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Will Tomlinson Gets Big Splash Redo

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Will Tomlinson has been here before. The former IBO junior lightweight titleholder from Australia packed his bags over 18 months ago to move to and make a splash in the United States. The undefeated Tomlinson was signed by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and given a spot on the March 2014 undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo pay-per-view to showcase his skills.

He didn’t succeed. Belmontes upset Tomlinson by unanimous decision. The tough-minded Tomlinson considers it a learning experience.

“I learned not to put too much pressure on myself, to just relax and enjoy the moment and kind of just do what I’ve been doing for 15 or 16 years now come natural instead of forcing it,” Tomlinson told TSS. “I was looking for the knockout against Belmontes. I wanted to impress everybody in my U.S. debut and that ended up having an adverse effect.”

Tomlinson said the fighter Americans saw for perhaps the first time that night wasn’t him at all. “I just tightened up and couldn’t let my hands go, you know? S—t happens. It’s in the past now. I’m fully over it. I just look at it as a rare mental glitch that I experienced on the night. I won’t let it happen again.”

Tomlinson has won two straight since the Belmontes loss. He defeated Alberto Cupido and Miguel Zamudio in eight-rounders to earn another big TV fight opportunity, a second chance at impressing American fight fans. Tomlinson faces Francisco Vargas on Thursday night (TONIGHT) at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. The bout will be telecast live on HBO Latino.

“I’m stoked for this fight. I’m pumped. I’ve been training really hard. This is the type of fight that I moved my career to the United States for—to test myself against the very best fighters out there. I’m privileged to be able to do it on a great TV network like HBO Latino. I know there is going to be a lot of diehard boxing fans watching and that’s who I like to perform for and put on a good fight for, the true diehard fans. And I’m very excited for it.”

Tomlinson is 28 years old. He lives in Los Angeles, California and trains at the The Rock boxing gym in nearby Carson. Nicknamed “Wild Bill,” the scrappy Tomlinson won six state and two Australian national titles as an amateur before turning professional in 2008. He defeated Alan Herrera in December 2011 for the IBO junior lightweight title. He is currently trained by Nico Robledo.

“I felt like I had reached a certain level in Australia and I was starting to stagnate so I wanted to challenge myself and go to that next level by coming here to America. I found myself in all new surroundings with a whole new team behind me: new trainers [and] new promoters. And it’s been a good experience.”

Even after the tough loss to Belmontes, Tomlinson said he felt supported by his promoter. “They’ve been awesome with how they’ve promoted me leading into this fight. I really feel like I’m a part of the team, and part of something with Golden Boy and with the way HBO Latino has also been promoting myself and the fight. It’s been really good.”

On paper, Vargas will be Tomlinson’s toughest test to date. The undefeated 30-year-old from Mexico has stopped his last two opponents and seems to be honing in on his peak as a professional. Tomlinson expects a rough fight but a good one, and it’s a fight he’s seen coming for a couple of years now.

“I’ve seen lots of Vargas’ fights. I’ve followed his career the last couple of years. I always had the feeling that we’d end up fighting each other one day and for that reason I used to watch a bit of him. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he wasn’t a great fighter. I’m expecting a good, tough fight on March 12. I’m expecting to come in ready to win and him to not make it easy for me by any means. But I genuinely believe I have the arsenal and the skills to edge him in a few different departments to do just enough to walk away with a good win.”

Tomlinson expects the lessons he learned against Belmontes will help him relax in the moment on Thursday. He expects a decision win, and an impressive display of boxing like he wanted in his first fight in the United States. Essentially, this is his second chance at making a big splash in America.

“It will not only propel me towards another world title opportunity but also a top fight which is going to make me a lot of fans in the process. I think that with our two styles of fighting, it’s going to be an all-action fight. It’s going to be extremely entertaining for the fans watching and I feel they’ll really embrace both of us, especially the winner.”

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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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