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Jawbreakers Alfredo Angulo & James Kirkland Get It On Saturday…AVILA

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t1uhdAngulo was 154, Kirkland 153 /12 at Friday's weigh in.

It happened in Montebello,  a small quiet town once known for its oil wells, dairy farms and a Helms Bakery but now known as the first city east of East Los Angeles.

Two years ago when middleweight contender Sergio Mora was in need of quality sparring, a call was sent out and answering were Alfredo “Perro” Angulo and James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland.

You can imagine that when two fighting pit bulls meet they’re going to circle each other cautiously before attacking. That’s what happened when they sparred each other.

“I’ll never forget it,” said Mora who sparred with both fighters and was resting when the two neck crackers smashed each other silly. “It was something to see.”

Few people saw it that day but this Saturday that will change when Angulo (20-1, 17 KOs) and Kirkland (29-1, 26 KOs) meet in Cancun, Mexico. The Golden Boy Promotions clash will be televised along with another middleweight fight between Craig McEwan and Peter Quillin on HBO.

“The main event is one fight that we've all been waiting for very patiently and it finally comes. This Saturday will be fireworks,” said Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya. “We're probably going to be witnessing history in the making. I'm predicting another Gatti-Ward type of trilogy.”

Who can argue?

Angulo recently signed with Golden Boy and was on the brink of crashing into elite status when contractual problems with his previous promoter interrupted the juggernaut. Then problems with INS unfolded and that forced him to return home to Mexico. But fans love his tenacity and willingness to seek destruction over all of his opponents.

“I've always said that I was born to fight, and I think that I'm going to prove it again on Saturday night and you guys are going to see for yourselves that I was born to fight,” says Angulo, who is now training under Nacho Beristain.

In the other corner will be Texan massacre artist Kirkland who, though he lost recently, has a bigger chip on his shoulder coming into this fight.

“I just want to be able to show the world that I deserve the opportunity to be able to be a world champion and this is it right here, to be able to show the world what I'm capable of,” Kirkland says.

Mora is diplomatic about what transpired that afternoon but adds that when he met the Texan for lunch after the sparring session, he could see fumes coming out of the Mandingo Warrior.

“He wanted to go back and do it again,” said Mora, chuckling. “He was still thinking about it.”

Who knows if either will want to do it again after Saturday night?

“I got the best of it, but sparring is one thing and I'm not underestimating anybody and the difference between this fight and the fight is that I trained for this person and I know what he's coming with and I know what type of game plan he likes,” said Kirkland during a conference call. “I know he's a come forward fighter and that's the same type of fighter I am. So we train to the utmost, to the max, because we know exactly what we're getting ourselves into.”

Angulo won’t talk about the past but only the future.

“I don't like prognosticating any fight. I don't like to give the results of any fight. I'm preparing for 12 rounds. When I have a fight that's going to be either 10 or 12 rounds I prepare for those full 10 or 12 rounds,” said Angulo. “I know this for sure that whenever someone's going to fight me, whenever someone's going to fight El Perro they prepare well. They prepare like never before. And I'm sure that James is going to be in the best shape ever.”

Other fight chatter

Riverside heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (33-2, 28 KOs) fights Raphael Butler (35-11, 28 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 5, in Guanajuato, Mexico. The fight will not be televised locally. It’s Arreola’s first fight in Mexico.

Oakland’s Ava Knight (7-1-3, 4 KOs) knocked out Mexico’s Arely Mucino (14-1-1, 8 KOs) in 45 seconds of round two to capture the IBF flyweight world title last Saturday in Colima, Mexico. Knight recently fought to a draw against Moreno Valley’s Kaliesha West and knocked out Coachella’s Gloria Salas this past year.

Boxing legend James “Lights Out” Toney (73-6-3, 44 KOs) fought Russia’s Dennis Lebedev (22-1, 17 KOs) in Moscow for the number one spot in the cruiserweight division on Friday. Toney,  43, has been criticized for being over-weight but in this fight he is dropping down to 200 pounds or less. It’s the lowest Toney will have weighed since 2003 when he beat Vassily Jirov for the WBC cruiserweight world title. Toney lost a wide UD to Lebedev.

