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Main Events Happy About 2012 “Fight Night,” Excited For ’13

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Main Events

Main Events – TOTOWA, NJ – FIGHT NIGHT on NBC Sports Network launched its second season on January 19th with another knockout of a boxing broadcast. The dynamite double header featured two stunning kayos that continued the thrills that boxing fans have come to expect from the popular series.

In the main event, hard-punching Russian light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev stopped former world champion Gabriel Campillo, of Spain, in three rounds. Just before that, Curtis “Showtime” Stevens stole the show with his first round knockout of Elvin Ayala to win the NABF Middleweight title. The high quality fisticuffs were just the latest offering from the newest and best boxing series on TV. FIGHT NIGHT kept fans cheering all last year as well.

In 2012, the fledgling boxing series brought bouts of high quality and real significance to fight fans all year long and set a new standard as the model for the future of boxing programming. In the seven shows that comprised the first season, FIGHT NIGHT delivered fights that mattered. Competitive matches and top-level talent were the norm, and fans ate it up and tuned in at record levels. In all, 19 fights were televised in the first season and several key storylines surfaced.

The biggest story of the year was the emergence of heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings. The Philadelphian began the year as an unknown 6-round preliminary fighter with only distant dreams of what he actually managed to achieve in 2012. Jennings’ career turned in the very first edition of FIGHT NIGHT on January 21st. A late cancellation of another fight created an opening for Jennings to step into the series’ first main event. Jennings not only answered when opportunity knocked, he burst through the door.

Jennings won his first scheduled 10-rounder and first main event with an exciting decision over then-undefeated Maurice Byarm that earned him the Pennsylvania state heavyweight title, introduced him to the boxing world and in a single sweep, launched his career.

Two months later, Jennings topped himself by stopping former world champion Sergei Liakhovich in the second edition of FIGHT NIGHT. Jennings was so impressive that Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach opined that Jennings was America’s best hope for a world heavyweight title.

After two more fights on FIGHT NIGHT Jennings won the USBA title and is now ranked #3 in the world. Jennings’ year also earned him the accolade of “Boxing Prospect of the Year” by Sports Illustrated.

Another Philadelphian who made his bones on the first season of FIGHT NIGHT was junior middleweight “King” Gabriel Rosado. He fought three times on the showcase, winning all three by knockout, and climbed the 154-pound rankings. When he halted Charles Whittaker in September, Rosado earned the #1 spot in the IBF ratings and became the mandatory challenger. Rosado began the new year with a world middleweight championship fight against Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden, making him the first FIGHT NIGHT alum to land a shot at a world title.

Former champion Zab Judah also earned a title opportunity with his March 2012 knockout of then undefeated Vernon Paris. Judah won the title elimination bout in the 9th round of a Brooklyn homecoming, and will return to Brooklyn to face 140-pound champion Danny Garcia next month.

Another theme in the first season of FIGHT NIGHT was one of tough matchmaking and the seasoning that it provided young fighters. Ten undefeated fighters appeared on the series, but five of them came away with their first career loss. Maurice Byarm (13-1-1) and Vernon Paris (26-1) were already mentioned, but Ronald Cruz (17-1), Jerry Belmontes (17-1) and Damar Singleton (8-1), also joined the list. All of them lost to good fighters in tough, learning fights that should provide them with solid experience to build upon. No doubt all will come back better than ever.

Almost half of the televised FIGHT NIGHT bouts (8 of 19) ended in knockout, and every FIGHT NIGHT show in 2012 featured at least one Top-10 fighter. And talk about star power, four former world champions graced the NBC Sports Network airwaves over the last year.

Former two-time champion Tomasz Adamek made three starts on the series, going the distance each time. He rebounded from his gutsy title attempt against Vitali Klitschko with a near shutout of Nagy Aguilera in March. His other two fights on the series were both hotly disputed outings that featured terrific ring action as well as controversial endings.

In June Adamek won a 12-round decision over Eddie Chambers in Newark. Chambers injured his left arm in the first round of the fight, but managed to stay competitive until the final bell. Adamek won the official verdict, but some felt Chambers had beaten him one-handed.

Six months later, Adamek re-matched with former two time champ Steve Cunningham in Bethlehem, PA. Everyone who watched their first struggle four years prior, knew that this one was going to be good. The pair fought for 12 terrific rounds with Cunningham landing more often, but Adamek landing harder. The official judges awarded Adamek the decision, but the split verdict was by a whisker. There were some that thought the decision controversial, but everyone thought the fight was an excellent one.

The Adamek – Cunningham II show was aired live by NBC on a throwback national broadcast. The broadcast had an “audience reach” of 3.9 million viewers, which makes it the highest rated boxing telecast in the United States in 2012. Just the weigh in alone for Adamek – Cunningham II racked up over 360,000 views on Ustream.

With Adamek and Jennings as anchors, Season One became the home of American heavyweight boxing. Seven major heavyweight bouts were featured throughout the year. These included two United States (USBA) title fights, two North American championships, one PA state title bout, and a world title elimination bout. Going forward, Jennings, Adamek and Cunningham are sure bets to figure prominently in the heavyweight division in 2013. Eddie Chambers, a world heavyweight title challenger himself, decided to drop down and campaign for a title shot in the cruiserweight division.

Other breakout stars of the series were Russian light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, Ukraine heavyweight Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov, and super featherweight Eric Hunter of Philadelphia. All are expected to go on to even bigger and better things in 2013, and chances are they will be seen again on FIGHT NIGHT.

With the second season of FIGHT NIGHT off to a brilliant start and picking up right where 2012 left off, it only means that more great boxing is coming your way. The next edition, on February 23rd, features a hard-hitting heavyweight showdown between the returning Czar Glazkov and Malik Scott in his FIGHT NIGHT debut. If this one is like anything that’s come before, you’re not going to want to miss it. With fights this good, even we can’t wait to see what happens next.

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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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