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Alfonso Gomez Upsets Japan’s Kamegai; Ronny Rios Returns

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INDIO, CALIF.—Alfonso Gomez had not fought since last summer, but found Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai’s style of fighting much to his liking on Friday.

Once again Gomez (25-6-2, 12 Kos) fooled the boxing fans and fooled Kamegai (25-3-1, 22 Kos), whose pressure style was pretty much nullified for all 10 rounds at Fantasy Springs Casino. Many had picked Gomez to be a mere pit stop for the Japanese warrior in the Golden Boy Promotions event.

From the opening bell Gomez seemed to have Kamegai all figured out as he moved around, not allowing the Japanese pressure fighter to corner him or sit down on his blows. Meanwhile Gomez unloaded rights and lefts to the head as Kamegai focused on the body.

It was a continual formula for both fighters as the rounds zipped by without much of a change. Plenty of holding by both occurred and plenty of accidental and purposeful head butts by each fighter took place. A point was deducted from Gomez when he launched himself head-first into the Japanese fighter. It ignited a rally from Gomez, who whipped left hooks and rights that snapped Kamegai’s head back violently.

The Japanese fighter was never hurt or wobbled but he was annoyed. At times he was willing to take a punch to give a punch from Gomez. But the Mexican born fighter seldom allowed a shot to land flush.

After 10 rounds all three judges scored it 98-91 for Gomez.

Rios

In the semi-main event Ronny Rios (24-1, 10 Kos) returned after his first loss and defeated Mexico’s Sergio Frias (16-5-2, 8 Kos) after 10 rounds in a featherweight match.

Rios was massacred in his last fight in the same venue. This time it didn’t look good in the first round when he was wobbled in the first by a Frias counter right. He survived.

The Santa Ana boxer looked tentative and slow as Frias seldom initiated the action for the first three or four rounds. Instead the Mexican fighter proved to be strictly a counter-puncher. Once Rios realized that, it was all downhill.

Behind a lightning-rod jab Rios began to find a rhythm and establish dominance from the fifth round on. Frias was intent on landing counter right hands and that proved to be his undoing. That stiff jab snapped Frias head back repeatedly and allowed Rios to speed up the tempo and use all of his combinations with swiftness and precision.

You could see the confidence build in Rios and by the 10th and final round he was back to the old Rios. All three judges scored it for the Santa Ana boxer 99-91 twice and 98-92.

Other bouts

Ireland’s Jamie Kavanagh (18-1-1, 9 Kos) survived a second round knockdown at the hands of Miguel Zamudio (29-7-1, 17 Kos) and rallied to stop the Mexican in round five. Kavanagh found his timing in the fourth and fifth round and was landing explosive rights on Zamudio. It was clear that Kavanagh was in control against the tough veteran Zamudio during the last two rounds of the lightweight clash.

Ireland’s super middleweight Jason Quigley (5-0, 5 Kos) needed a round to figure out Tolutomi Agunbiade (2-3) before lowering the boom. Behind some steady jabs Quigley was able to keep Agunbiade on defense. In the second round Quigley connected with several withering body shots then followed up with several booming rights to the head. Referee Ray Corona decided to stop the fight despite no knockdowns at 1:41 of the second round.

Abraham Lopez (17-0-1, 12 Kos) needed some rounds to shake off the rust after a three-year absence and fought to a majority draw against Juan Carlos Martinez (20-16-1). Lopez caught fire in the second half of the fight but took too long to figure out Martinez.

Arizona’s Jose Marrufo (5-2-2) defeated Riverside’s Alberto Herrera (9-11-1) by unanimous decision after six rounds in a welterweight clash.

L.A.’s Rafael Gramajo (2-1-1) defeated Fresno’s Sal Perez (2-7-2) by unanimous decision in a featherweight showdown.

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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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