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Kell Brook vs. Jo Jo Dan To Run on SHOWTIME

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NEW YORK (March 16, 2015) – SHOWTIME Sports® will present the Sky Sports telecast of the IBF Welterweight World Championship between defending champion and hometown favorite Kell Brook and No. 1 challenger Jo Jo Dan on Saturday, March 28, live on SHOWTIME at 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT from the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England.

Later that evening, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), WBC Featherweight Champion Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KOs), of Mexico City, will defend his 126-pound belt against quick-fisted southpaw Gary Russell Jr. (25-1, 14 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Md., in the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.

In the co-feature, from The Pearl at Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas, undefeated world-ranked contender Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs), of Houston, faces experienced 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., in a 10-round super welterweight showdown.

SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL Brook vs. Dan will replay immediately following the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast. Brook’s upcoming title defense, promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, will be a raucous homecoming for the popular Brit, who last fought in Sheffield in October 2013. Billed as “Unbreakable” in the U.K., the event is also Brook’s comeback fight after getting attacked while on vacation last September.”

“March 28 will be an emotional night for Kell and the team. I remember being by his bedside in September in a Spanish hospital after that horrific knife attack, it looked like his career was over,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sports. “He has shown incredible physical and mental strength and looks better than ever in camp. Fans on Showtime will get to see in my opinion the best 147 pounder in the World light up a 10,000 sell out arena on March 28—don’t miss it!”

Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) of Sheffield, England, will be making his first start and initial defense of the 147-pound title he took from previously undefeated Shawn Porter via a 12-round majority decision last Aug. 16 in Carson, Calif., on SHOWTIME.

In an impressive performance in his long-awaited shot at a world championship, Brook, 28, won clearly on two of the scorecards (117-111, 116-112) while the third judge had it even (114-114). “After everything that’s happened over the last six months, it feels incredible knowing I will be defending my World title in Sheffield,” said Brook. “I’m not looking past JoJo I know he will bring the heat but I want to get this mandatory defence done and then target those mega-fights that are out there in the division. I know he feels he worked so hard to get into the mandatory position just like I did, but I will be working twice as hard to keep the belt that I earned. After May 2nd, there will only be two champions in the division—myself and Floyd or Manny. I want to unify this division in style. I’m coming for them all.”

Dan (34-2, 18 KOs), of Quebec, Canada, has won five in a row and eight of his last nine. The 33-year-old earned the crack at the crown with a 12-round split decision over Kevin Bizier in an elimination bout last Dec. 19 on SHOWTIME. Dan also won a split decision over the then-unbeaten Bizier on Nov. 30, 2013. A native of Romania, the crowd-pleasing Dan, whose full name is Ionut Dan Ion, has lived and trained in Montreal since his pro debut in April 2004. The only blemishes on the southpaw’s record are a pair of close, controversial decision losses to then-undefeated contender Selcuk Aydin –the first in 2010 and the second in 2011– both in Aydin’s native Turkey. “Kell has not fought anyone like me,” Dan said. “I believe in myself and I don’t think he can bring anything I can’t deal with on fight night. I saw his last fight where he won the world title and it was a great performance, but I just let my team study him in depth and come up with a winning strategy. “I have waited a long time to get a world title shot so I am determined to take advantage of this opportunity. My prediction for the fight is simple –Jo Jo Dan becomes the new IBF Welterweight World champion.”

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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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