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Mexico’s Andy Ruiz KO’s Elijah McCall in Vegas Heavyweight Prospect Battle

David A. Avila

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LAS VEGAS-Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz broke through the barriers of doubt with a convincing performance in beating Elijah McCall by technical knockout on Friday night.

In a battle between heavyweights prospects Mexicali’s Ruiz (17-0, 11 Kos) battered McCall (11-2-1, 10 Kos), the son of former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall before a stunned audience who expected a close combative fight at the Texas Station Casino. It was one-sided.

Ruiz established his jab and superior hand-speed that caught McCall repeatedly in the opening round. And when McCall tried to retaliate, he was met with precise counter left hooks and three-punch combinations.

“The plan was to use the jab and going in really strong,” said Ruiz, who may not win any body building contests but possesses extraordinary hand speed. “I wanted to be careful because I know he’s a big puncher.”

Midway through the first round it was clear that Ruiz could counter McCall’s shots and proved adept at landing combinations.

“I wasn’t trying to get wild. I was just picking my shots,” said Ruiz, who is promoted by Top Rank.
The second round saw Ruiz more confident that he could open up behind the jab and body punches. McCall was not ready to give in and launched a one-two combination that connected but was met with a more powerful three-punch combo that forced the Chicago-based McCall to back away. A one-two wobbled McCall, who seemed stunned at the bell.

Ruiz immediately attacked the body in round three and fired a four-punch combination. McCall tried to fight back but was met with some brutal left hooks and right hands. Near the end of the round, with 10 seconds remaining in the round Ruiz began to unload. Referee Kenny Bayless wisely stopped the fight at 2:59 of the round.
“It was a good stoppage,” said Ruiz. “He was going to get seriously hurt.”
After the fight Oliver McCall congratulated Ruiz for his win and asked for a match.

Ruiz’s manager Joseph Gagliardi said that the fight was an important step in establishing his fighter’s improvement.

“Andy’s progressed very well. I know he’s got a number of knockouts but people have questioned his conditioning,” said Gagliardi. “I’ve been in this business for about 40 years and he has one of the strongest punches in his jab that I’ve ever seen.”

Gagliardi said another undefeated heavyweight prospect would be sought for Ruiz to fight.
“I needed to see for myself Andy fight an experienced heavyweight like McCall,” said Gagliardi. “I see that he’s improved and ready for another similar fight.”

Other bouts
A welterweight fight between Nigeria’s Wale “Lucky Boy Omotoso (23-0, 19 Kos) and Puerto Rico’s Irving Garcia (17-8-3, 8 Kos) was stopped at the end of round two. An accidental clash opened a bad cut and stunned Garcia who had scored a knockdown against Omotoso. The Puerto Rican fighter was unable to continue so that fight was ruled a no contest according to Nevada State Athletic Commission rules.

Chicago’s Trevor McCumby (9-0, 8 Kos) kept his winning streak going but the knockout streak was snapped by West Virginia’s Eric Watkins after six rounds of a light heavyweight fight. McCumby caught Watkins plenty of times with counter shots but the fight got tougher each round instead of easier. The scores were 59-55 twice and 60-54 for McCumby.

A battle between southpaw welterweights was won by New York’s Kenny Abril (14-5-1, 7 Kos) by split-decision against Filipino Dennis Laurente (40-4-4, 22 Kos) after eight rounds. Abril won the fight in the last round when he landed a solid four-punch combination to get the nod on judge Bob Bennett’s card. That was the difference in the decision. Judge Al Lefkowitz had 77-74 for Laurente and judge Tim Cheatham 77-74 for Abril. “I really want to beat Manny Pacquiao,” said an ecstatic Abril. Laurente is managed by Pacquiao.

 

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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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