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Ponomarev Tops Hollywood Fight Card on Thursday Night

David A. Avila

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.—Hollywood’s semi-famous Florentine Gardens was the backdrop to a full fight card led by undefeated Russian boxer Konstantin Ponomarev on Thursday night. There was also a tribute to late boxing writer great, Joe Rein.

With a number of boxing celebrities watching Ponomarev (22-0, 11 Kos) won by technical knockout against Sacramento’s always tough Rogelio Castaneda (26-19-3). The Bash Boxing event was attended by former champions Steve Forbes and Henry Tillman.

Ponomarev jumped out aggressively toward Castaneda at the opening bell. Early in the first round, both clashed heads and Castaneda emerged with a cut smack middle of his forehead. It bled profusely.

Castaneda is a real professional. He may not have the glowing record but when it comes to the art of boxing the Sacramento prizefighter knows every move and counter-move. Ponomarev tried repeatedly to overwhelm with blistering combinations but was met with overhand rights and left uppercuts that stopped each skirmish.

After two rounds of give and trade, you could see that Ponomarev decided to put on his thinking cap. He tried bull rushing and then he tried countering, but it always resulted in a stalemate. But at the end of round two Castaneda looked severely winded.

Both fighters clashed and countered in the third round. Ponomarev seemed to have an edge in speed and power, but Castaneda would open up with his own combinations at just the right time and connected often. But he never could hurt or stun the young Russian. At the end of round three Castaneda’s corner called the fight off. The Sacramento boxer hurt his leg during one of the last exchanges and could no longer continue. Ponomarev had another knockout win.

Other bouts

Heavyweight Charles Martin (12-0-1, 10 Kos) entered the boxing ring as usual, by stepping over the ropes. He’s that big. The St. Louis native looked like an easy winner when opponent Joey Dawejko (8-3-2) stepped into the ring. Martin looked like he had at least a 12-inch height advantage over the almost albino looking Philadelphia heavyweight.

Martin is one hard-hitting heavyweight. When he tags someone, they stay tagged. But Dawejko is a clever heavyweight who knows how to use space, slight movement and counters at the precise moment necessary. It was a good cat and mouse performance by both heavyweights. Martin was tagged a couple of times but kept focus and eventually landed the big blow that delivered Dawejko to the deck in the fourth round. The smaller heavyweight beat the count and resumed fighting, but his corner asked the fight to be stopped at 3:00 of round four. It was another knockout victory for Martin, who is trained by former Olympic gold medalist Tillman.

The most competitive fight occurred early on the fight card when local boxer Joaquin Chavez (6-10-3) of East L.A. and Brooklyn’s Dimash Niyazov (4-0-1) tangled in a junior welterweight skirmish. If you know anything about those two locales they’re like mirror images and their fighters, though different in style, never gave in and ended in a split draw after six rounds.

Greek heavyweight Thanasis Michaloudis (6-0, 6 Kos) showed very quick hands against Robert Dunton (9-10-1). The tall heavyweight has a hands high defense and works primarily as a counter-puncher. But when he let loose with his combinations they were very quick and powerful. He knocked out Dunton at 2:22 of round one.

Oxnard bantamweight Erik Ruiz (10-1, 5 Kos) nailed Tijuana’s Rigoberto Casillas (9-12-1) with a perfect counter right to drop him. Then when the fight resumed a four-punch combination put down Casillas again. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth wisely stopped the fight at 1:36 of round one.

Ukrainian cruiserweight Vyacheslav Shabransky (6-0, 5 Kos) patiently figured out Mexico’s awkwardly clever Rafael Valenzuela (8-2) before lowering the boom. A right hand to the top of Valenzuela’s head sent the herky jerky Mexican fighter to the floor at 1:58 of round two for a knockout.

United Kingdom’s John Quigley (10-0, 2 Kos) dominated Dominic Coca (8-6) with his hands down defense and Prince Naseem Hamed type moves. Quigley switched from southpaw to orthodox and hit Coca with punches from different angles. All three judges gave Quigley every round to win a unanimous decision in a lightweight bout.

Zack Wohlman (6-1-1) defeated Canada’s Steve Conkin (4-7-1) by unanimous decision after a four round welterweight match. Wohlman showed good defense against the gritty Conkin to win by unanimous decision.

Last note:

The tribute to Joe Rein came before the main event. Rein was a screenwriter and also contributed to www.TheSweetscience.com frequently. Several times I met with Mr. Rein and engaged in great conversations with him at a diner in Santa Monica. He was one of those guys you never forget.

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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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