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Articles of 2006

Boxing News: Fernando Vargas Meets the Press

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In anticipation of his February 25 showdown with Sugar Shane Mosley, Ferocious Fernando Vargas met with the boxing press via telephone this week. The transcript of that conference call is below.

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I have been training like never before. I have been going 14 rounds. In between rounds, before the minute is up, I am ready to go. I am going to do 14 today. I am going to take it to another level. I want to thank my strength and fitness coach Robert Ferguson for keeping me strong and being able to help me with effective weight loss. He’s the man when it comes to that.  And I want to thank Danny Smith – with all of the offense I am working on I am very excited. I am excited about this fight and I have been working very hard. I am going to be putting on constant pressure from round one.

Will being in the movie Alpha Dog have a negative impact on you in preparation?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I am not even thinking about losing. I am preparing for this, and when I win on February 25 we will talk about Alpha Dog after that. Obviously I have been offered a lot of movie roles that I am excited about. That will continue after my boxing career, but right now against Shane Mosley you will definitely see a very hungry and ready for action Fernando Vargas.

I know that Shane is a comfort fighter. When he is comfortable he’s all right and when he’s not comfortable is when he gets in trouble. So I am not going to make him uncomfortable. I am in such great shape and I feel great and I have been working so hard and when it comes time to fight he better be ready from round one. I am very excited about what you are going to see.

You are going to see the old Fernando with a lot sharper and with new moves from Danny Smith on my offense. You are going to see a lot of intensity from round one and I am excited about that.

I will definitely look forward to bigger and better things. I have been at this weight for over ten years. I went to the Olympics at 147 and shortly thereafter I went to 154 and I have been sitting here. Why? Because I have a big size and shape advantage. I am a big guy. I look for more advantages than anything. I don’t need to fight anymore if I don’t want to. But I want to take care of business this year and do what I’ve got to do to top off this great year by beating Shane Mosley. And then I’ve got vengeance on my mind.

There is only one fighter out there that beat me that is still active, but the only person on my mind right now is Shane Mosley but vengeance is on my mind. I’ve got to look great for me and myself to demand and for my fans to demand vindication.

Titles don’t matter to me. Fighters pay the bills and the belts don’t. There are people with belts that don’t get paid much and there are fighters like myself that are able to make a substantial amount of money thanks to my team.  hanks to Shelly Finkel, Rolando Arellano and Main Events and everybody around me.

You have been at 154 for a decade.

FERNANDO VARGAS:  Yes, and I am tired. I am tired of being at 154 and I want to br on top this year. And like I said, I don’t want to be in this game until I am 40. I hear some fighters say they want to be in the game till they are 35 or 40 and I say, “good luck to you!”

Is this the last we will see of you at 154?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  No, I have one more in me. Then we will se what happens. I am a naturally big guy and it is a lot of work to come down. People don’t understand that I have to work hard and I have a great team with Robert Ferguson and I have been able to eat more than ever and still lose weight, but I’ve still got to work. I am in great shape but at the same time I am just tired. I can dedicate everything to this year and thank God I am blessed with my family and my health and we will see where we go from here.

Where did you come down from?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  For the Castillejo fight I came down from 194. For this fight I was in the low 180s and I am stronger now than ever. Last week I was at 164. I have lost ten pounds in three days not knowing how I lost it, before I had anybody like Robert Ferguson to teach me how to lose weight. Teaching me how to eat and lose weight effectively and be strong.

What is the difference between this training and Castilejo?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I am running outside now. I couldn’t run outside because of my back. Now I am able to run outside because of the strength exercises I have been doing and I feel great and I feel strong. I feel like I’m in better shape than I ever have. I go a few rounds to simulate the fight and I sit down on the stool and I am up before the bell is even ready to ring. And even in the 14th round.

