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Crowded L.A. Card Brings the Stars

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LOS ANGELES-A near packed house saw numerous out-of-state and out-of-the country matched bouts with several surprise endings on Saturday night.

The beautiful Westin Bonaventure Hotel was filled from end to end with a boisterous crowd that included celebrities such as James “Lights Out” Toney, Giovani Segura, Kassim “The Dream” Ouma and Beverly Hills power attorney Robert Shapiro. It was promoted by All Star Promotions.

My drive into downtown L.A. was detoured a bit by traffic and a long line at the ticket booth so the first bout passed before I entered the doors.

The first bout I witnessed was a heavyweight bout between Rashi Akzhigitov and Eduardo Ramirez that ended quickly in the first round. Body shots by the bigger Akzhigitov sent Arizona’s Ramirez (1-2) slumped to the floor for a knockdown. He got up but was met by another thumping body shot and did not get up again. Akzhigitov (1-0) was declared the winner by technical knockout in round one.

Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe (4-0, 2Kos), who is supported by both Toney and Buddy McGirt, defeated the much taller Wilberth Lopez (5-4), a southpaw from Arizona. Despite the reach disadvantage, Dogboe used his speedy right hand to catch Lopez cleanly almost every round. Dogboe won by unanimous decision.

In a small shocker, Panama’s much touted Israel “Bomaye” Duffus (6-2, 5 Kos) entered the ring as a clear favorite against Sacramento’s Lamont Williams (6-6-1, 3 Kos). Allegedly the California State Athletic Commission almost did not approve the cruiserweight fight because Williams had been defeated five consecutive times and had not won a fight since 2011.

Duffus was quick, strong and flashy with his boxing approach. A quick right and left to the head by Duffus sent Williams to the floor for the count in the first round. The second round was also bad for Williams who could have quit the fight. He was getting beat to the punch but hung in.

The third round saw Duffus begin to fight with his hands down to prove to Williams he was too quick to be caught. Bad idea. A Williams left hook caught Duffus on the chin and a stunned looked crossed his face. The crowd saw the Panamanian’s look and Williams stormed forward looking to end the fight. Duffus did not know what to do and ran into a right hand and down he went. The referee began to count but could see Duffus was not coherent and ended the fight. Williams was back in the win column.

A junior middleweight bout between Japan’s Gaku Takahashi (13-5-1, 6 Kos) and Las Vegas’ Brian Gordon (4-4-1) ended in a majority decision win for Takahashi, who entered the ring wearing Mexican flag trunks. Two judges favored the more aggressive Takahashi over the pot shot counters of Gordon.

San Francisco’s Brandon Adams (2-2) survived a first round knockdown to win by technical knockout over debuting Alphonso Sanchez in a junior middleweight clash. Sanchez nearly stopped Adams in the first round but had energy from the second round to the fourth. Adams saw the opportunity and unleashed a dozen punches on Sanchez, who could barely keep his hands up. Sanchez left the ring exhausted and needed to be helped to the dressing area.

Saul Bustos (1-0) won his pro debut by decision over Japan’s Tatsuro Irie (0-6) after four rounds of a junior middleweight contest.

A junior featherweight contest saw Arizona’s Walter Santibanes (6-2, 2 Kos) survive six rounds with Azat Hohvannseyan (6-2, 4 Kos) to win a majority decision. The difference was a second round knockdown during a furious exchange.

Vicente Guzman (2-4-1) pulled out a win with a final round knockdown of Manuel Reyes (3-3) to win by majority decision. Reyes was ahead on points when the welterweight bout entered the sixth round but Guzman landed a counter right for a knockdown of Reyes and that proved the difference.

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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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