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Khan, Devon, Thurman, Mares, Others Talk Holidays and Dec. 13 SHO Scraps

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“ROYAL BATTLE: AMIR KHAN VS. DEVON ALEXANDER” FIGHTERS

DISCUSS TRAINING CAMP AND THE HOLIDAY SEASON
AS THEY PREPARE FOR THEIR SATURDAY, DEC. 13 BOUTS
AT THE MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA IN LAS VEGAS

QUADRUPLEHEADER LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 8, 2014) – With the holiday season upon us, fighters preparing to participate in the stacked Dec. 13 event taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®, take a break from training to discuss their progress in camp and what they are most grateful for during this festive season.

The following answers offer some insight into the fighters’ training camp regiments.

Q: Training camp is nearly over. How has camp been going so far?

AMIR KHAN (AK), WBA International and WBC Silver Welterweight Champion (Training in the Bay Area, Calif.): Camp has been great. We’re working hard and feeling in the best shape ever. I can’t wait for the fight.

DEVON ALEXANDER (DA), Former Two-Division World Champion (Training in St. Louis, Mo.): Camp is going tremendously well. I’m getting more and more anxious as the fight approaches.

KEITH THURMAN (KT), Interim WBA Welterweight Champion (Training in St. Petersburg, Fla.): Training camp is great, I have great sparing partners and we train three times a week and add some cardio to the mix. It’s good, this is my job, my office, we stay in the gym and work at the gym to make the fight look easy.

ABNER MARES (AM), Former Three-Time, Three-Division World Champion (Training in Los Angeles, Calif.): Camp has been great! I’m back with my old team and coach that took me to three world titles and it’s been going really well.

JERMALL AND JERMELL CHARLO – CHARLO TWINS (CT), Undefeated Junior Middleweight Contenders (Training in Houston, Texas): We’re feeling good. This is the best camp we’ve ever shared together.

ERROLL SPENCE JR. (ES), Undefeated Junior Middleweight Prospect (Training in Dallas, Texas): Training camp has been great. I’m on weight and I’ll be ready to fight on Dec. 13.

VICTOR ORTIZ (VO), Former welterweight champion (Training in Indio, Calif.): I’ve been working hard and learning from coach Joel Diaz; it’s definitely been a solid camp.

Q: Fight night is a little less than two weeks away. How are you feeling physically?

AK: I’m feeling strong and sharp. This is one of my best camps, a lot of hard work has been put in and it will pay off on fight night. I’m excited to fight. It’s been a long time.

DA: Physically I feel good. I’m in tremendous shape. And with two weeks to go I’ll be right on schedule.

KT: I feel strong. I am dropping weight on schedule and am looking forward to getting back in the ring after this minor layoff.

AM: Physically I can honestly say that I’m always ready and I’m ready to fight, but the mental part to me is the most important thing and mentally I’m ready to win one fight at a time until I become world champion once again.

CT: Knowing that we’re both fighting step-up fights we pushed each other to the maximum.

ES: I’m feeling really good. I’ve been sparring 10-12 rounds with 30-second breaks without any problem.

VO: I’m feeling great just making sure I pay attention to my coaches and work hard every day.

Q: What have you been doing to pass the time when you are not in the gym or training?

AK: I’m relaxing and resting. I spend time studying Devon’s style. My brother and dad are in town so I have company. We go out to the mall or for walks. I’m a very chill guy.

DA: Well when I’m getting ready for a fight I’m completely zoned in on that fight, so I don’t do much. I train and then I’m back home. Maybe I’ll see a movie every now and then.

KT: Lately I have been playing musical instruments on my down time, it’s entertaining.

AM: Spending time with my family. I’ve been spending the most time ever with my kids and wife and it’s really important to me and it’s what I love to do when I’m not working.

CT: We spend time with our families. Jermell just bought a new house. Things are getting better in life for both of us. We’re also traveling and experiencing different boxing styles.

ES: I like to go to the movies and watch TV. I’ve also been spending time hanging out with family and friends.

VO: I spend my time in gyms or doing something outdoorsy.

Q: What is your biggest motivation during training camp?

AK: My father and coach. They motivate me and get the best out of me. Especially when I’m tired and down and missing my family and my little girl Lamaisah. Also Lamaisah is a huge motivation, I’m doing this for her.

DA: My biggest motivation during training is knowing that I’m closer than ever to being one of the best in boxing and becoming a household name.

