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Articles of 2006

Women Kickboxers in the Ring



Kickboxing has always been publicized as a ring sport perfect for women. That’s why so many female boxers practiced it before switching to the noble art. Most of these girls just followed kickboxing classes, but others decided to make it a career and went as far as winning world titles. Some kickboxing champions made it big in boxing as well. Among these oustanding athletes capable of getting to the top in two ring sports are Bonnie Canino, Regina Halmich and Lucia Rijker. They made an impact in female boxing history for different reasons and everybody knows them in at least two continents (America and Europe). Of course, other athletes were as good as they were, but never became so wellknown. Kathy Collins, for example, became world champion in kickboxing and boxing. In New York she is still so popular that Gleason’s Gym owner Bruce Silvergrade put her photo next to those of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. But how many people know Kathy Collins outside the United States? On the other hand, Bonnie Canino and Regina Halmich are very famous. But none of them is as famous as Lucia Rijker. “The Dutch Destroyer” was brave enough to fight a man, in a muay thai match held in Amsterdam! Lucia lost, but she had the guts to try and not many people thought she would have been knocked out. Even in Thailand and Japan, the ring sports fans know who Lucia Rijker is.

Bonnie Canino

I met her during the summer of 2001 in Florida, when an Italian who lived in Fort Lauderdale brought me to visit her gym located in Dania. She was very professional in answering to all my questions and in posing for some photos with her championship belts. In 2002, I was back in Florida and I interviewed her for a fitness magazine about her aeroboxing program and the diet she promoted for the average girl who went to her gym. During both meetings, I understood why she was more popular than other champions who had a much longer boxing career; Bonnie realized the importance of the media and learned how to use every form of communication. She had prepared a sheet with her record in both kickboxing and boxing, a list of her participations to various television and radio shows, and she put on her computer a video with images of her best fights. She was also good enough to answer to every question I asked and showed me her gym as might a consummate public relations executive. In kickboxing, Bonnie compiled a record of 33 wins (12 KOs) and 4 losses. She became world featherweight champion for WAKO and KICK. In boxing, she won 15 times (6 KOs) and lost 4. Bonnie’s biggest moment came on August 2, 1997 in Biloxi (Mississippi) when she beat Beverly Szymanski on points for the IFBA world featherweight belt. After ten spectacular rounds Bonnie got a decision an all scorecards (98-92, 98-93 and 97-92). That win turned Canino into an immediate star and she appeared on ABC, ESPN, Sports Channel and Sunshine Network. As she told me many times, kickboxing never provided so much publicity. On September 17, 1999 Bonnie KOed Natasha Abdul in Panama City (Panama) and then retired. Later, Canino became a respected trainer, turning one of her female students into a boxing champion. (I’m talking about Ada Velez.) Between 1999 and 2004, Ada Velez compiled a record of 14 wins (6 KOs), 2 losses and 2 draws. She won the IBA and WIBA bantamweight titles and the WIBA super bantamweight belt. On June 4, 2004 Bonnie got back in the ring and lost to IBA lightweight champion Chevelle Hallback by 4th round TKO. That was her final ring battle.

