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Articles of 2006

Chatchai Sasakul – Question and Answer

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He’s gone by many names – Chatchai Dutchboy Gym, Chatchai Krating Daeng Gym and now Chatchai Singwancha. He defeated Russian-born, Japanese-based fighter Yuri Arbachakov in 1995 handing him the only loss of his career, he’s fought in the Olympics and he is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest boxers to ever come out of Thailand.

We met late in the evening, at the outdoor restaurant of the former champion, World Champion Chatchai Sasakul’s Korean BBQ or as it’s more commonly known, Champion of the World. When not training and fighting, he’s working in his restaurant, singing at the karaoke bar and greeting and speaking with the customers, much like Khaosai Galaxy does in his own nearby restaurant. There are musicians, comedians and all sorts of guests who help lend atmosphere to the place. It’s a fun place, with lots of banter between the patrons and those on stage.

TSS: Like most boxers from Thailand, you started off fighting in Muay Thai. How old were you?

Chatchai Sasakul: I started in Muay Thai when I was seven years old and I was fifteen or sixteen when I started boxing. Fighting is something I’ve done all my life.

TSS: How many fights did you have in Muay Thai and did you win any championships?

Chatchai Sasakul: I had more than a hundred fights, I don’t remember exactly, and I won around eighty of them. I didn’t win any big championships like Lumpini or Rajdamnern though.

TSS: So what made you decide to stop fighting in Muay Thai and begin boxing?

Chatchai Sasakul: We had a boxing tournament in school. I was the champion of my school. I kept boxing and ended up being the champion of all the Thai high schools in my level. Later I competed in the Asian Games and SEA Games and also the 1988 Olympics. I got to the quarterfinals in the Olympics.

TSS: Ahhh…in Korea, Roy Jones.

Chatchai Sasakul: Yes, Roy Jones, I remember. I also was in a fight most people thought I very clearly had won. I lost to a fighter from Hungary. Well, I don’t think anyone there, including the Hungarian fighter, thought I lost. It was given to him and taken away from me. That year there were many bad decisions and many problems with the judges. Communists.

TSS: Communists?

Chatchai Sasakul (shaking his head): Many communist countries won because of bad judging.

TSS: You defeated Yuri Arbachakov to win the 112-pound belt and retired him. Was that your proudest moment in your boxing career?

Chatchai Sasakul: It was, yes. I didn’t retire him though, his wife did! He beat me in our first fight, and then I beat him. He wanted a rematch but I guess he made a promise to his wife so he retired. His punches were not hard but he had good skill.

TSS: You’ve fought in both boxing and Muay Thai and fought more than 150 times. Who would you rate as the best puncher you’ve faced?

Chatchai Sasakul: Manny Pacquiao!!! One good punch from him and I was out. He has very heavy hands.

TSS: What happened in that fight? You were schooling him until you got caught with a few good shots.

Chatchai Sasakul: I lost my focus I guess and he took advantage of it. I don’t remember much about that fight (laughing)! Actually, I trained for ten days for the Pacquiao fight. Normally I train two months for a fight. I was having problems with my girlfriend and we were in the middle of a break-up. I let it affect my training. But Pacquaio is a very, very good fighter. He was quick and very strong.

TSS: After you lost the title to Pacquiao, you were supposed to fight the then undefeated Alex Baba in a title eliminator. At the last minute the fight was cancelled though. Tell me about this.

Chatchai Sasakul: The fight was in America, in Florida. I was getting ready for the fight, having my hands wrapped. Someone comes in and says I can’t fight. When they checked my blood the found I had a problem, Hepatitis B. I didn’t know I had it.

TSS: So not fighting the fight with Baba cost you a shot at the title.

Chatchai Sasakul: Yes.

TSS: So how are you now?

Chatchai Sasakul: I’m fine. I don’t feel sick. I don’t drink or smoke and I take good care of myself.

TSS: In 2000 you stopped fighting and didn’t come back until 2003. What was the reason for your layoff and why did you come back?

