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Najera Survives Early Scare to Defeat Dominguez in San Antonio

Kelsey McCarson

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Najera ActionPhoto of winner Najera courtesy Rachel McCarson

SAN ANTONIO, TX — One of San Antonio’s best boxing prospects, junior welterweight Ivan Najera (8-0, 7 KOs), survived a first round knockdown versus Gerardo Dominguez (1-15) to stay undefeated in his young professional career.Najera was in control in round number one, but was caught off balance by a swift left hook that sent him to the canvas near his own corner. He rose to his feet quickly, and then continued the success he began earlier in the round by outclassing his overmatched opponent.

In the second, Najera completed the demise of Dominguez. With a lead hand uppercut, Najera stunned his opponent in the blink of an eye, before sending him reeling to the canvas with a barrage of punches. Dominguez rose to his feet but was unable to continue so the contest was halted at 1:06 of round number two.

While the 19-year-old Najera gave his fans quite a scare versus an opponent who had mustered just one win in his career to date, he can take solace in the fact that he righted the ship quickly and finished the job the way he was expected to – by knock out.

***

Featherweights Kermit Hendricks (1-2) and Chris Nicolosi (0-1) kicked things off on the Cinco de Mayo card at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio.The fight bill was stacked with seven four-round contests featuring local prospects, journeymen and everything in between.

The first bout of the evening was a rough and tumble affair with lots of crowding, shoving and wild punches. Making his pro debut, Nicolosi did not seem accustomed to the professional fight game; he noticeably tired after just one round. The local guy, Hendricks, took full advantage. The southpaw finished off Nicolosi with a series of left hands in round number three to take the TKO win, his first victory as a professional.

Next, super middleweight Ronald Ellis (3-0, 3 KOs) kept Delvery Wofford (0-3) winless with fast, straight punches he landed right from the opening bell. Ellis, who is trained by Robert Garcia, landed a crisp one-two that hurt his opponent toward the end of the very first round.Ellis earned a first round KO by finishing him off with a devastating three-punch combo leaving Wofford hunched over on the canvas in agony.

Coming to the ring with Anne Wolfe foreshadowed what the crowd was in store for when John Arrellano (7-1, 7 KOs), a junior welterweight from Austin, Texas, came to the ring to face veteran pugilist Julian Rodriguez (19-21-4, 13 KOs) from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.Arrellano came out from the opening bell throwing every punch as if it was his last.It was skill versus will, with the larger, aggressive Arrellano being just too much for the cute tactics of Rodriguez.

Rodgriguez was put down in the first and second rounds by the thudding punches of Arrellano, but was able to parry shots and connect with his own intelligent counters through much of the bout to keep the rounds competitive. The fight ended in the third when Rodriguez seemed to injure his shoulder attempting a looping hook at his hard charging opponent.

Chiseled light heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby (5-0, 5 KOs) came to the ring with a scowl on his face, but he left with a smile. McCumby weathered a fast and furious start by Perseus Givens (1-2) to score a first round technical knockout. Perseus was game, but McCumby’s fierce, hard blows took the steam out of him quickly, culminating with the devastating body blow that led to his demise. Unable to defend himself, the referee stopped the contest with Givens on his feet but just barely coherent.

McCumby appears to be a prospect to be reckoned with.

Some fighters come to the ring and just immediately appear to be in control of a fight. Such is the case when San Antonio’s Steve Hall (5-2, 5 KOs) came up against the previously undefeated Albert Espinoza (2-1).

Hall was patient and opportunistic. He stalked his opponent, carefully moved away from punches with the subtlest steps, and then sent back perfectly timed counterpunches. He was most effective with his straight right, which classically caught the southpaw Espinoza flush almost every time. The fight ended in the first, when one such shot put Espinoza down hard. He was able to rise to his feet, but the referee wisely halted the action as he still appeared dazed from the ferocious blow. The crowd was ecstatic for the hometown guy Hall, whose name was chanted with such fervor after the win that’d Ricky Hatton fans would be proud.

Finally, in the bout preceding the evening’s main event, two junior featherweights from San Antonio put on a very good show for their hometown crowd when Javier Rodriguez (2-0, 1 KO) and Theo Johnson (0-1) traded blows for four very competitive rounds.The shorter, more compact Rodriguez used balanced punching to connect at a higher rate than his longer, leaner opponent, while Johnson made him miss just enough to make things interesting at times.

Johnson had his moments but failed to capitalize on some fairly obvious opportunities. He often chose to stand in the pocket with Rodriguez, giving up his length advantage, and he was able to land enough punches of his own shots to keep the aggressive Rodriguez honest.

Judges scored the contest 39-37 for Rodriguez in what turned out to be the most contested bout of the evening.

The seven card bout, put on locally by San Antonio’s Leija-Battah Promotions, preceded the closed circuit showing of the Mosley-Alvarez and Mayweather-Cotto bouts from the night’s HBO PPV. An estimated 500 fans gathered around the make-shift boxing arena, which seemed to be converted from rodeo bull ring, to watch the live bouts before heading over to the sprawling two level dance floor/bar area to watch one of the many big screens.

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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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