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Articles of 2006

Duddy Does Boston; Next Stop New York

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BOSTON – Sounding as if he were borrowing a phrase from publicist Bob Trieger’s arsenal, Ireland’s John Duddy praised his vanquished opponent as “durable, slick, and crafty.”

“And can’t punch a lick,” he might have added.

Far from being embarrassed by being extended the distance for just the second time in his 15-bour professional career, the Derry middleweight pronounced his 10-round victory over Haitian journeyman Julio Jean at the Park Plaza Castle “a fantastic experience.”

“I probably learned more from this fight than I did in my first 14,” said Duddy.

That the main event of the Super Bowl eve “Super Brawl” show lasted as long as it did was undoubtedly of some comfort to the promoters, New England Ringside, because up until then a raucously pro-Duddy audience announced at 1,317 had spent most of the night in the beer lines, an experience only periodically interrupted by a succession of horribly mismatched undercard fights: Four of the five prelims had ended in less than a round, and the one that didn’t saw the opponent quit after two.

His Boston debut was a stop along the way for Duddy (now 15-0), who is already scheduled to fight North Dakota veteran Shelby Pudwill in the main event of a St. Patrick’s Day card at the Madison Square Garden Theatre on March 16, and his handlers weren’t taking many chances in the tune-up, which, with both fighters over the limit, was officially a super middleweight bout.

At the opening bell Duddy came out guns blazing in search of another quick knockout, but once it became apparent that it wasn’t going to happen, he realized he might have to settle in for the long haul.

To give Jean proper credit, the opponent had something to do with it as well. While Jean (7-7-1) seemed more than willing to trade with the Irishman in the early stanzas, by the fourth round he had assumed the counterpuncher’s role and attempted to catch Duddy coming in, and didn’t do a bad job of it. On several occasions he was able to slip a Duddy charge to land a stiff left uppercut of his own.

It was a tactic that might have been more useful had the Haitian packed more of a wallop, but a man who’d stopped just three of 14 previous opponents wasn’t going to do much but slow Duddy down. If Julio Jean had been a dangerous puncher he wouldn’t have been in this fight to begin with.

“I stopped trying to land the big shots and just tried to let my punches flow,” said Duddy after the bout, which he pronounced “a good experience.”

“The way I look at it, I passed another examination,” said the Derryman.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, given the brevity of most of his performances, Duddy emerged from this one with evidence that he had at least been in a fight – a nick at the bridge of his nose, which someone in the dressing room charitably suggested might have been the result of a headbutt.

“Headbutt, a punch, it doesn’t matter,” shrugged Duddy. “It’s all part of the business.”

There was little doubt about the outcome in any case. The Sweet Science scored the bout a 100-90 whitewash for the Irishman, as did ringside judges Leo Gerstel and John Mathis. The third judge, Ken Valuvic, apparently bent over backwards in the interest of fairness and gave Jean a round, scoring it 99-91.

There was surely no disgrace in going the distance with a willing opponent like Julio Jean, but questions about Duddy’s defense remain unanswered. What’s going to happen when he gets tagged by somebody who actually can punch?

The question seems unlikely to be answered on St. Patricks Day, either: Pudwill, Duddy’s main event opponent, is 21-2-1, but has stopped just nine of 24 opponents, and would seem to be an obvious step down from the originally contemplated foe, Yori Boy Campas, who might have given Duddy a real test.

Unbeaten Belarus-born Brooklyn junior middle Yuri Foreman (20-0) didn’t figure to have much trouble with South Boston’s Jimmy LeBlanc, but not in his wildest dreams could Foreman have imagined the disgraceful walkover his Boston debut would turn into. LeBlanc came into the bout with an 11-9-4 record, which sounds better than it is when you consider he was once 9-1-1.

To say that LeBlanc fought in retreat understates the case. Although he waved his jab at Foreman a couple of times, he threw, by our count, only a single punch in the 2:49 the fight lasted – and he missed badly with that one. Foreman, in the meantime, chased his quarry around the ring hoping to catch up with him eventually, and LeBlanc cooperated, taking refuge on the canvas the first time Foreman got near him with a punch.

LeBlanc first went down from what referee John Zablocki ruled a slip but which could easily have been called a knockdown. Then he went down from what was almost certainly a slip, but Zablocki ruled this one a knockdown. When he saw the referee start counting, LeBlanc looked almost as grateful as Foreman did.

Once he got to “eight” with LeBlanc on his feet, the referee asked him if he wanted to continue, and was startled to hear him reply “No.”

Zablocki repeated the question. This time LeBlanc made his position even clearer.

“I’m all done,” he said.

Massachusetts Boxing Commission chairman Nick Manzello revealed that the Commission was withholding LeBlanc’s purse pending an investigation.

