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Seth Mitchell & Chazz Witherspoon Promise Good Scrap April 28

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Fans of the American heavyweight scene have been focused on Seth Mitchell, the 29 year-old Maryland resident and ex footballer, in the last year or so, hoping that he has the goods to dethrone the Klitschkos. Mitchell (24-0-1 with 18 KOs), who gloves up on the Hopkins-Dawson II rematch on April 28 in Atlantic City, against Chazz Witherspoon, said he will leave it to others to call him the next great American heavyweight, but he says he feels confident he has the goods to get a title. He said he wants to get the win, but also do so impressively, to impress the fans and HBO.

“I do want to be impressive, I don't want my knockout streak to stop,” he said on a Tuesday conference call to hype the tussle. He has won his last nine by stoppage; in his last outing, he stopped Timur Ibragimov on Dec. 10 (TKO2; first time the 30-4 Ibragimov has been stopped). He said he doesn't get paid by the round, and he's more than happy to get it done in one. He'd like to take his punishment in camp, not in fights, so he can make money, and leave the game with his health intact.

Mitchell was asked if he is aware of the pressure, and knows that if he keeps winning, he gets a title crack. No, he said, he is keeping focused. He does think about it, but he keeps things in perspective.

Witherspoon (age 30; 30-2 with 22 KOs; born in Philly, living in NJ)  was asked what a win means to him, being that he has dropped two step up fights. “A win would revitalize my career,” he said, noting that boxing is cruel in that one or two losses can make people write you off. “In boxing you're kind of only as good as your last win.” Is it is his last chance? It is important, he said, but he doesn't see the fight as his last chance.

“People have yet to see me at my best,” he said. Everything came together with this fight, he said. He's at camp with Virgil Hunter in Oakland, the first time he's had such an opportunity. “I'm a man's man, I come to rumble,” he said. He won't be scared of Mitchell, he said, and he will commit to his punches. Other men have fought Mitchell scared, he said. “My heart doesn't pump any Kool-Aid,” Spoon said. He said his new managers, which include ex heavyweight champion Ken Norton,  suggested Virgil Hunter, and this pleased Spoon, who had a list of three on his Wish List of trainers (Barry Hunter, Naazim Richardson and Hunter.)  This five week camp, he said, has been solid. He's cleaned up some technical issues with Hunter. He roomed with Hunter's charge Andre Ward at the 2004 Olympics, he said, so the Hunter pairing makes sense.

Spoon's uncle is Larry Blackmon of the funk/R & B band Cameo (“Word Up!”), and he put the Norton connection into motion. “It all came together pretty fast,” he said, for this fight.

Mitchell said he tries to throw 250 or so punches a round in training, so he'll have plenty of gas in the late rounds. “I'm not worried about going 12 rounds,” he said. “The conditioning part is the furthest thing from my mind.” He's sparred between 70-80 rounds, and will shoot for about 100.

Spoon noted that he turned pro after just three years of experience, as he started boxing in college. His amateur rise was swift, as opposed to Mitchell, whose pro ascent has been fast.

Mitchell said if you slice him open, you won't find a female dog in him, and that he thinks the same of Witherspoon. Witherspoon clarified that he wasn't knocking Mitchell's foes, or issuing a challenge to Mitchell.

The fighters were asked about the Klitschko brothers. Wlad is a really nice guy, said Spoon, who has been in camp with the younger brother. He trains really hard, and is a class act, who brings respect to the sport. Mitchell said Wlad is a class act, and he'd like to conduct himself the same way outside the ring when he snags a title. Wlad has one-shot power, “light switch power,” and he'd like to own the same type power.

Golden Boy's David Itskowitch introduced Witherspoon, a cousin of ex heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon. 'Spoon said he feels good, and feels blessed to get this opportunity. He said he's happy to be here. Itskowitch then introed Mitchell, the ex Michigan State University linebacker, who turned pro in 2008. Mitchell, living in Maryland, said he was excited for the bout, which he said would be a “good fight.” This is his first bout set for 12 rounds, and he said he knew Spoon is training hard for the scrap. He noted that this event features two black American boxers who are also college grads. Spoon, who played basketball and track and went to St. Joseph's, and Mitchell both went against the grain, in that they didn't start boxing as a kid. Both said that the sports-education mix is a positive, because they both realize they can pull off big-time goals.

He said that the word on Spoon is he has lost his two step up fights, to Chris Arreola and Tony Thompson, and thus he will be training extra hard. Spoon said he does get it that he has more experience than Mitchell, but understands he is the underdog. He learned from the Arreola fight that things can change when you get buzzed. He learned how to deal when you get hit, and not get into “an all out war…I'm not that same fighter anymore.”

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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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