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Roc Nation and Cotto Running Show Dec. 5

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ROC NATION SPORTS & MIGUEL COTTO PROMOTIONS PRESENT

 

WILFREDO VAZQUEZ JR. VS. RAFAEL RIVERA

ON DECEMBER 5, 2015 AT OSCEOLA HERITAGE PARK

IN KISSIMMEE, FL LIVE ON HBO® LATINO

NEW YORK, NY – Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions are pleased to announce their next co-promotion as part of the HBO Latino Boxing series. On Saturday, Dec. 5, former WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (24-1-5, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico will take on undefeated Rafael Rivera (20-0-2, 14 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico in a ten-round featherweight showdown from the Osceola Heritage Park Exhibit Hall in Kissimmee, Florida televised live on HBO Latino beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

In the televised co-feature, Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (28-0, 15 KOs) will take on Steve Claggett (23-1-3, 16 KOs) in a ten-round welterweight co-featured bout. Opening the HBO Latino telecast will be a ten-round light heavyweight tilt featuring Colombian slugger Alexander Brand (24-1, 19 KOs) and Russian knockout artist Medzhid Bektemirov (16-0, 12 KOs) which is presented in association with Camponovo Sports and Gary Shaw Productions.

Tickets are priced at $67 and $35. Tickets go on sale Thursday, November 19 at 12:00 PM ET and will be available at www.ticketmaster.com and www.ohpark.com.  To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

“I’m very happy with my team and blessed by God to have the opportunity to do what I do best which is fight,” said Vazquez Jr. “I can see that Rivera is an excellent fighter looking to go far in this business, but I am coming to give it my all. I need to overcome this challenge in order to climb back to a number one rating and win a world title belt. It’s always exciting to be part of this great rivalry between Puerto Rico vs. Mexico and this one won’t be an exception.”

“It’s a real honor to be able to fight a former world champion and to do it on national television with HBO Latino,” said Rivera. “I’m young and hungry to be successful in the sport of boxing and I can’t wait to trade shots with Papito Vazquez.”

“Once again, Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions are committed to providing fight fans with an action-packed night of boxing on Dec. 5,” said David Itskowitch, COO Boxing, Roc Nation Sports. “The HBO Latino broadcast will showcase three exciting fights featuring some of the brightest young talents in the sport.”

“We are excited to come back to Orlando, Florida to give the fans great fights,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “On Dec. 5, Vazquez Jr. has the opportunity to show that he still has what it takes to be at the top level of boxing when he faces a tough Mexican fighter that is hungry and willing to make a great fight. This will be another great chapter in the storied rivalry of Puerto Rico vs. Mexico.”

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. has emerged from the large shadow of his father, Puerto Rican legend Wilfredo Vazquez, to make a name for himself inside the squared circle.  The 30-year-old former world champion from Bayamon is on a quest to capture a world title belt in the featherweight division.  After storming out of the gates with an 18 fight unbeaten streak, Vazquez captured the WBO junior featherweight world championship by defeating then fellow unbeaten Marvin Sonsona via a fourth round knockout on February 27, 2010 in his hometown.  Two successful title defenses followed before Vazquez lost his title to Three-Time World Champion Jorge Arce in an all-out war that the judges had a draw at the time of the twelfth round stoppage. Another world title challenge came against Six-Time World Champion Nonito Donaire on February 2, 2012, but Vazquez came up short, dropping a split decision to the champion.  In his last bout on June 6, Vazquez lost via a unanimous decision against Fernando Vargas in an eight-round bout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the undercard of Miguel Cotto vs. Daniel Geale. Dec. 5 is a true crossroads fight for the former world champion.

Undefeated featherweight boxer Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera made his pro debut on Aril 27, 2012 against Mario Lemus and came out with a technical knockout win in the second round. Since drawing in two of his next four fights, Rivera has reeled off 17 wins with 12 of them coming by way of knockout. In his last fight, Rivera scored an eight round unanimous decision win against Cancun, Mexico native Ruben Garcia in an eight round bout at Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, California. On Dec. 5, Rivera will look to hold on to his undefeated record when he battles Vazquez Jr.

Washington, DC’s Dusty Hernandez-Harrisonmade his professional debut as the youngest licensed professional fighter in the United States on June 11, 2011, less than a month following his 17th birthday. Twenty-four straight victories would follow before Hernandez-Harrison headlined Roc Nation Sports’ inaugural throne boxing event at The Theater at Madison Square in a fight televised by FOX Sports 1 on January 9, 2015, capturing the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship with a dominant ten-round unanimous decision victory over Tommy “The Razor” Rainone. Since then, he’s continued his winning ways, scoring three more wins, including a first round knockout over James Wayka in his last fight on September 26. On the 5th of Dec., he’ll look to keep that momentum going against Steve Claggett.

Claggett (23-3-1), from Alberta, Canada, holds the Canada Professional Boxing Council welterweight title over his most recent fight over Stuart McLennan in a third round TKO and the Canada Welterweight Title from his win by unanimous decision earlier this year against Tebor Brosch. He looks to finish his winning year, and Hernandez-Harrison’s unbeaten streak, on Dec. 5.

Bogota, Colombia native Alexander Brand is riding a seven fight winning streak dating back to July 2012. That streak began following his only professional defeat which came at the hands of current World Champion Badou Jack via an eight-round split decision on May 11, 2012. Since that fight, Brand has passed every ring test with flying colors, notching seven consecutive victories. In his last bout on August 9, he defeated Bernard Donfack by unanimous decision. He faces the sternest test of his professional career on Dec. 5 when he faces Bektemirov.

Born in Makhachkala, Russia, Medzhid Bektemirov began his professional career in 2009 in Houston Texas, where he currently resides. The undefeated Bektemirov’s 16-0 record includes 12 KOs. He most recently fought on April 18, 2015 at the University of Texas against Michael Gbenga, where he won an eight-round bout by unanimous decision. He looks to stay undefeated against Brand on Dec. 5.

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs. Rafael Rivera, a ten-round featherweight bout, takes place Saturday, Dec. 5 at Osceola Heritage Park Exhibit Hall in Kissimmee, Florida and will be televised live on HBO Latino. The fight is presented by Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions.

For more information please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

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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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