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LOOK OUT IN LONDON! Rigo Craves Quigg Clash

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CORK, Ireland (April 12, 2015) – Unified super bantamweight world champion Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs), arguably the most avoided reigning world title holder in modern boxing history, will travel to London next month in order to publicly confront his mandatory challenger, Scott Quigg (30-0-2, 22 KOs), the World Boxing Association (WBA) “regular” 122-pound division titlist.

A month ago in an unusual move, Rigondeaux’ manager Gary Hyde formally petitioned the WBA to enforce a mandatory title fight between his WBA Super champion and Quigg. Hyde is awaiting the WBA’s decision. Rigondeaux is also the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and The Ring magazine’s super bantamweight champion.

A reigning world champion hasn’t been avoided by other world champions and top contenders like Rigondeux has for the past two years since, perhaps, junior middleweight Sergio Martinez, or possibly all the way back to middleweight Mike McCallum.

The top three super bantamweights in the world outside of Rigondeaux – International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) champions, Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz, respectively, plus Quigg – have avoided the Cuban great like the plaque. Once Santa Cruz’ promoter at the time, Oscar de la Hoya, announced that a Rigondeaux-Santa Cruz had to happen, Santa Cruz’ powerful adviser, Al Haymon, exercised a contract option and bought him out to avoid a fight with ‘Rigo.’ Frampton’s promoter, Barry McGuigan, has proclaimed his fighter, not Rigondeaux, as the No. 1 super featherweight in the world. McGuigan, though, is interested in Frampton fighting Quigg in a U.K. showdown, rather than a world mega-fight for three of the four major sanctioning world titles. As the “regular” WBA champion, Quigg is Rigondeaux’ mandatory challenger, yet, he apparently wants no part of the two-time Olympic gold medalist because his promoter, Barry Hearn, not only hasn’t pushed the issue, he’s in negotiations with McGuigan for Frampton to fight Quigg.

Former world super bantamweight champions Nonito Doniare, after he lost a unification fight to Rigondeaux two years ago, and Abner Mares chose to move up one division to fight as featherweights. And now Donaire reports that his manager was contacted by a Quigg representative to discuss a Donaire-Quigg fight in England.

Another two-time Olympic gold medalist, WBO 126-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko, continually insists that “Rigo” has to move up in weight for a fight to happen despite him having no problems making 126.

“Quigg, Santa Cruz and Frampton have showed no desire to challenge Rigondeaux,” Hyde said. “These three fighters are trying to fool the public into believing that fight the No. 1 guy in the world is not important. While they are lining their pockets with ridiculous amounts of cash for fighting below par opponents, Rigondeaux is forced to wait around until some Asian opponent steps up. This is a sport in which we are accustomed to seeing the best fighting the best but, in the super bantamweight division, it’s the best versus the rest.

“Rigondeaux will travel to Manchester to fight Quigg, Belfast to fight Frampton, or Las Vegas to fight Santa Cruz. None of these so-called world champions, though, will consider fighting the acknowledged world super bantamweight champion. They’re all much more content to hold onto their belts than beating The Man in their weight class.”

Next month, Hyde reports, Rigondeaux will travel to the United Kingdom in a bold attempt to embarrass Quigg into fighting him. “I don’t like traveling overseas unless I have a fight lined up,” Rigondeaux explained, “but I will travel to England in May to publicly call out Scott Quigg. If he turns down the chance to fight our WBA mandatory, he will be remembered for that instead of being known as a great fighter. While I’m in the UK, I will also go to Belfast to checkout Carl Frampton to ask if he wants to prove himself against the best in his division.”

Understanding that the top super bantamweight action is currently in Europe, noting a record purse ($2.2 million USD) offered for a Frampton vs. Quigg fight, Rigondeaux is considering a major change in the not too distant future, moving his base from Miami to the UK, if that’s what it takes for him to get in on the action.

Hyde also manages former WBO middleweight champion and current International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 1 mandatory contender Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (31-1, 18 KOs), former WBA Interim cruiserweight champion Youri “El Toro” Kalenga (21-2, 14 KOs) and Georgian super lightweight Levan “The Wolf” Ghvamichava (14-1-1, 11 KOs) , as well as top prospects such as Cuban super bantamweight Marcos Forestal (2-0, 2 KOs), Irish heavyweight Con Sheehan and Bulgarian light heavyweight Blagoy Naydenov.

Follow Hyde on Twitter at @NoWhere2Hyde and friend him at www.facebook.com/gary.hyde.50?fref=ts.

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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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