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Spike O’Sullivan Aiming For Golovkin; Hyland Headlines TONIGHT

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I heard a chuckle from someone during a presser to hype the Saturday (tonight) “McMayhem in Midtown” card at the MSG Theater when they asked 30-year-old Gary O’Sullivan if indeed he’d called out Gennady Golovkin, regarded to be the best middleweight on the planet, and on a short list in the “baddest man in boxing” list.

I didn’t chuckle, not after talking to the 19-1 (12 KOs) hitter from Cork, Ireland. He explained to me that people from Cork are known to be rebels, in a good way, usually, and I nodded as I checked out the shamrock shaved onto his head. He shook his head no at the sliders and boneless buffalo tenders—grr, I ate a few–and instead focused on why he was in America, while telling me some history of Corkers using pitchforks to take it to foes in days past.

First off, to win his fight on Saturday. O’Sullivan, who everyone, I mean everyone, knows as “Spike, meets 28-12 Milton Nunez, a 27-year-old Colombian, on the card promoted by Lou Dibella, which will also feature bouts pitting the FDNY Bravest Boxing team versus the Garda Siochana Boxing team of the Irish National Police Force.

Also slated to compete are: former world title challenger Patrick “The Punisher” Hyland (29-1, 13 Kos; he fights 21-15 Manny Herrera) as well as super middle contender-turned-New York firefighter Will “Power” Rosinsky (17-2, 9 KOs; he fights 7-5-1 Paul Gonsalves). DiBella told me he’s pumped to have helped put together such a varied show.

“The return of Will Rosinsky (last fought Dec. 2012, has been on probation period with FDNY) is a good thing and Spike is an up and coming Irish star,” DiBella said. “I think Hyland is one of the best feathers in world, he gave Javier Fortuna hell in 2012, and we will get him active again. He jumped at the chance to headline this show, a really, really fun show. He jumped at the opportunity. We’re also excited to have the FDNY fighting the Irish team! But I want people to pay attention to Patrick, he should get a a title shot by the end of 2015. And also, we want to alert the Irish fans, and get them to Barclays Center April 11 to watch Andy Lee!”

O’Sullivan first wanted to make it known that his favorite thing in the world are his three kids, and fighting comes in second. A pro since 2008, O’Sullivan is managed and trained by Paschal Collins, and promoted by Murphys Boxing (Ken Casey of The Dropkick Murphys rock band, and Sean Sullivan).

“Yeah, I want Golovkin,” O’Sullivan told me. Stylistically, I’d like to fight him.”

He told me he’d wanted a crack at Matt Macklin for a number of years, and that didn’t come off. But the man who beat Macklin, Jorge Heiland, who was in the lead to glove up with Golovkin in Triple G’s next tangle, in May, but lost out to Willie Monroe Jr.

O’Sullivan had been under the Frank Warren umbrella and is pleased to be out from under, he implied. He told me more than holds his own with the man rated No. 1 by the WBO, BJ Saunders, who I do believe will be fighting at Barclays Center April 11. “We’re friends now,” he told me, of the man who handed him his first loss, UD12, in July of 2013. It didn’t help that his eardrum was busted in round two of that one.

I saw some tape of O’Sullivan, in which he had his hands by his side. He looked to be clowning; he explained that came about because his foe on that night, Anthony Fitzgerald, had talked trash about him, and begged for the bout. So he clowned the kid some. Oh, and bolstered his purse, to boot, betting on himself to score a KO1. “He disrespected me,” O’Sullivan told me. “So I did that in Dublin, in his back-yard.” Got to like that attitude, I think I’d like to see if it emerged against HBO’s smiling assassin Golovkin…

“I bet a hundred quid. Got 5 Gs back! And he went the distance with Andy Lee,” who holds a title and fights April 11 in Brooklyn. He also went the distance with Hassan N’Dam, slated to fight for the vacated IBF 160 crown against David Lemieux.

Spike, sorry, got to go with the informal name usage, he was so gracious and chill, will fight at 165 at MSG. He will win, he said, and then maybe down a pint of Guiness, just one, with pals to give a nod to St. Patrick’s Day.

“It’s gonna be a kayo,” he predicted. “My power is there. I sparred with Martin Murray ahead of his fight with Golovkin, that gave me confidence I can beat Golovkin!”

We talked some more, about his kids. Three daughters, Jacinta (11), Katie (7) and Ashley (3). I’m thinking Katie might be the most like dad, as he reports she is “the toughest.”

Spike explained that he’s been doing lots of home duty, now fighting full time, and not working with sheet metal. Thus, she has picked up some of his traits, he said. “She’s a warrior, like her dad.”

Lastly, I had to ask, who does call him Gary?

“Nobody,” he said. A grandma, now passed, did. All Garys are Spikes around his neck of the woods, and there was a push to put “Spike” on his birth-card, but that was a no go. So, Gary it is. But he’s Spike to the world, a world which might get a bit bigger if he keeps winning, and the busy-body Golovkin, who fights four times a year, needs someone to step up.

Follow Woods on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069

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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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