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Rigo Promises Fireworks on New Year’s Eve

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Guillermo Rigondeaux promises explosive Fireworks display New Year’s Eve in Japan

Undefeated, unified world super bantamweight champion

Guillermo Rigondeaux training in Japan

OSAKA, Japan (Dec. 29, 2014) — After enduring a frustrating year in which he has fought only once, unified world super bantamweight champion Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs) is prepared to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title belt this Wednesday, New Year’s Eve, against WBO No. 6 rated challenger Hisashi Amagasa (28-4-2, 19 KOs) at Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, Japan.

Rigondeaux, who resides in Miami, is also the World Boxing Association (WBA) Super and The Ring Magazine super bantamweight champion.

The 34-year-old Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba, arrived Dec. 21 in Japan and the pound-for-pound star is extremely grateful for the overwhelmingly warm reception he has received from countless Japanese boxing fans who’ve watched him train or approached him in Osaka.

Last July in Macao, Rigondeaux successfully defended his WBO/WBA Super titles, destroying challenger Sod Kokietgym (63-2-1) in the opening round of the ultra-skilled Cuban’s lone fight to date in 2014.

The 5′ 10 ½” Amagasa towers over the diminutive Rigondeaux, who is 6 ½ inches shorter than his Japanese opponent. Rigondeaux, however, isn’t concerned in the least about their differences in height because of his past success against many taller foes.

“This is my second time fighting in Asia this year,” Rigondeaux said. “I am very frustrated that the other world belt holders are running scared and won’t fight me. It’s disgraceful that we couldn’t find a world-class, 122-pound fighter to fight me, so, I would like to thank Amagasa for dropping down from featherweight (126 lbs. division) to challenge me. I will put on an explosive fireworks display on New Year’s Eve in Japan.”Unfortunately, Rigondeaux vs. Amagasa will not be televised in the US or Europe, however, there will be an estimated 30-million Japanese fans tuning in to watch ‘Rigo’ perform.

Japanese press have reported that Rigondeaux is the biggest star to fight in Japan in nearly a quarter-century, since “Iron” Mike Tyson fought against James “Buster” Douglas there in February 1990, describing Rigondeaux as a “Monster Superstar.”

‘We have already been offered a fight against another Japanese challenger in Japan this coming May,” Rigondeaux’ manager Gary Hyde added. “Rigondeaux is in tremendous condition, as always, and we are very confident going into this fight on New Year’s Eve that ‘Rigo’ will put on a another stellar performance.

“In January, we will sit down and discuss the terms of a promotional contract that was initially offered to us this past summer and is now back on the table. Hopefully, we will come to an agreement with this promotional company and ‘Rigo’ will be back fighting on mainstream television networks in 2015.”

Hyde also reported that if, as reports have circulated, WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 16 KOs) is seriously interested in fighting Rigondeaux, “Rigo” will return from Japan to fight Santa Cruz in a major unification bout January 17 in Las Vegas. Santa Cruz is scheduled to fight an opponent to be determined in the 12-round co-feature on a card headlined by the WBC heavyweight title fight, airing live from MGM Grand on Showtime, between defending champion Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder.

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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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