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NEWS ON: Tarver Jr. Fight

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Antonio Tarver Jr’s auspices pro debut made with 5-time world champion father working his corner

MIAMI (October 3, 2014) – The auspices professional debut of Antonio Tarver, Jr. this past Monday in Texas resulted in an impressive fourth-round technical knockout over Zachary Briones.

His father, 5-time world light heavyweight champion Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (30-6, 21 KOs), was supposed to headline a Golden Boy-promote card on Fox Sports 1 against veteran Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs), however, a fracture of his hand forced Tarver to withdraw from the fight but he did work his son’s corner.

“I’m so proud of Antonio,” his beaming father commented after the fight. “He busted up his opponent and worked the ring. He’s a good, humble kid; no smoke and mirrors. I’m elated, really proud of him to see how hard he worked to start his professional career. He has transformed before my eyes. I was able to see and recognize his potential. He really let his hands go. Remember, Antonio only had a few amateur fights and five weeks of training camp.

“Boxing is our lifestyle and he’s motivated me. My little injury has been a little setback. I wasn’t fighting but I was in the corner supporting my son and it was a real thrill for me. He has the opportunity to be as big as anybody in boxing. I never knew he had it (talent). I pushed him away from boxing but he made the decision to fight. My dream of becoming world heavyweight champion hasn’t changed and I plan to be back fighting before the end of this year, hopefully, with my son fighting on the undercard.”

Tarver Jr. grew up playing basketball and football, not boxing, in Daytona Beach. He was always at his father’s side in the gym and at fights and those experiences have proved to be invaluable.

“It was a beautiful experience,” Antonio Jr said about his pro debut. “I was a little nervous but kept my poise. I walked out with my father when he fought Roy Jones Jr. before 43,000 people, so I was prepared for the crowd. I just prayed and embraced it all. Orlando (the Tarver’s head trainer Orlando Cuellar) kept saying to embrace everything and just do what I worked on in the gym. He got my mind right to perform. My opponent rushed me at first but I kept my composure and started working angles. I hit him with a lot of shots and only really got caught once. I felt I could have done better and gave myself a B grade. It was wonderful and I was super excited.

“I’m so happy my father was in my corner. I know I’m a marked man because of my last name. Anybody would like to beat a Tarver, the older or younger, so I’ve been branded. I was aware of that going into the fight. I got my feet wet and I’ll get much better.”

Cuellar agrees that Antonio Jr’s last name places a target on his 26-year-old fighter’s back. “With his last name,” Cuellar noted, “Antonio Jr. is a marked man and he understands, but he’s going through a process to be his own man. We clicked right away. The kid has done everything I’ve told him. He’s very cooperative and willing, dedicated and a hard worker. He sparred more than 55 rounds with 10 different sparring partners I brought in. Each one was much more experienced than Antonio and he improved each session. He’s grounded but I didn’t expect that he’d be so collected in his first pro fight. It was almost like he’d done it before. Being at his father’s fights for so long helped him be prepared for his pro debut. He also got his father’s input in the corner.

“His opponent was 1-1 but he was resilient and aggressive. Junior did in the fight what he had done in the gym. He made adjustments and let his hands go, throwing punches in bunches. At one point I told him to go toe-to-toe to get used to it. He did and pivoted right out when I told him. By making adjustment in his first pro fight, he showed me he listens. Junior finished strong like he started and I expect him to improve every fight.”

(L-R): Angela Mitchell, who handles cuts, head trainer Orlando Cuellar,
Antonio Tarver Jr. and Antonio Tarver

Father and son will be traveling this weekend from Tampa to Miami to start training Monday at Brazilian Rocky Fight Club.

“It’s all up to him (Antonio Jr.),” the 1996 U.S. Olympian Tarver added. “I will be at his side and Orlando is a great trainer, the X factor for both of us. He’s raw but so talented. The more people who see him fight are going to fall in love with him….even if he didn’t have his last name. He’s going to be a star. Right now, he’s as exciting to watch as fighters with 10-15 fights. He needs to learn how to generate power and fight from a distance, but that will come in time with experience.

“I see a lot of me in him, of course. He’s my son, who grew up watching me, but he chose to be a fighter. He will try to emulate me but, it’s not about me, it’s all about him. He understands his position and that he has to deal with being a fighter named Tarver.”

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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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