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Duva and the Lanes Unveil Chinese Heavyweight Zhang

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It was good to see boxing lifer Dino Duva back in a familiar context, talking about one of his future stars today in NYC. Duva has been off my radar the last couple of years, since his guy Sam Peter petered out, and his champ Ola Afolabi dropped a belt. But he hasn’t been detoxed from the fight game; no sir, Duva has been busy planning the replenishment of his stable. This time around, Nigeria and the UK are out, and China is in. Duva, along with the Brothers Lane, Terry and Tommy, showed off their Olympic heavyweight, 6-6 lefty Zhang Zhilei today at Tao restaurant in NYC. Duva didn’t proclaim him a current superstar, but said that within two years he should be a contender. Also, he thinks he has more upside than the Top Rank talent Zou Shiming, and has a style that well in the pros, he said.

We can expect a May or June debut, the veteran promoter told me. Also, read into this what you well, but HBO boxing boss Ken Hershamn popped in to the gathering, to wish Duva, the Lanes and big Zhang well. Read into that what you will…

Check out this release which went out today, synopsizing the signing and the event.

New York, March 10—A new “Dynasty” dawns today! Prominent boxing promoter Dino Duva has announced the launch of Dynasty Boxing, his latest promotional venture. Duva will be joined by the brothers Tommy and Terry Lane – sons of Hall of Fame referee Mills Lane – as partners in the enterprise.

Zhang Zhilei, the Chinese Super Heavyweight who captured the Olympic Silver Medal in Beijing in 2008, will be the first fighter to be promoted by Dynasty as the six-foot-six, highly-regarded prospect blasts off into the professional ranks.

For Duva, it has been a long journey of four years, hundreds of flights, and thousands of miles traveling between his New Jersey home base and China to cultivate the relationships with the Chinese Boxing Federation.

Dynasty Boxing will announce additional signings in the coming weeks.

Duva, the son of Hall of Fame trainer/manager Lou Duva, has specialized in promoting heavyweight boxers and champions, including Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, George Foreman, Samuel Peter, Riddick Bowe, and Kirk Johnson at various junctures in their careers.

For the brothers Lane, it is a long-awaited opportunity to take the next step as promoters, after years of watching their beloved father officiate major championship fights throughout the country, followed by their initial success venture, Nevada-based “Let’s Get It On” Promotions.

“It’s a sincere pleasure to get back into the promotion business, especially with these unique and special Chinese boxers being a major part of it,” said Duva. “Of course, we will be looking to promote other great boxers from across the country and world as we go forward. But our major focus right now will be developing the Chinese boxers and market.

I can’t think of a better way to kick it all off than with the announcement of the signing of this very special “big guy,” Zhang Zhilei,” added Duva. “He has the whole package – size, athleticism, good looks, and great personality. And one other thing: he knows how to fight! He has more of a pro style than Olympic style. Mark my words, once boxing fans get a chance to see him, he will be the talk of the heavyweight division and all of boxing! I believe he is going to be the most important heavyweight to come along since the Klitschkos turned pro in 1996.

“The Lanes and Duvas are long-time family friends, and couldn’t be happier doing business with first-class gentlemen who have great knowledge of the fight game,” wrapped up Duva.

Said the Lane Brothers: “We are extremely excited about this venture. The Chinese boxers like Zhang Zhilei are trailblazers. There’s no doubt that they will bring great pride to their country and provinces, and help bring big-time boxing to millions of people. We’re also very excited to partner with Dino Duva on what we think will be an historic venture.”

(from left to right in Teddy Blackburn picture, great to see you, it’s been too long Teddy! Kurt Li, Terry Lane, Zhang, Duva, Tommy Lane)

Follow Woods on Twitter.

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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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