hurt him?

“The Nightmare” Photo Courtesy of: Sweatbox Boxing & Fitness

Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva said, “‘Dynamite’ Dargan is right on the cusp of becoming the next big thing in the lightweight division. An impressive win against Angino Perez will put him over the top. Perez has a style that will be entertaining for fans and could be dangerous for Dargan, as well as experience against elite fighters. This is a great match up for NBC that I’m sure Fight Night fans will enjoy.”

About September 20:

The Sep. 20th special afternoon edition of NBC Fight Night will take place at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT and will feature a ten-round cruiserweight match-up between Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu and Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson for the NABF Cruiserweight Title and a ten-round lightweight match-up between Karl “Dynamite” Dargan and Angino “The Nightmare” Perez for the Junior NABF Lightweight Title. The undercard bouts will be announced shortly. Tickets are $100, $75 and $40 and are available through Foxwoods.com and Ticketmaster.com. The card is presented by Main Events, Peltz Boxing and Showpony Promotions in association with Banner Promotions. The special NBC Fight Night broadcast will begin live at 3:00 PM ET/12:00 PM PT.

NBC Sports Live Extra:

NBC Sports Live Extra: NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will live stream Fight Night at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT on September 20. For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

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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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