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Manuel Avila, Diego De La Hoya Win at LA Fight Club

David A. Avila

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LOS ANGELES-Without the use of his right hand the last two rounds, Northern California’s Manuel Avila jabbed his way to victory over Oxnard’s Erik Ruiz (13-3, 6 Kos) in their super bantamweight showdown on Thursday.

“I stuck to my game plan and relied on my best punch, the left jab,” said Avila.

Avila (17-0, 7 Kos) showed the fans at Belasco Theater on LA Fight Club that a stinging left jab is enough of a weapon as he won by unanimous decision over Ruiz after 10 rounds on the Golden Boy Promotions card.

Both are tall super bantamweights but Avila has Erik Morales-like height and used a rapier jab to keep Ruiz from walking through him. Each fighter was quick but Avila’s longer arms were able to catch Ruiz whenever he tried to charge.

From round nine until the 10th and final round, Fairfield, California’s Avila never used the right hand and fired stiff left jabs in rapid-fire to keep Ruiz from taking advantage. All three judges scored it 100-90 for Avila.

“Ultimately, he had a strong jab. I tried to neutralize it but just couldn’t,” said Ruiz.

It was a rugged and sometimes ugly fight between Diego De La Hoya (10-0, 6 Kos) and Ramiro Robles (12-3-1, 6 Kos), with both fighters struggling to make space for their punches. De La Hoya unloaded 30 consecutive blows without a hiccup in the first round but still had plenty left.

“It was very exciting to give the fans a good fight,” said Diego De La Hoya. “I came up against a tough opponent. It was a hard fight but I think it will be the fight of the night.”

Robles, a southpaw from Guanajuato, Mexico, tried to pressure Mexicali’s De La Hoya through the rest of the fight but was unable to fire many clean shots. De La Hoya turned him and fired rights as Robles tried to keep up. Through most of the fight Robles bored in as De La Hoya moved side to side. It was the theme of the fight until the final round when De La Hoya stood his ground and pounded away at the slower Robles.

“De La Hoya is very intelligent,” said Ramiro “Zurdo” Robles. “He knows how to move around the ring.”

All three judges scored it 80-72 for De La Hoya.

Other bouts

On paper, it looked like in a super bantamweight contest, Colombia’s Oscar Negrete (9-0, 3 Kos) was about to experience his toughest test against former contender Luis Maldonado Jr. (38-14-1) of Mexico. But the man who fought Vic Darchinyan was nowhere to be found in this fight. Negrete punished Maldonado every round with uppercuts and rights. Maldonado used his experience to keep from toppling but accidental head clashes caused two cuts that led to the fight being stopped at 22 seconds into round five. The judges scored it 50-46 and 50-45 twice for Negrete, whose youth and speed kept Maldonado from showing any of his early form.

“Family was watching on television from Colombia,” said Negrete. “My going against an experienced opponent shows I can compete against champions and I can reach my goals.”

Jesus Delgado (5-0-1, 2 Kos) battered Arizona’s Benjamin Vinson (1-3) until referee David Mendoza stopped the fight at 2:34 of round three in their lightweight bout. Delgado was too quick and hit too hard but Vinson refused to stop punching despite the stoppage. Delgado attacked the body throughout the fight with thudding left hooks. “I had to be calm and feel him out,” said Delgado. “Once I did, I started to capitalize on his mistakes.”

L.A. super bantamweight Emilio Sanchez (8-0, 6 Kos) started out hot against Puerto Rico’s Elziezer Agosto (2-5, 2 Kos) but flamed out a little after scoring a knockdown with a right uppercut-right cross combo in the second round. Agosto survived and rallied a bit as Sanchez’s attack withered a bit from throwing too many punches the previous round. One judge scored it 40-35, the other two saw it 39-36 for Sanchez. “I’m feeling good about my victory and staying undefeated,” said Sanchez. “I think I’m ready for a six rounder next time.”

Welterweight Diego Padilla of L.A. made a big bang in his pro debut by handing Seattle’s Zachary Cooper (2-1) his first pro loss with a dominating performance after four rounds. Padilla was successful repeatedly with overhand rights that connected almost every round. When he switched southpaw Padilla was hit hard but returned to an orthodox stance and won the fight. In round three he floored Cooper with a right uppercut-left hook-right hand. All three judges scored it 40-35 for Padilla. “It felt good to win at Fight Club in my pro debut,” said Padilla.

West L.A.’s popular Nick Arce (3-0, 2 Kos) stopped Dallas fighter Marco Alcaraz (0-6) at 2:04 of round two of a featherweight face off. Arce floored Alcaraz four times before referee Jack Reiss stopped the one-sided scrap.

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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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