Four fights into the Boston card a profound cheer had gone up from the audience when Marcus Luck survived the first round of his bout with New Yorker Jorge Teron, thus finally facilitating the appearance of the first round-card girl of the evening. Up until that point Bernard Higgins, Sylvester Beard, and Anthony Hartman – a hapless trio of undercard opponents united by a common inability to hold their hands up for three minutes – had all bitten the dust before any of the lovelies could so much as climb into the ring.

And Luck (6-9-1), as it turned out, didn’t fare much better. Although he fought the first two rounds on pretty even terms with the unbeaten (now 10-0) Teron, he hurt his hand, or so he claimed, in the second, and retired on his stool before the bell could sound to initiate the third.

Super middleweight Chris Traetti of Quincy, a Westfield State College student, knocked down North Carolinian Higgins (0-1) three times en route to a first-round TKO. Although just three pounds separated the combatants in weight, Traetti, whose pro mark went to 3-0 with the win, had a substantial height advantage, and might have ended it even earlier had he not experienced early difficulty punching down at his undersized opponent. Midway through the first, Traetti finally managed to put Higgins down with a pair of well-placed body shots, and when he rose, put him down again with a two-handed fusillade of punches. Higgins got up yet again, only to go almost straight back down. Higgins had made it to his feet and appeared prepared to take even more punishment, but referee Zablocki waved the fight off just as the bell ended the first.

Fighting for just the second time as a pro, former New England Golden Gloves champion Simeon Dunwell (2-0) of Salem impressively TKO’d Beard, a Virginian from Luck’s Danville home making his pro debut. Half a minute into the fight, Dunwell rocked Beard with a hard right hand, sending the opponent backing into the corner as he tried to ward off the coming onslaught. The ensuing nonstop barrage of punches effectively pinned Beard against the ring pad, where Dunwell used him for a speed bag until referee Dick Flaherty intervened. Once the punches stopped coming, gravity took over, and Beard slid slowly and inexorably to the canvas, with Dunwell already celebrating in the other corner.

Pawtucket (RI) junior-welter Eddie Soto remained unbeaten at 4-0, stopping an overmatched Hartman (0-2) of Cleveland in the first when Zablocki rescued the opponent at 2:51 of the round. It seemed evident from this one that Soto at least knew how to fight, and that Hartman apparently did not.

“Where did they find these bums?” asked a disgruntled customer who had sought refuge on the sidewalk outside during intermission. “They must have dragged them out of the bar across the street!”

Wrong, he was told. A guy from the bar across the street would have put up a better fight.

John Duddy’s next fight, against the immortal Shelby Pudwill, will apparently be for another of those extraterrestrial titles – the  WBC intercontinental  championship, or some such – and while Duddy-Pudwill looms the piece de resistance for Irish Ropes’ March 16 “Shamrock Express” card, there will be a distinctly Hibernian cast to the entire evening.

Matthew Macklin, the 16-1 Birmingham middleweight who claims the Irish title and hence looms a possible future foe, will face a former Duddy victim, 29-12 Chicago veteran Patrick Coleman, in the co-feature, while Duddy’s Irish Ropes stablemate, Arklow junior middleweight James Moore, will fight Jose Felix (9-2-2) of Savannah, Ga. Bronx lightweight Maureen Shea (3-0) will box Ebony Clement-Bey (2-0, of Columbus, Ohio) on a bill that will also showcase the Clancy Brothers – 6-0 heavyweight James and 4-0-1 cruiserweight Mark – of Ennis, Co. Clare against opponents to be named later.
                                           
                                                          * * *

SUPER BRAWL I
PARK PLAZA CASTLE
BOSTON, MASS.
Feb.  4, 2006

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS:
John Duddy, 162, Derry, Northern Ireland dec. Julio Jean, 164, Port Au Prince, Haiti (10)

Chris Traetti, 166, Quincy, Mass. TKO’d Bernard Higgins, 163, Raleigh-Durham, NC (1)

JUNIOR MIDDLES:
Yuri Foreman, 155, Gomel, Belarus TKO’d Jimmy LeBlanc, 152½, South Boston (1)

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS:
Eddie Soto, 139, Pawtucket, RI TKO’d Anthony Hartman, 135, Cleveland (1)

LIGHTWEIGHTS: 
Jorge Teron, 136, Bronx, NY TKO’d Marcus Luck, 133 ½, Danville, Va. (2)

Simeon Dunwell, 134½, Salem, Mass. TKO’d Sylvester Beard, 129, Danville, Va. (1)

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

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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 allAfrica.com, 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

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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

Featherweight

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

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

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

Flyweight

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

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

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

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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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