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Oscar Valdez Wins Battle of Bangers in Las Vegas



LAS VEGAS-You can throw away the prospect label on Oscar Valdez Jr.

He’s the real deal and proved it with a one-sided blow-out of former world title challenger Chris “The Hitman” Avalos on Friday.

Valdez (18-0, 15 Kos) continued his move up the featherweight ladder with his sizzling knockout win over Avalos (26-4, 19 Kos) at the Cosmopolitan. A crowd of more than 500 at the cozy Chelsea Theater saw the impressive showing for the former Mexican Olympian.

Valdez, 24, came out with sharp punches and was able to avoid any big returns from Avalos in the first round. Jabs were quick, counters were even quicker.

“He kept countering me, I couldn’t stop it. It was really bothering me,” Avalos, 25, said.

Both fighters came out more lively in the second round. Valdez beat Avalos to the punch several times. Avalos was able to land a flush right to the body and later to the head, but it was Valdez who connected more and was in control.

Valdez nearly finished Avalos at the end of the third round. Both unleashed left hooks and Valdez beat him to the punch again. Down went the fighter from Lancaster as his legs short circuited. But he beat the count and the bell rang.

After Valdez went into attack, Avalos tried staying away but the last punch of round four nearly ended the fight again. A left hook connected and the Lancaster hitter returned on wobbly legs to his corner. It was a point when Avalos’ corner could have stopped the fight. He looked unsure of himself but he went out for the next round.

Avalos didn’t look good entering the fifth round. Immediately Valdez attacked and though Avalos switched southpaw, and tried different defensive approaches, it was like putting a paper wall in front of Valdez, who tore through Avalos unimpeded. Several forceful combinations forced referee Russell Mora to end the fight at 1:17 of the fifth round for a knockout win for Valdez. Avalos’ corner erupted in anger, but the referee may have saved the Lancaster fighter from unnecessary punishment.

“This was the best I’ve ever seen him,” said Frank Espinoza, who manages Valdez.

Valdez was glad it was over.

“He’s a tough fighter. He wanted to keep on going,” said Valdez. “I thought I had hurt him but he wanted to keep continuing. I wanted to wear him down a little.”

Valdez was a little surprised the fight ended earlier than later.

“Everything we did in the ring we worked on in the gym,” Valdez said. “I was countering. I didn’t have a single problem with him.”

Top Rank’s Bob Arum was excited about Valdez.

“He’s got a big, big upside,” said Arum.

Other bouts

Philadelphia’s Jesse Hart (18-0, 15 Kos) defeated Aaron Pryor Jr. (19-9-1, 12 Kos) by technical knockout at 2:51 of the ninth round in their super middleweight match. Hart had his way the entire fight but was unable to land the telling blow until finally going to the body.

Undefeated Russian light heavyweight Egor Mekhontsev (10-0, 7 Kos) may have a ways to go before any world title aspirations and Brazil’s Junior Jackson (18-4, 16 Kos) let him know that before losing a close decision that saw both trade knockdowns. After eight rounds of back and forth bashing Mekhontsev won by unanimous decision. Barely. The scores were 77-74 twice and 77-73 for the Russian light heavyweight. Sergey Kovalev can rest easy for now.

Maryland’s Michael Reed (16-0, 9 Kos) won by technical knockout over Chicago’s Antonio Canas (10-3-1, 4 Kos) at 1:28 of the fifth round of their junior welterweight clash.

Dallas lightweight Thomas Smith (1-1-1) got his first pro win over Nebraska’s Frankie Winton (1-1) after four rounds. Smith won by unanimous decision over Winton, who’s a stable mate of Terence Crawford.



2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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