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Carlos Molina and Mercito Gesta Fight to a Draw at Fantasy Springs Casino

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INDIO, Ca.-Former world title challengers Mercito Gesta and Carlos Molina may have been fighting for their promotional lives on Thursday and gave the fans a thrill despite ending in a draw.

A crowd at Fantasy Springs saw Molina (17-2-2, 7 Kos) and Gesta (28-1-2, 16 Kos) use every skill in their vast repertoire to find a way toward victory in their junior welterweight match. But after 10 rounds it was apparent they were evenly matched.

Molina jumped out ahead with the very first punch thrown—a left hook he fired when Gesta attempted to shake hands though they had already shaken hands. For some reason the Filipino boxed orthodox instead of southpaw and he paid for it as he ate left hooks from Molina.

Gesta turned things around in round three when he switched to southpaw and slowed down Molina’s attack. Though it was a close round, it was the San Diego boxer’s best round.

In the past Gesta was matched with slower fighters where he was often the much quicker boxer, but Molina had no problem matching blows. If anything, Gesta might have seemed slow after he fought the much faster Amir Khan two years ago.

Little by little Gesta began finding a way to land his punches. Molina’s reddened face showed the impact of his opponent’s blows. But neither fighter was ever hurt. Stunned maybe, but never hurt.

A few times Gesta landed solid blows on Molina and would step back to see the impact. While inspecting the supposed damage he would absorb counter rights and lefts. He never did stop admiring his handiwork. It may have cost him the fight.

Even in the 10th and final round Gesta landed a combination and stopped to see the affect. Molina retaliated with his own counters and seemed to seal the last round for himself. All three judges saw a different fight. One judge scored it 98-92 for Molina, another 96-94 for Gesta and a third saw it 95-95 even. The battle between title contenders ended in a draw.

Other bouts

Ireland’s Jason Quigley (6-0, 6 Kos) and Joshua Snyder (9-12-1) didn’t need prodding to start swinging. As soon as the bell rang both were firing body shots and head blows rapid fire. But Quigley’s punches were simply harder and faster right from the start. In round two Quigley simply beat Snyder to the punch with a left hook and right cross that turned him around. After that another of the same combination sent him to the floor with a thud. The referee Pat Russell didn’t need to count. It was over. A replay of the blows showed head-snapping power from Quigley’s blows.

“I’m lucky to have fans that have followed me since my amateur days,” Quigley said, adding that he will be attending the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday in Las Vegas. “Irish fans are very loyal. It’s a small country but fans are very loyal.”

L.A.’s Rafael Gramajo (3-1, 2 Kos) scored his second career knockout with a barrage of blows that sent Puerto Rico’s Luis Cosme (8-7-1) sinking to the ring mat at 1:07 of the first round in their super bantamweight fight.

Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao (6-0, 2 Kos) remained undefeated but Gerardo “Tin Tin” Ibarra (14-3, 8 Kos) took his pound of flesh in their middleweight showdown. Falcao started quick and used his speed to jump to an early lead. But once Ibarra figured out the Brazilian’s moves he began timing him and used old school moves to get inside and punish the body and head. Ibarra had his best rounds in the last two rounds as he dug into Falcao’s body with punishing shots. Then he blasted right hands off Falcao’s head but it was too late. The Brazilian did show resilience and a good chin. So did Ibarra. All three judges scored it 78-74 for Falcao.

Ruslan Madiyev (4-0, 2 Kos), who trained in Big Bear Lake with Abel Sanchez, defeated San Antonio’s Christian Santibanes (3-4, 2 Kos) by technical knockout at 2:14 of round three in a junior welterweight bout. Madiyev caught Santibanes with a lead right that wobbled the Texan. He followed up with a barrage of blows including a shove but Santibanes weathered the storm. Then a body shot and a combination to the body and head influenced the referee to stop the fight. Santibanes had a good second round when he set up Madiyev for a right uppercut. But rounds one and three went to the Russian.

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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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