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Giovanni “Gallo de Oro” Santillan Kos Mexico’s Rivera in SoCal

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ONTARIO, CALIF-San Diego’s Giovanni Santillan walked into the ring knowing very little about Mexico’s Eduardo Rivera but wasted little time in disposing of him with a furious assault to win by knockout in the first round of the junior welterweight bout on Friday.

“I told everyone I wasn’t going to waste any time tonight,” Santillan said.

Santillan, (16-0, 9 Kos) a southpaw, was supposed to face another fighter but that fighter pulled out last week. Rivera (9-2) took the fight but paid a heavy price in front of more than 1,500 fans at the Doubletree Hotel.

The junior welterweights immediately slipped into attack mode with Santillan the sharper and quicker puncher. Rivera waded into the punches and tried to match Santillan but ran into a blistering combination including an uppercut that snapped his head back. Santillan kept the pressure on and blasted away at Rivera who slumped to the floor after absorbing more than six blows. Referee Ray Corona stopped the fight at 2:28 of the first round for a knockout win.

Santillan’s speed and southpaw stance have proven to be quite effective.

In the co-main event Isaac Zarate (10-1-1) had problems with Mexico City’s Pedro Melo (10-8-2) in the first half of their eight-round bantamweight fight. But he pulled ahead with a more aggressive attack in the second half of the fight.

Zarate allowed Melo to steal two rounds and the crowd when he slowed down in the last minute of every round. Soon fans shouted Melo’s name though Zarate was more accurate with his punching and his defense proved the difference in the fight. Melo was effective with right hands against the southpaw Zarate, but couldn’t land more than a single punch at a time. Zarate was quicker, but lost steam in almost every round.

The judges scored it for Zarate 79-72 and 78-73 twice. Referee Marty Denkin returned to the judge’s seat after a brief absence. It was good to see the veteran judge who has been one of the foremost judges in the last decade.

Other bouts

Former Ukrainian Olympian Taras Shelestyuk (11-0, 8 Kos) had minimal competition against Mexico’s Francisco Reza (13-12, 10 Kos), who didn’t seem to have his legs walking into the ring. Shelestyuk was the faster fighter but either wanted more rounds or allowed Reza to survive into the third round.

A shower of blows in round one sent Reza to the floor, but he survived the round. Shelestyuk seemed to slap combinations on the defenseless Mexican which scored points, but could prove fatal later in the Ukrainian’s career. It’s OK in the amateurs but in the pros he will pay for that mistake.

In the third round Shelestyuk increased the pressure and though Reza stayed upright it was just a matter of time. The Mexican’s corner threw in the towel and informed the referee that Reza had enough. The fight was stopped at 1:26 of round three.

Former champion Ruslan Provodnikov accompanied Shelestyuk into the ring.

Colombia’s Cesar Villarraga (6-0, 4 Kos) didn’t take long to figure out the taller Jesus Angulo (3-7) of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. After some combinations, Villarraga forced Angulo against the ropes and unleashed a quick and powerful double left hook to the body and head. Down went Angulo as referee Raul Caiz Jr. counted him out at 1:55 of the first round.

Villarraga looked sharp and seems to have found his range as a professional in the lightweight class. He trains in Santa Fe Springs.

In a flyweight bout Gilbert Mendoza (5-4) of Modesto handed undefeated Francisco Lapizco (7-1, 2 Kos) his first loss by out-boxing the heavy-handed counter-puncher over six rounds. Mendoza figured out Lapizco’s style quickly and stayed out of range of the counter left hooks. The fighter from Sonora, Mexico never could mount an attack and lost because of it.

LaRon Mitchell (6-0, 6 Kos) withstood a heavy body attack from Arizona’s Chad Davis (5-13) in the first round of their heavyweight bout to mount his own body attack. By round three, Mitchell was connecting flush and floored Davis with a left to the liver. In the fourth round Mitchell finished the job with another left to the body. The fight was stopped at 44 seconds into round four by referee Raul Caiz Jr.

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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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