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FALLOUT FROM FRIDAY NIGHT´S ¨PREMIERE BOXING CHAMPIONS¨ BROADCAST

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The Premiere Boxing Champions aired on SpikeTV this past Friday, October 16th with an exciting card of boxing. The live event took place at Chicago´s UIC Pavilion, and the main event saw Andrjez Fonfara and Nathan Cleverly duel for twelve rounds. That Fonfara is Polish and Cleverly British should not be lost to the general public, as ¨PBC¨ would seem to be presenting a global vision for the sport.

The co-main event flashes Al Haymon’s global strategy again. With the WBA World Super Flyweight title on the line, Japanese champion Kohei Kono met fellow countrymen Koki Kameda in a match that saw Kameda heavily favored.

It is well documented that Koki and his two brothers Daiki and Tomoki were all signed by Al Haymon and have re-located to stateside. All three have held world championships, with Koki recognized as the most decorated of the trio. When they signed with Haymon, they were already major media stars in Japan, and money-wise, that made them a very hot and lucrative commodity.

Haymon’s signing was a coup. And a lot of thought must have gone into the move by the Kameda clan, who are guided by father Shiro. Japan has a robust but insulated boxing community, and signing with Haymon could literally mean that the Kameda’s can’t just go back to Japan. The break with Japanese boxing gave them all the more attention in Japan.
Kameda was (33-1) entering the match, and he had held World Championships in three weight classes. Defeating Kono would give him a title in a fourth weight class, which would make him arguably the greatest boxer to hail from Japan. The win over Kono would cement his legacy in the sport.

But then it didn’t happen. Kono came in determined, and he fought back from being hurt to drop Kameda. The fight turned into a brawl as the men fought in close, and Kameda was deducted several points for fouls throughout the fight. He really appeared to lose his composure, while the veteran Kono stayed “stoic”, for lack of a better word. Afterwards, all the judges gave the fight to Kono.

For Kameda, the emotion must have been overwhelming. The Japanese press almost immediately reported his retirement. At 28 years old, that may just be spur of the moment, but the news broke in Japan right away.

Now Kameda is still a major name in Japan, and it is there where this story takes a decidedly twenty-first century turn.

Several high-powered figures from the Japanese Mixed Martial Arts world have already emerged, and there is serious interest in making Kameda an offer, possibly for this coming New Year’s eve extravaganza. Though the Japanese MMA scene has shrunk since its glory days 15 years ago, there are a lot of power players that remain and what is commonly thought of as missing is a cross-over star. Enter Kameda. Though he may not be that guy in the long run, it would make for one big payday.

One of these players is a man named Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Formerly the President of Japan’s high powered PRIDE organization before the UFC absorbed the group in 2007, Sakikabara was reported back in April of this year to be planning a return to the Mixed Martial Arts scene.

And phone calls have been made already the Japanese media is reporting. Sakikabara was attending and MMA event called DEEP, and from there several agents from the Japanese scene were contacted.

If it sounds like a gong-show, you are not taking into account the nature of the business in the 21st century. Kameda may be an outsider already in Japanese boxing and unable to return, but a cross-over to MMA will see him receive an offer likely to be in the multi-millions. And that is something that people are going to listen to.

So the notoriously shadowy Al Haymon may be picking up his phone sometime soon and find himself talking to a man every bit his shadowy equal, Nobuyuki Sakakibara. That is may be part of the evolution of combat sports in the 21st century.

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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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