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Kaliesha West Vs. Ava Knight Lead Inland Empire Parade

David A. Avila

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K_the_new_champ_pic_4The region known as the Inland Empire is not only one of the fastest growing areas in Southern California, it’s also one of the hottest areas for prizefighting whether it’s boxing or mixed martial arts.

WBO bantamweight titleholder Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West leads a parade of Inland Empire fighters from the San Bernardino and Riverside County areas that have quickly become a fight factory whether it’s boxing or MMA.

Last weekend two prizefighters from the Riverside area, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Mikey Garcia, were the main events at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Chavez won the WBC middleweight world title and Garcia maintained his number one spot at featherweight.

In the next few weeks numerous fight cards erupt all over the area with several fight cards competing with each other on the same night.

Coming up first will be Moreno Valley’s West defending the WBO title against her rival Ava Knight on Saturday, June 18 in the Los Angeles area.

West and Knight fought each other in 2008 in what was described as one of the best female prize fights ever seen in California. Knight took that fight by decision.

Moreno Valley, where West lives, is a small city of about 100,000 residents that borders the city of Riverside. The mercurial 23-year-old West has become that city’s most famous athlete and first and only world champion.

Knight, who fights out of Oakland, recently fought in the I.E. earlier this year and stopped Coachella’s Gloria Salas in a bout held at the flyweight level. For this match they’ll be fighting at the 118-pound limit.

Both West and Knight are about the same size and have quick hands and power at their disposal. Recently, West knocked out her last two opponents with some riveting combinations. Knight can crack too.

West won the world title last year in L.A. and Knight knocked out Gloria Salas in Indio earlier this year. They will be fighting at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena. For more information call (240) 498-1478.

A week later, on June 24, a boxing card at Pechanga Resort and Casino will feature Riverside’s junior welterweight Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera against Mike Dallas Jr. who suffered his first career loss against another Riverside prizefighter, Josesito Lopez.
It’s getting to the point where boxers from other areas are wary of fighting anyone from the Inland areas.

Also, on June 24, at the Doubletree Hotel, Riverside’s Jose “El Nino” Reynoso tangles with Esteban Almaraz in a junior welterweight clash. Ironically, Thompson Boxing Promotions is involved with both competing fight cards that take place on the same night in Temecula and Ontario.

Reynoso has been on a rampage the last couple of years and has found his niche as a junior welterweight slickster. Unbeaten in his last five fights, the lanky left-hander has built a following among boxing fans in the area with wins over Aris Ambriz. Hector Serrano and Santos Pakau.

On the same Doubletree fight card Efrain Esquivias tackles Felipe Cordova of Brownsville, Texas in a junior featherweight match. Esquivias is trained by Freddie Roach and has a very aggressive style that’s kept him undefeated. Also on the card will be Artemio “King” Reyes Jr. a welterweight from San Bernardino. Reyes has 11 wins so far with 10 coming by knockout. Many compare him to a young Antonio Margarito with his ability to fight inside or out.

On Saturday June 25, at Pala Casino, Dashon Johnson fights Bernardo Guereca in the main event. Johnson is a familiar boxer in the Inland area. Sugar Ray Leonard will be appearing at the fight card.

A mixed martial arts fight card takes place at San Manuel Casino on Thursday, June 30. Many of the fighters come from the Inland area and will be participating on the King of the Cage MMA card.

Speaking of MMA, Temecula’s Dan Henderson has signed to fight Russia’s feared Fedor Emelianenko in a heavyweight fight contracted at a 225-pound limit, announced Strikeforce last week. The match takes place on July 30 in the Sears Centre Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Henderson and Emelianenko are both considered among the greats in MMA today. It’s too bad Henderson never fights in this area where he lives. The closest he’s come to fighting near his hometown was in Las Vegas in 2009 when he knocked out England’s Michael Bisping. Otherwise he’s fought in Ohio, Georgia, Missouri and Ireland. He can’t get a break.

More Inland fighter stuff

Last week Randy Caballero, Juan Sandoval and Sindy Amador won their bouts.
Caballero, a top U.S. amateur star, has found the pros more to his liking and has reeled off 11 consecutive wins without a loss. Last Friday, in Indio, Caballero knocked out Chicago’s Sergio Cristobal (3-2) in the fourth round with a nice right cross.

Amador encountered the much taller Jessica Pence in a flyweight bout and stopped her in the fourth round. Pence is an undefeated MMA fighter with eight wins trying out boxing. Riverside’s Amador walked through Pence’s jabs and pummeled her in every round.

Sandoval won his second consecutive fight. Though his pro career has started badly with some bad decisions and rugged opponents, Sandoval has found the formula to beating other junior lightweights.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Kenny Galarza (14-1) vs. Irving Garcia (17-6-3).

Fri. Showtime, 10 p.m., Lateef Kayode (16-0) vs. Matt Godfrey (20-2).

Sat. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Holly Holm (29-1-3) vs. Victoria Cisneros (5-11-2).

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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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