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James Kirkland released from prison

Boxing lost one of its most promising junior middleweight contenders to the law last year. Now that boxer, James Kirkland, is back and he's ready to make his run to the title.

Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) was released from prison Friday after serving a little over a year for a parole violation. Kirkland, who was sentenced to 24 months, will finish the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house.

Kirkland's last appearance in the ring in March, 2009 resulted in a sixth-round TKO of Joel Julio 

Kirkland was originally scheduled to be released on September 17, but there weren't enough available beds in the halfway house. Kirkland will be allowed to train and travel while serving his time in the halfway house.

"I can't wait to get back in the ring and pick up where I left off," said Kirkland. "I apologize to all my friends, family, team members and fans for everything that happened, but I promise that I will make everybody proud in the coming months and years."

Kirkland was a devastating punched prior to being jailed, with 22 knockouts in 25 fights. Golden Boy Promotions boss Oscar de la Hoya was more than happy to have its prized fight active again.

"It's great to have James back and the junior middleweight division has just been put on notice," said de la Hoya. "I know how hard he works and he's been waiting for this moment to prove to the world that he shouldn't be judged by his mistakes in the past, but how he fixes those mistakes and becomes a role model for young men and women everywhere."

Kirkland, 26, is expected to be back in the ring sometime in the next two months.

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