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Cuba’s Lara KOs Raines, Ava Knight KOs Salas

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INDIO-Cuba’s former Olympian Erislandy Lara really needed only two punches to end the fight with Arkansas boxer Delray Raines in the first round of a middleweight fight and Oakland’s Ava Knight proved the long layoff was no distraction on Friday at Fantasy Springs Casino.

From the opening bell Lara (15-0, 10 KOs) looked much too polished to be fighting Raines (18-9-1, 13 KOs) who boxes out of Paris, Arkansas and looked lost in the ring. At times Lara looked puzzled and amused at Raines' defensive movements and finally saw the opening and sent the Arkansas fighter on his way home with a right hook and left cross that dropped him for a knockout at 2:59 of the first round.

“I was just warming up and getting my rhythm when I connected,” said Lara. “This is my fourth fight in a row with a first round knockout. I want the winner of Rigoberto Alvarez and Austin Trout.”

Oakland’s Ava Knight (6-1-2, 3 KOs) was too fast and too powerful for Desert Spring’s Gloria Salas (3-6-1). A left hook and right hand floored Salas who was counted out by the referee at 1:55 of the first round of a flyweight bout. Salas landed a few punches but Knight’s speed was the difference. It was her first fight in 17 months but she looked to be ready to return to the elite class whether its flyweight or bantamweight.

“I was real excited to be in there. I felt real good but felt the ring rust,” said Knight, who didn’t take much time to mix it up with Salas and it showed. “We got the chance because Golden Boy gave us the chance and Claudia Ollis gave us the chance.”

In a sloppy featherweight fight Coachella’s Randy Caballero (7-0, 4 KOs) used his quick combinations to score when Seattle’s Manuel Ortega (1-4) wasn’t grabbing a hold of him in a headlock. Caballero dropped Ortega with an overhand right above the ear in the second round After four rounds Caballero won on points 40-35 on all three judges cards.

“This fighter was a lot different but it was great experience,” said Caballero. “I love fighting here in front of my hometown fans.”

Junior welterweight prospect Frankie “Pitbull” Gomez (8-0, 6 KOs) had too much speed for Mexico’s Luis Lugo (11-14-1, 6 KOs) in a six round bout. East L.A.’s Gomez hammered Lugo with every punch in the book and dropped the sturdy veteran with a straight left from a southpaw stance in the third round. Lugo was never in serious danger but was shut out by Gomez according to the judge’s scores 60-53.

“I tried to knock him out he’s a tough kid. I really wanted to knock him out but you can’t knock every one out. But he had a hard head and a tough chin,” Gomez said.

East L.A.’s Ramon Valadez (5-1, 2 KOs) over-powered Ensenada, Mexico’s Cesar Garcia (3-6) for three rounds and opened up cuts on both eyes. By the third round referee David Mendoza had seen enough and stopped the fight at 2:32 of the third round of a lightweight bout.

Las Vegas boxer Bastie Samir won by technical knockout over Philadelphia’s Greg Hackett after firing about 30 unanswered punches. Referee Pat Russell stopped the fight at 2:48 of the first round despite complaints from Hackett.

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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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