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Provodnikov-Matthysse On For April 18, in NY, and on HBO

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You with me, you thinking this April 18 clash between Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse has fight of the year written all over it? Two men who have no reverse gear will tangle at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY on April 18, and on HBO, it was announced today.

Art Pelullo’s Banner Promotions looked high and low for a site to place the bout and a card, and turned to Turning Stone for a fight that many say fits in Cali. Pelullo told me that indeed, it was hard to find a site, what with so much boxing popping up, and so many venues being reserved. “The casino is very sophisticated, very TV friendly, the arena there seats over 5,000 people,” he noted. “I think this fight has fight of the year potential. It’s the most fan-friendly, TV-friendly fight we’ve seen in awhile.”

He went so far back at Corrales-Castillo I, which he did with Gary Shaw and Bob Arum, as a comparison, in fact.

Pelullo told me he’s working with Eric Gomez at Golden Boy on other fights for the card. We could see other Banner fighters, like Willie Monroe, and Petr Petrov, gloving up, with one of those fights getting added to the HBO slate.

Here is the release sent out by Banner today:

SURE-FIRE ‘FIGHT OF THE YEAR’ CANDIDATE COMES EARLY IN 2015

LUCAS MATTHYSSE VS. RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV SET FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 18 AT TURNING STONE RESORT CASINO

LIVE ON HBO BOXING AFTER DARK®

Philadelphia (Feb. 24) – A sure-fire ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate will come early as former World Champions Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov, two of boxing’s hardest punchers, take the stage in a 12-round jr. welterweight showdown on Saturday, April 18 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. Banner Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Box Promotions announced today the clash of these two fearsome fighters will generate what is surely to be an all-action fight to remember and a treat all fight fans are excited for. The bout with be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

“I’m glad that this fight is finally done,” said Ruslan Provodnikov. “This is the fight I have been waiting for a long time. I think that this fight will be nominated for either ‘Fight of the Year’ or ‘Knockout of the Year’.”

“I only want the biggest fights against the best fighters and this fight between Provodnikov and I, will surely be ‘Fight of the Year’,” said Lucas Matthysse. “Provodnikov is a warrior that never stops throwing punches and his style suits me very well. I’m confident that I will win, and since Danny Garcia doesn’t want to fight me again, this fight will prove that I am one of the best fighters in the world.”

“One-punch knockout power. Lightning-fast action. A likely world title shot to the winner – this bout has ‘Fight of the Year’ written all over it,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions. “This is a fight that fans have been clamoring for since these warriors were last in action, and Golden Boy Promotions is proud to deliver it to the fans worldwide.”

“I’m very excited about the fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse,” said Arthur Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions. “This has the making of Corrales – Castillo I all over again. This is the most fan-friendly and television-friendly fight in a long time. Both Ruslan and Lucas are real warriors, and it’s a fight that both fighters wanted so it was very easy to make. Working with Oscar De La Hoya and Eric Gomez has been a pleasure.

“A dream match comes together when two men fight who are seemingly each other’s worst nightmare, and that’s a litmus test this fight passes,” said Peter Nelson, HBO Sports vice president of programming. “On April 18, HBO Boxing After Dark will present Argentine Lucas Matthysse against Russian Ruslan Provodnikov in a fight promising to be so highly combustible that just the lights turning on should set the ring ablaze.”

“The Provodnikov Matthysse matchup is destined to be one of the must-see fights of the year and we’re looking forward to hosting another exciting night of boxing at Turning Stone,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO. “In less than two years, we’ve hosted 15 nationally televised fights, distinguishing our resort as premier destination for world-class boxing.”

“Ruslan is going to put up the great fight we want for Matthysse and will show that he is the best fighter in the division,” said Mario Arano, manager of Matthysse. “Provodnikov is an uncompromising fighter, that comes to fight and his style will suit Lucas. We would like to thank Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions and HBO for making this fight possible. Fans will be excited to watch this fight and will not be disappointed.”

“I want to say thank you to Banner Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions on making this fight possible,” said Vadim Kornilov, manager of Provodnikov. “I wish there were more promoters in the sport that are prepared to have their fighters take a risk and make the best fights for the sport. Usually the fights that everybody wants to see don’t happen due to reasons beyond the understanding of the fans, and it should not be that way.”

Considered by most to be boxing’s pound-for-pound hardest puncher, Trelew, Chubut, Argentina’s Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (36-3, 34 KOs) has the numbers and high-profile victims to prove it. Having cut through the super lightweight division with his iron fists for years and an owner of 13 knockouts in his last 13 wins, the 32-year-old has taken out several of the sport’s big names. Humberto “Zorrita” Soto, Lamont Peterson, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Danny “Swift” Garcia and John Molina Jr., have all suffered loses to Matthysse, while earning him the interim WBC World title at 140 pounds in the process. Now looking to reign over a new division at 147 pounds, “La Maquina” has picked the toughest available foe to test him in Russian powerhouse Provodnikov.

Dubbed the “Siberian Rocky” for his aggressive attack and unyielding will to win, Beryozovo, Russia native Ruslan Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KOs) has earned himself fight fans around the globe for his humble nature outside the ring and ferocious intensity inside the ropes. An eight-year professional, Provodnikov followed up a stellar amateur career with an even more impressive campaign in the professional game. He has had notable wins over several top foes including a ‘Fight of the Year’ bout with Timothy Bradley in 2013 and a 10th round stoppage over Mike Alvarado in 2013 that yielded him the WBO Super Lightweight World title. In his last bout in November, Provodnikov won a fifth round stoppage over former World Champion Jose Luis Castillo, now on April 18 he continues his quest for a welterweight title against Matthysse.

Matthysse vs. Provodnikov is a 12-round jr. welterweight bout presented by Banner Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Box Promotions and is sponsored by Corona Extra and Mexico, Live it To Believe It!.

Host of the event, the Oneida Nation’s Turning Stone Resort Casino continues to distinguish itself as a premier destination for blockbuster boxing matches. The April 18th fight will mark Turning Stone Resort’s 15th nationally-televised boxing event in less than two years, cementing the resort as a mecca for knockout televised fights. Boxing legends Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have promoted televised fight cards at the resort within the last year. Located in Upstate New York, the four-season destination resort offers world-class entertainment and gaming, award-winning accommodations, an eclectic mix of restaurants, luxury spas and numerous nightlife options.

Tickets for the April 18th HBO Boxing After Dark event at Turning Stone Resort go on sale on Thursday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Ticket prices are $75 for ringside seats, $50, $35 and $25 plus applicable fees and are available at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 8:00 p.m. and the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast at 9:45 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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