IBF super middleweight world titleholder Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KOs) defends against Florida’s Glen Johnson (51-15-2, 35 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 5 in Quebec, Canada. It’s Bute’s ninth world title defense. Johnson is a former light heavyweight world champion.

Chevelle Hallback (28-7-2, 11 KOs) travels to Toulon, France to face Myriam Lamare (19-3, 10 KOs) for the vacant IBF junior welterweight world title on Saturday Nov. 5. Hallback formerly lived in Temecula and is considered one of the top female prizefighters in the last decade.

NABO junior lightweight titleholder Eloy Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs) stopped Ira Terry (24-7, 14 KOs) at 1:22 of round six on Friday in Salinas’ California. It was Perez’s second consecutive knockout victory.

Featherweight contender Bernabe Concepcion (29-5-1, 15 KOs) eked out a split decision win over San Diego’s Aaron Garcia (10-3-2) in a tense battle on Thursday at San Manuel Casino. Concepcion, who fights out of the Philippines, has fought twice for the featherweight world title. Also winning was Pomona’s heavyweight Alex Flores (6-0, 4 KOs) by first round knockout.

Russia’s Andrey Klimov (12-0, 7 KOs) remained undefeated when he stopped Mexico’s Eduardo Arcos (16-5-1, 13 KOs) at the end of round four of a lightweight bout set for 10 rounds. Arcos was a late replacement for Pipino Cuevas Jr. who had visa problems. The match took place Saturday in Maywood, Calif.

Undefeated Bryan Vazquez (27-0, 14 KOs) fought Santos Benavides (23-2-2, 17 KOs) in a junior lightweight match on Thursday in San Jose, Costa Rica. Vazquez fights out of Costa Rica. He won a wide UD12.

Suriyan Sor Rungvisal (19-4-1, 7 KOs) defends the WBC junior bantamweight world title for the first time. He faces Japan’s Nobuo Nashiro (15-3-1, 9 KOs) on Friday Nov. 4 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Former bantamweight world champion Tomas Rojas (36-13-1, 24 KOs) fights Feliciano Ledesma (82-21-2, 67 KOs) on Saturday Nov.5, in Tijuana, Mexico. It’s Rojas first fight since losing the world title this past summer.

Undefeated super middleweight George Groves (13-0, 10 KOs) clashes with veteran Paul Smith (31-2, 17 KOs) on Saturday in London, England. On the same fight card Scotland’s Ricky Burns (32-2) moves up in weight to fight Australia’s Michael Katsidis (28-4, 23 KOs).

WBA cruiserweight world titleholder Guillermo Jones (37-3-2, 29 KOs) defends against Michael Marrone (20-3, 15 KOs) on Saturday in Florida. Jones of Panama is making is second world title defense. Don King is promoting the fight.

WBC junior lightweight champion Takahiro Ao (21-2-1, 10 KOs) fights Devis Boschiero (29-0-1, 14 KOs) on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. Ao, 27, a former featherweight world champion, is making his second title defense at junior lightweight.

Mexico’s Hernan Marquez (32-2, 25 KOs) knocked out Luis Concepcion (23-3, 18 KOs) at the end of round one to retain the WBA flyweight world title last week. It was Marquez’s second title defense of the crown he captured from Panama’s Concepcion. He knocked down the former champion three times in the first round.  

Junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (31-0, 19 KOs) beat Colombia’s Richard Gutierrez (26-8-1, 16 KOs by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in Oklahoma. Other winners were Casey Ramos (15-0) and Abraham Han (15-0).

Italy’s Simona Galassi (16-1-1) captured the vacant IBF super flyweight world title by decision over Nadege Szikora (10-3-1) on Saturday. The fight took place in Cagliari, Italy. Galassi is a former flyweight world champion.

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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