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Articles of 2006

Mohegan Sun Déjà Vu

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The last time Rasheem Brown walked into the Mohegan Sun Arena, he got himself beaten by Ohio journeyman Jose Spearman back in 2004. Dick Flaherty was the referee.

Rasheem must have thought it was déjà vu all over again Saturday night. With Flaherty the third man in the ring once again, the enigmatic Philly middleweight somnambulated his way through ten rounds – and came away with another loss, this one to an Ohio journeyman named Darnell Boone in the main event of Cappiello Promotions’ six-bout card at the Uncasville arena Saturday night.

The crowd had grown increasingly restive with each tepid round, and Brown didn’t have much audience support left by the time the judges’ tallies were announced. Don Trella’s 99-91 verdict in Boone’s favor might have been a bit over the top, but Don Ackerman (98-92) and Glenn Feldman (97-93) weren’t far behind in their displeasure for Brown’s performance.

All three of Brown’s career losses have come in his last five fights. Moreover, it was the fourth time in six bouts he had been extended the distance, failing to display the firepower that had seen him put away a dozen of his first 14 victims. (One could easily infer from this trend that Brown is easily discouraged if he doesn’t put his quarry away early.) It was not, in any case, much fun to watch, but Fox SportsNet viewers will get the opportunity when the battle of bearded middleweights is aired on tape-delay. We’ll do our best to give you ample warning.

It was a well-deserved win for Boone (now 10-3-1), of Youngstown, Ohio, while it’s back to the drawing board yet again for the 29-year-old Brown, whose record fell to 17-3 with the loss.

Mikey-Mike Oliver and Castulo Gonzalez are a pair of action fighters who have served Rich Cappiello well, and when the promoter put something called the USBO belt up for grabs and let them scrap for it he was aware that he’d be diminishing one of his star attractions.

The two traded leather from the outset, but the hyperkinetic Oliver, who went into the fight 11-0, traded more of it.

Gonzalez (7-2), a former Guatemalan Olympian now based in Wilmington, Mass., had put up a game fight without winning a round on Ackerman’s card (as well as ours; Steve Epstein and George Smith had given him one apiece), and when Oliver finally knocked him down – with a right jab, followed by two lefts and then a perfect right hook – in the ninth round, Steve Smoger wasted no time in counting, folding his arms around the beaten warrior the moment he got up.

Oliver, who is apparently more impressed by a USBO belt than we are, ran around the ring and even up the ring posts displaying his new hardware to his fans. When Mikey-Mike gets wound up for a fight, it’s pretty hard to wind him down again. He appeared ready to defend it against a few audience members on his way to the dressing room.

Tony Grano, the heavyweight from Hebron, Conn., needed just a minute and two seconds to put away Stamford’s Robert Irizarry, who was making his pro debut. Grano spent nearly a minute sizing his opponent up before connecting with what were essentially the first two punches he threw – a jab that straightened Irizarry up, followed by the short left hook that put him on the canvas.

Irizarry went down hard, and was still floundering about on the floor when Smoger waved if off without a count. Grano is 3-0, Irizarry 0-1.

Had Eddie Bishop and Kevin Watts fought a year or two ago the battle of Massachusetts welterweights might have turned out differently, but Watts has absorbed some punishment in a skein that has seen him lose his last five bouts in a row, He absorbed a lot more last night in what appears to have been his valedictory.

By the third round Bishop was landing almost at will, and Watts’ nostrils had sprung twin rivulets, with the blood coursing down into face. At one point in the fourth, Watts appeared to not lose only his balance, but to lose his way completely, as he spun around in a crouch, seemingly blinded by the lights, while a baffled Bishop held off rather  than take advantage of the confusion by giving him a swat, which he plainly could have.

Watts returned to his stool after the fourth hopelessly trailing, and directed his corner to run up the white flag of surrender before the bell could announce the fifth.

“I thought he could have finished on his feet,” said trainer Jimmy Gifford. “I said ‘Kev, are you sure you want to go out this way?’ and he did. It had nothing to do with the bloody nose; he said he just didn’t have it.

“Give him that,” said Gifford, “usually these guys don’t know when it’s time to get out.”

Bishop goes to 9-1-1 with the win, while Watts, who fell to 18-7 with the loss, indicated that it had been his last.

“I got beat by an amateur,” said Watts. “It’s time to quit.”

Joe McCreedy, the Lowell (Mass.) light-heavyweight trained by Dick Ecklund, made short work of North Carolina neophyte David Spear. Never much for defense, McCreedy came out as usual with both guns blazing, and Spear initially seemed happy enough to brawl with him – at least until he got hit.

A pair of right hands – one to the face and one on the top of the head – dropped Spear in a neutral corner half a minute into the fight. He bounced back up, but referee Tony Chiarantano, noting the glazed look on the youngster’s face, declined to let the bout resume and halted action after 41 seconds. McCreedy is now 3-0, Spear 0-1.

Lightweight Yasim Mohammad appeared to have caught a break when his scheduled foe, 10-0 Melvin Cumba, failed his physical on medical grounds and was replaced by Lenny DeVictoria, a Philadelphian with a more modest 7-3 log. Mohammad, a journeyman pro from Dayton who had plainly been brought in to lose to Cumba, appeared invigorated by the switch in opponents, winning the first three rounds on the cards of all three ringside judges.

But two right-hand shots, the second of which floored Mohammad, abruptly turned the entire fight around. Although Mohammad made it to his feet after the knockdown, DeVictoria jumped right back on him, and was raining blows off his helpless opponent when referee Dick Flaherty rescued the Ohioan with 27 seconds left in the fourth. DeVictoria is now 8-3, Mohammad 4-11-3.

* * *

MOHEGAN SUN ARENA
UNCASVILLE, Conn.
Februrary 18, 2006

MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Darnell Boone, 160, Youngstown, Ohio dec. Rasheem Brown, 162, Philadelphia (10)
HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tony Grano, 215, Hebron, Conn. KO’d Robert Irizarry, 214½, Stamford, Conn. (1)
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Joe McCreedy, 172, Lowell, Mass. TKO’d Dave Spear, 164½, Raleigh, NC (1)
JUNIOR MIDDLES: Eddie Bishop, 147¾, Stoughton, Mass. TKO’d Kevin Watts, 149, South Boston, Mass. (4)
LIGHTWEIGHTS: Lenny DeVictoria, 130, Philadelphia TKO’d
Yamin Mohammad, 129, Dayton, Ohio (4)
JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS: Mike Oliver, 122, Hartford, Conn. TKO’d Castulo Gonzalez, 121, Guatemala (9) (Wins USBO title)

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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