KT: That it’s not over. My future is bright, and it motivates me to work harder every day.

AM: Now and always has been my family.

ES: The biggest motivation during training camp is knowing that I’ll be boxing on TV and I have the opportunity to showcase my skills in front of everyone.

VO: To be that best that I can be to myself.

Below are some of the “ROYAL BATTLE: KHAN VS. ALEXANDER” fighters’ favorite holiday traditions and an account of what makes them feel most appreciative.

Q: What is your fondest memory of the holidays?

AK: Spending time with family and having a break, just not thinking of anything else but family time. Also helping families in need and charities through Amir Khan Foundation.

DA: My fondest memory of the holidays are me and the family getting together and being with each other and seeing each other. We are a close family.

KT: Eating plenty of food with family and friends.

AM: I have many fond memories of making “buñuelos,” which are Mexican fried sweet dough sprinkled with cinnamon, for Christmas with my mom.

CT: Flag football is always the best part of the holidays.

ES: Spending time with my family is what’s most important to me.

VO: No memories really I’m always in camp holiday time.

Q: What is your favorite holiday tradition to participate in?

AK: Eid, which is a Muslim celebration where the family spends time together and we have dinner and give presents and money to the kids.

DA: One of my favorite holiday traditions is to be at my mom’s house and see everyone eating all that food and laughing and joking.

KT: Pretty much eating – dessert is my favorite. I’m going to tear up the desert tray at Christmas.

AM: Thanksgiving is always great because my family always take turns to say what we are thankful for and it’s great to hear everyone’s blessings.

ES: My favorite is cutting the turkey at Thanksgiving.

VO: I would have to say Halloween just to see the scary people and costumes.

Q: If you could invite one historical figure to a holiday dinner or celebration this season who would it be, and why?

AK: Muhammad Ali, he is my boxing hero and Mike Tyson who is now a friend. It would just be good to talk about boxing and they can tell me about their careers.

DA: If I had to pick a historic figure to come celebrate with it would be President Barack Obama. He is one of the most influential people of my day.

KT: Jesus, because he is the King of Kings and his spirit lives on.

AM: It would be Cesar Chavez to thank him for fighting for my people and our rights as immigrants.

VO: That’s a fun question. There’s so many people around that I wouldn’t really know who…

Q: What’s the one holiday food item or fixing that you must have this season?

AK: Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, sweet potatoes and big bowl of salad.

DA: My favorite holiday dish that I’m waiting on is the collard greens or I could say the baked macaroni.

KT: I must have a nice apple pie. I haven’t had one in a long time.

AM: The ones that I can’t wait for are Mexican tamales and buñuelos.

CT: Gumbo!

ES: My mom’s sweet potato pie!

VO: Some pumpkin pie.

Q: What have you been most thankful for so far in 2014?

AK: My baby daughter Lamaisah, who was born in May. It’s a great feeling being a father and it’s further motivation in my career.

DA: What I’m most thankful for is being able to still be here getting blessed with tremendous opportunities. There’s so much that I’m thankful for.

KT: Thankful that I’m here, this life, this blessing and for the experience of growth. And I am thankful for the many more years in the sport and life in general.

AM: My health and being able to help others in some way.

CT: We’re most thankful for having a very close family. We’re very grateful of for all that Ronnie Shields and Al Haymon have made possible. Al gave us the chance and now we’re thankful for our position in the sport of boxing. We’re getting closer and closer to world titles.

ES: My health and the support that I get from my family and friends.

VO: To a great team that I have from Coach Joel, Coach Hoss, Coach Antonio, Coach Jose and Al Haymon, the Watson family and Scott Karp and Sam Spira. I have lots of good people in my corner in and out of boxing.

# # #

“Royal Battle: Khan vs. Alexander,” a 12-round welterweight bout for the WBC Silver Welterweight Title, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Khan Promotions and The Great Promotions and is sponsored by Corona Extra, AT&T and Mexico – Live It To Believe It! The event will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. and will air on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). In the co-main event, Keith Thurman defends his interim WBA Welterweight World Title against Leonard Bundu. Additionally, Abner Mares will face Jose Ramirez in a 10-round featherweight bout and opening the telecast, Jermall Charlo will meet Lenny Bottai in a 12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Title eliminator. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP). Preliminary bouts will be televised on SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT).

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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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