What do you need to do to get De La Hoya?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I said it before, that I need to look great. For my fans and for me to demand the fight and that’s what I am looking forward to. I have been working hard and right now the only person on my mind is Shane Mosley. I will stay at 154, weigh my options and see what happens.

I am glad I have this opportunity and now it is right in front of me and I am excited about it.

Shane is a great fighter and I take nothing away from him but with everything I’ve learned from Danny Smith and all of the offense I’ve learned…the offense that I know and the offense I’ve learned you are going to see something special. Shane better be ready, I’m not going to even let him breathe. I am going to be on him and he can’t take the pressure – I know he can’t.

What Feroz will show up?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  It is going to be the El Feroz from the past but with a lot more offensive work that I have learned from Danny Smith. I didn’t have to lose 40 pounds in 11 weeks and have to go into the sauna for an hour and then got out and passed out and thank God a could box and have different style of boxing style that I can box. I not only can brawl, but I can box because certain fighters can only do one thing. I can mix up my game and I was able to do that and be successful.  Now I feel strong like I am in the best shape of my life. I am looking forward to this fight.

What have you learned from Shane’s losses?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I have learned a lot and if he thinks David Estrada put pressure on him he doesn’t even know what pressure is. I’m on him. I am excited about this fight like I haven’t been excited in a long time. I am as excited like I was when I fought Ike Quartey. I have learned so much and I am strong at 154 thanks to my strength coach who helps me eat and I am excited. I am going to be on him from round one.

Are you predicting a knockout?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I feel in my heart that if I put the pressure on him from round one like I say I am going to do that he cannot take it. I know he can’t.

Do you view yourself as the puncher in this fight?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I have power and I have power even when I am boxing. Even when I was dead from losing weight in the last fight, you saw Castillejo when I hurt him with the one-two punch. So just think about me being aggressive and jumping on him.   can feel it and I have learned so much from Danny Smith in pure offense that you guys are going to see me display on February 25 that this is a great opportunity for me to showcase what I have been able to learn and not have to come in and lose weight and kill myself to the last moment.

How will you neutralize his speed?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I didn’t see him being to quick against David Estrada and there is a way to neutralize it. You can only do so much if you give a person enough breathing room. He can do all of the little things that he thinks he can do but I am not going to let him have a chance.

How do you feel about your performance in Chicago?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  I feel bad because I had t lose a lot of weight. I did not check my weight while in training camp. It was me losing it. I was eating all of the right stuff so I felt good  and I thought I was all right. I would eat good all week but on the weekend eat a little food that wasn’t too healthy. But this camp has been way different and I feel great and I’m looking forward to this fight.

I let myself down but in that fight from the first round I was so tired and I said to myself and I was asking for help to get through this and I would never let that happen again. But this time I was able to do it and keep and eye on my weight between camps. But my weight wants to gradually go up and I can gain ten pounds easy. I am 28 years old and I’ve been that way for ten years. I want to stay here because I have a power advantage and that’s where I want to stay for the remainder of my career.

I am thinking capitalizing on this with a great performance and a stoppage. I know certain things that I can do that Oscar couldn’t do.  But I am not going to talk about those things. I am looking forward to this fight. He is a great fighter and I take nothing away from him but it will be my fight.

He was at 147 against David Estrada, and there is a way to neutralize all of that speed and he is going to see it on February 25th.

Do you think you may be better off at 160?

FERNANDO VARGAS:  Right now I just want to capitalize at 154. The Castillejo fight had to be at 154.

Carl Moretti:  Even though there is not a title on the line, Fernando is the true champion at 154.

Rolando Arellano:  During the promotion they stripped Castillejo of the title, we just honored the event. 

Moretti:  It is Fernando’s body and he has got to say to us, “Listen guys, no matter what the fight is, I can’t make it to 154.” Then he would move up. But because of the camp he has had and the work that he puts in and the motivational fact because it is Mosley, he fights at 154. When he says he can no longer make it no matter how big the fight, then you move up.

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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