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Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez Wins Vacant WBO Flyweight Title

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Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez dominated from the opening bell to win the vacant WBO female flyweight world title by unanimous decision against southpaw Ana Arrazola on Friday in San Diego.

A packed crowd coming from Mexico and the U.S. saw the smiling Enriquez (13-0, 6 Kos) perform impressively at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Arrazola (21-11-2, 13 Kos), from Mexico City, never could get a foothold in the 10 round fight.

“It was a very complicated fight,” said Enriquez after the fight. “She would never stay in front of me.”

With the opening bell Enriquez attacked with powerful punches that seemed to startle Arrazola with their ferocity. It was clear that the former minimum weight world champion expected a more placid and deliberate fight. It was deliberate in only that Enriquez was looking for a knockout in every round.

The crowd on one side of the large hotel reception room shouted intensely every single round with instructions and encouragement. But the cheers were not needed. Enriquez was intent on proving her superiority and that she was superior in speed, power and agility. Arrazola felt the early blows and seemed surprised by the power. For the next nine rounds the Mexico City boxer seemed resigned to surviving, not winning the fight.

Even Enriquez’s jabs had power. She rammed them right through Arrazola’s guard and the power would move her back a step. Straight right leads from Enriquez snapped through Arrazola’s guard and left hooks ripped through too.

Arrazola never stood in one spot and never allowed the Tijuana fighter to pin her against the ropes. The Mexico City boxer always circled and though she never initiated an attack, she also never allowed Enriquez to put full power into her punches.

Though Enriquez smiled frequently in between rounds in her corner, she looked like a heat-seeking missile that would be satisfied with a knockout and nothing else. After five rounds of thorough domination she walked back to her corner with a smile but when the bell rang to begin the next round she slipped into another degree of intensity.

The blows came more frequently from Enriquez and from various angles in the sixth round. Arrazola used all of her technique and wisdom gained from more than 30 fights to fend off the fierce attack. She parried some of the blows and rolled with the punches to reduce the impact of the blistering right hands and hooks. It was the most intense attack of the night. Enriquez would have gained a knockout if the round was three minutes instead of two minutes. But the round ended and Arrazola had survived.

Enriquez softened her attack in the seventh then resumed another fierce attack in round eight. Though not as intense, it was still strong and Arrazola seemed surprised that Enriquez still had the energy. The Tijuana boxer seemed locked in and never seemed to tire.

In the ninth round Enriquez moved in for a knockout again with laser rights that looked beautiful in their speed and technique. A few shots to the body got a reaction from Arrazola, who was determined to not go down. The southpaw would not allow Enriquez to pin her on the ropes and would not stand in front of her for more than 10 seconds. It was a wise plan.

Though Arrazola had not been able to mount an attack at any point in the fight, she did show what could be done to survive. Remarkably the Mexico City boxer never held in the fight. Instead, she parried and circled continuously without running. It was a solid plan but she could never get a bead on Enriquez.

The final round saw Enriquez rip a right hand immediately after shaking Arrazola’s hand with a smile. Friend or no friend, the Tijuana fighter was looking for a knockout win and was taking no prisoners. When the round ended it was clear that Enriquez was the victor.

All three judges scored every round for Enriquez 100-90, 100-90 and 100-89.

“It was the most difficult fight of my life,” said Enriquez. “Whenever I tried to end the fight she would move or do something to get away. But I expect to see this type of fight again in this level.”

Enriquez has also shown that she can bring crowds from both sides of the border

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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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