Regina Halmich

She is another example of how much kickboxing is ignored by the media and corporate sponsors. Regina became German and European kicboxing champion and nobody paid her any attention. On June 10, 1995 in her native Karlsruhe (Germany), she won a split decision against Kim Messer for the WIBF world flyweight belt and became a star. Since then, Regina won three more world championships: WIBF light flyweight, WIBF and IWBF super flyweight. She compiled a record of 49 wins (15 KOs), 1 loss and 1 draw. Her accomplishments turned her into the biggest star of German boxing. Yes, the biggest. Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Dariusz Michalchewski, Nicolay Valuev were all born abroad. Regina is 100% German and has fought 41 world title bouts in ten years with a record of 39-1-1. In 1995, she lost by 4th round TKO at the hands of Yvonne Trevino. In 2004, Regina got a controversial draw against Elena Reid. Each judge scored it in a different way: one judge had ir 97-93 for “Baby Doll” Reid, another scored the bout 98-94 for Halmich, and the third judge saw it as a 97-97 draw. This situation led to a rematch on December 3, 2005 in Magdeburg (Germany). The second time, Halmich got an unanimous decision: 96-94, 97-93 and 96-94. Regina’s dominance of three divisions in ten years is due in part to the situation of female boxing, which is even more confusing than its male counterpart. The women who are real professionals are so scarce that in some divisions it is difficult to compile a top ten list. In fact, it’s possible to fight for the world title after less than ten matches. Many champions have a record full of KO wins because they face ladies who retire after a couple of bouts. In such a mess, it was easier for Regina Halmich to keep on top than it would have been for any male world champion. To Regina’s credit, it must be said that she improved the quality of her challengers in recent years. She fought experienced opponents like Viktoria Pataki, Delia Gonzalez, Alina Shaternikova, Nadja Loritz, Daisy Lang, Elena Reid, Hollie Dunaway and Maria Jesus Rosa. Anyway, what counts is that Regina Halmich remained at the top  and was rewarded with good purses and a lot of attention by the media and sponsors. She starred in commercials and was even hired to pose for the German edition of Playboy (you can see the photos on her website). They even organized a match for he ragainst a television anchorman that most people wanted to see beaten up by a woman. That’s what Regina did, becoming even more famous in the process. Of course, we don’t consider that exhibition something serious. In fact, it doesn’t appear in Regina’s official record. Anyway, it contributed to make Halmich an even more colorful character. 

Lucia Rijker

As a kickboxer, she compiled a record of 36-0 and won four world titles. In boxing, she built a record of 17-0 (14 KOs) and won three world championships. These few lines are enough to understand that Lucia Rijker is the greatest female fighter of all time. Her accomplishments were noticed by the entertainment industry. Director Katya Bankowski used Lucia’s story in the documentary “Shadow Boxers,” which won many awards in festivals across the world. Lucia also decided to pursue the acting career playing in “Rollerball” and in the Oscar winning movie “Million Dollar Baby.”


She defeated top rated competitors in Europe, Asia and America earning the nicknames of “Dutch Destroyer” and “Most dangerous woman in the world.” Lucia stopped Danielle Rocard in 15 seconds, Lily Rodriguez and Ann Holmes in 30 seconds, Nancy Joseph in three rounds and Valerie Henin in four rounds. On October 6, 1985 in Amsterdam Lucia gave an impressive beating to Cheryl Wheeler, breaking her nose. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but after that points loss Wheeler choose to retire. Rijker also won on points against Bonnie Canino.


Between 1996 and 1999, Lucia won 14 consecutive bouts against top competitors on major cards held throughout the United States and twice in Rotterdam (Holland). Then she retired for three years. When Rijker decided to come back, she fought one match a year (in 2002, 2003 and 2004) adding three wins to her record. The following are the most important moments in Lucia Rijker’s boxing career:

On November 20, 1997 in Los Angeles she defeated Jeanette Witte (3rd round TKO) for the WIBF super lightweight belt.

On September 26, 1998 at Mohegun Sun Casino “The Dutch Destroyer” added the WIBO super lightweight title to her collection stopping Marcela Eliana Acuna in five rounds.

On May 20, 2004 at Amsterdam Arena (Holland) Lucia beat on points Deborah Fettkether for the IFBA welterweight championship.

The fight versus a man

Lucia Rijker was the only female fighter brave enough to challenge a man. It happened on October 1994, at Sporthalle Zuid in Amsterdam (Holland): she was KOed in two rounds by muay thai artist Somchai Jaidee.

Million Dollar Lady

Lucia Rijker challenged Christy Martin many times. They had reached an agreement to fight in a million dollar match, with $250,000 guaranteed to both competitors and an extra $750,000 going to the winner. It was scheduled for July 30, 2005. An injury forced the Dutch superstar to withdraw. The battle wasn’t postponed, but canceled for good. Maybe the ticket sales were low; nobody knows for sure. What is certain is that every fan would have loved to see the best American female boxer ever (Martin) against the world’s best ever (Rijker). At this point, with Lucia focused on her acting career and other businesses like her book “Million Dollar Babe” (available only in Dutch language), it’s likely that that superfight will never take place.

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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