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Articles of 2006

Interview with Paolo Vidoz



Paolo Vidoz is one of the best Italian boxers of the last ten years. As an amateur, he competed in the super heavyweight division, winning the bronze medal in two editions of the world championships: 1997 (Budapest, Hungary) and 1999 (Houston, Texas). He also won the broze medal during the 2000 Olympics in Sidney, Australia. More importantly, Paolo made it big in New York winning the gold medal during the 1998 Goodwill Games at Madison Square Garden. In the final he defeated outstanding Cuban Alexis Rubalcaba. That impressive showing gave Vidoz a lot of credibility and an exposure that he never received in Italy. The Goodwill Games were covered by American TV networks and newspapers. I was there and can guarantee you that dozens of journalists followed the fights and attended the press conferences. While the Italians wrote just a few lines, the Americans wrote long articles and published many photos. In Italy, the Goodwill Games were considered a minor event. In the United States, they were put on the same level as the world championships.

Before the super heavyweight final, the Goodwill Games people asked Paolo to talk with the press and I was asked to translate. Paolo put up a show that was welcomed by American journalists: he complained about the money he was receiving for his victories in tournaments around the world, joked about not turning professional (“I’m a country boy, I’ll work on my farm!”) and said that Rubalcaba was the overhelming favorite to win the gold medal.

Paolo’s colorful attitude was perfect for the American audience and he received many offers to start his professional career in the United States. He signed with Lou DiBella and fought nine times on American soil compiling a record of 8-1. His unexpected loss to Zuri Lawrence (who recently defeated Jameel McCline) convinced Vidoz to move to Italy where he got back on the right track by becoming Italian and European heavyweight champion. Today, his record is 20 wins (12 KOs) and just 2 losses. The second defeat was at the hands of Nicolay Valuev in Germany. On October 9, 2004 the Russian giant broke Paolo’s jaw en route to a 9th round TKO victory. After that, Vidoz changed his nickname from Gladiator to Titanium Jaw. Next January 28, Paolo will defend the Euro belt against Cengiz Koc. The fight will take place at Tempodrom Arena in Friedrichshain, Berlin.

Paolo, most people assume that you will easily defeat Cengiz Koc.

Not me. I never underrate anybody. Besides, I’m not training properly because of my legal problems. I’m trying to become a free agent and spend most of my time with my lawyer. Cengiz Koc is a good boxer. I can say that because I faced him when we were amateurs. With the European champonship at stake, he will be motivated and enter the ring at 100%. Besides, he is the local favorite and that is more important in Germany than in other countries. I say that the outcome of the fight is uncertain.

Let’s be optimistic and say that you will win against Cengiz Koc. Would you like to keep defending the Euro belt or go after the world title?

Of course I would like to fight for the world championship. I respect all the champions of the major sanctioning bodies, but my dream would be a rematch against Nicolay Valuev. They asked me to face him 17 days before the fight and I accepted. I almost knocked him down in the second round, then he broke my jaw and that ended my possibilities of winning. It was the first time in my career that such a thing happened. With the proper training I’m sure I will beat the Russian giant. Especially with the WBA title on the line, that will give me an extra motivation to come out on top. I’d like to fight for the heavyweight title on the day of the celebration for Primo Carnera’s 100 birthday. He was born in my same region (Friuli Venezia Giulia) on October 26, 1906, so I grew up with his legend.

Was Primo Carnera your idol?

He was one of my idols. I also liked Muhammad Ali and Nino Benvenuti. I consider Nino the greatest Italian fighter in history. I’m not surprised that he is still famous in the United States.

Many stories surround the legend of Primo Carnera. What’s your opinion about them?

I’m sure that his managers involved him in some shady situations, but I’m also sure that his victory over Jack Sharkey for the world championship was a legitimate one. If you look at the tapes of that fight, you’ll see that Carnera hit Sharkey with a perfect uppercut to the chin. When a 260 pound man hits you in the face at full power, you get KOed. If they wanted to fix the fight, they wouldn’t have allowed Sharkey to get hit that way. It was a risk for Sharkey’s health.

Let’s talk about your American experience.

It started the right way, with my victory at the Goodwill Games. After that I was contacted by many people. I knew that Lou DiBella didn’t miss my fights at the Olympics and liked my style. I signed with him, certain I was about to make it big. I debuted as a professional in New York, then I fought in Las Vegas, Cincinnati, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Chester (West Virginia) and Atlantic City. My lifestyle wasn’t as I expected (I lived in the house of an Italian who rented me his attic) and I wasn’t making so much money. After my loss to Zuri Lawrence, I decided to move back to Italy. Since then, I kept improving. In fact, I accepted to fight European champion Timo Hoffman with a five day notice, knocked him down and beat him on points.

The German promoters always book you on a short notice.

Yes, but they pay good purses. I got 20,000 Euros ($24,000) to fight Nicolay Valuev, 42,000 Euros ($50,400) to face Timo Hoffman and 60,000 Euros ($72,000) to defend the Euro crown against Micheal Sprott. I know that many people didn’t like my match with Sprott, but I consider him a good boxer. I hit him hard twice in the third round; that’s why he became more cautious and the fight turned boring. But you know, in boxing you need two people to create excitement. Going back to the money issue, I made more in Germany than in Italy or America, but I think I deserve better purses. I’m sure that Audley Harrison is making more money than me.

What do you think about him?

Audley Harrison is the best fighter that I ever faced. He was much tougher than Nicolay Valuev. I know that he is going through hard criticism after his loss to Danny Williams, but you cannot underrate a man who won the gold medal at the Olympics.

Would you like to go back to America?

I would love to do it. The first time, I was coming from 15 years of amateur activity and it was hard for me to adapt to the world of professional boxing. Being outside of my country made it even tougher. Today, I have a lot of experience, in the United States, Italy and Germany. I became Italian and European champion. I think that those titles make me more maketable in America, especially on the East Coast. For the record, when I beat Timo Hoffman I also won the IBF intercontinental title. They stripped me of the belt because I didn’t defend it within six months. My win was on June 11, 2005. The German promoters staged a match for the vacant title on December 10 in Leipzig: Henry Akinwande got an unanimous decision against Ed Mahone. The Germans didn’t ask me to defend the IBF crown. That’s why I say that I’m not welcome when I fight in Germany.

Before your match with Micheal Sprott, your promised to give a Vietnamese pork to your trainer Sumbu Kalambay. Did you keep your word?

Sure that I did! I live in a farm and I have pork coming from all over the world. If I beat Cengiz Koc, I will give Sumbu two Philippine pork.

Working in the family’s farm is still your dream?

I have a new goal: I want to open a trattoria in the small town where I live. In Italy, a trattoria is a restaurant where you can have genuine, traditional cuisine. No junk food or fancy stuff.

Paulo Vidoz 

Born: August 21, 1970 in Gorizia, a town in Northeastern Italy, close to the Slovenian border
Nickname: Titanium Jaw
Division: Heavyweight
Stance: Orthodox  
Height: 191 cm.   
Trainer: Sumbu Kalambay
Amateur titles in the super heavyweight division:
1997 World championships – bronze medal
1998 Goodwill games – gold medal
1999 World championships – bronze medal
2000 Olympics – bronze medal
Professional record: 20 wins (12 KOs) and 2 losses
On April 19, 2002 he beat Alessandro Guni for the Italian championship
On June 11, 2005, he defeated Timo Hoffman for the European and IBF intercontinental titles
On October 1, 2005, he defended the European belt against Micheal Sprott on points

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia



There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9


Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10


Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak



LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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