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Angelo Santana Impressed on King “ShoBox” Card

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002 Santana vs Garcia IMG 1033Cuban Santana put himself in the mix at lightweight with a nasty KO win. (Tom Casino-Showtime)

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2012) – Undefeated lightweight contender Angelo “La Cobra” Santana arrived on the scene in spectacular fashion in Friday night’s main event on ShoBox: The New Generation from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.The 25-year-old Cuban, now fighting out of Miami, steamrolled Johnny Garcia of Holland, Mich., en route to a fifth-round Knockout of the Year candidate.

As an amateur back in Cuba, Santana compiled a staggering 180-3 record, winning two national—and seven regional—championships before defecting to the United States in September 2007. Just four months later, in January 2008, Santana made his professional debut at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Tito Trinidad-Roy Jones, Jr.

On Friday night, on his first nationally televised fight, Santana proved he’s here to stay.

From the start, Santana controlled the bout against Garcia, a rugged, wiry Michigan tough. Santana countered effectively in the opening round, instantly slowing Garcia’s attempted aggression. In the second, Garcia went down from a booming left hand. In the fourth, Santana opened up a deep cut over the eye. By then it was just a matter of time.

The outmatched Garcia sustained a second knockdown early in the fifth. Shortly after, he was forced back against the ropes where Santana unleashed fury. He finished with one flush left hand that flattened Garcia and forced the referee to halt the bout without administering a count.

“He showed he could fight. He showed he could box. But most of all, he showed us that he has devastating power,” said ShoBox analyst Raul Marquez, the former Jr. Middleweight World Champion.

Santana has now stopped all but three of his 14 professional opponents (14-0, 11 KOs) including seven consecutive in five rounds or less.

“Just because we didn’t know Santana coming in,” said veteran ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood, “doesn’t mean he doesn’t have big potential. A Cuban with a low profile is atypical. Tonight, in his national television debut, he was very impressive. I am looking forward to seeing him again.”

Earlier this week, middleweight contender Omar Henry withdrew from his scheduled main event bout with Juan Cabrera citing gallstones. As a result, Santana vs. Garcia was elevated to main event, paving the way for super welterweights Joey Hernandez and James Winchester to fill the ShoBox co-feature slot.

It was South Florida favorite, “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez who took a 10-round unanimous decision by scores of 96-92 and 97-91 twice. The southpaw improved his record to 23-1-1, 13 KOs with eight consecutive wins. Hernandez hopes this appearance will help him continue to step up to bigger, more high profile fights, but that remains to be seen.

“Hernandez expects to move up the rankings and get more opportunities like he had tonight,” said Farhood. “But he needed to dominate an inferior opponent like Winchester and he simply didn’t do it.”

Next Saturday, British boxing superstar Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton makes his return to the ring after a three-year hiatus when he faces former World Champion Vyacheslav Senchenko in a 10-round Jr. Welterweight bout. The one-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast from Manchester, England will air live at a special time of 5 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

Sunshine State Showdown is promoted by Don King Productions. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. ET. Six bouts are planned, beginning at 8 p.m. Santana vs. Garcia and Hernandez vs. Winchester will be televised on ShoBox: The Next Generation live at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) on SHOWTIME.

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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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