Chatchai Sasakul: I got bored with training and fighting. I just grew tired of it. I had become champion and had fought many times in my life. So I took a break.

TSS: It didn’t have anything to do with your finding out you had Hepatitis B?

Chatchai Sasakul: No, not at all. I didn’t get the title shot though and I was a little bored with boxing.

TSS: So I understand Mr. Virat Vajiratanawongse is your manager, but you don’t have a trainer?

Chatchai Sasakul: I have a few trainers in my gym. One person who helps me is a Muay Thai fighter known as Superman (Narong Pholsongkram) here in Thailand. So it’s not like I have no one to train me.

It should be noted – many Thai’s use a variety of pad holders. These pad holders are in effect their trainer. There may be one elderly trainer in the gym who gives pointers, but for the most part the pad holder is the trainer.

TSS: The last time you fought, you lost a close decision to Kuniyuki Aizawa. What happened? He was a prospect and was relatively inexperienced compared to you. Why do you think you lost?

Chatchai Sasakul: The fight with Aizawa was not a big fight. I’m getting old and really, I only want to fight for big money and a world title, or if it’s a fight I need to win to get the title shot.

TSS: If you’re trying to get a shot at the title, you need to win every fight, don’t you.

Chatchai Sasakul: I should have won the fight. I got tired at the end of the fight. I’m getting too old to fight. In the past, I never got tired.

TSS: So are you going to fight again? What could make you train hard again?

Chatchai Sasakul: I have a fight scheduled for next month. I don’t know who I’ll fight though.

TSS: So are you training now and if you could choose one person to fight, who would it be?

Chatchai Sasakul: Yes, I’m training now, running every morning and at the gym in the afternoons. I’d like to fight Tokuyama (Masamori Tokuyama – WBC Super Flyweight Champion). I have seen him fight and I think I can beat him. He doesn’t scare me at all and I would beat him.

TSS: Who is your favorite fighter of all-time?

Chatchai Sasakul: Sugar Ray Leonard. He was very fast, very smooth. I would like to fight like him.

TSS: And favorite Thai fighter?

Chatchai Sasakul: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. He has so much skill.

TSS: Yes, he’s very skilled…but many fans are disappointed he hasn’t fought Jorge Arce. Why not?

Chatchai Sasakul: He wants to be in the Hall of Fame.

TSS: So he doesn’t want to fight him because he doesn’t want to take a chance on losing to Arce?

Chatchai Sasakul: If Arce fights him in Thailand, maybe Pongsaklek will beat him. If they fight outside Thailand, it will be more difficult for Pongsaklek to win. Fighting outside Thailand is always hard for Thais.

TSS: I think if he can beat someone like Arce, or Parra or even Alvarez, he’ll rate higher on the list of great fighters from Thailand.

Chatchai Sasakul: Yes, definitely. But those are difficult fights for him and difficult to make.

TSS: What do you think about the sport of boxing and the state it’s in?

Chatchai Sasakul: Where? Do you mean in Thailand or in the world?

TSS: Both, worldwide and also Thailand.

Chatchai Sasakul: It’s gone down. Fighters are not as good as they used to be. Before, we had so many champions who worked very, very hard to be champion. Sot Chitlada, Khaosai Galaxy, Samart Payakarun….Now…it’s just not the same.

TSS: Where do you think you rank among the twenty all-time greatest Thai boxers?

Chatchai Sasakul (laughing): Number twenty.

All of his friends quickly chimed in, “number one, number one.”

Chatchai Sasakul: Khaosai is number one, for sure. Khaosai was very strong and had a big punch. I am more of a classic boxer. Everyone likes to see a knockout and Khaosai was good at knocking people out.

TSS: What will you do when your career is over? Any plans?

Chatchai Sasakul: No, no plans. I’ll do the same thing I’m doing now, work here in the restaurant. I like it. I talk to different people every night, I sing a little and make money having fun. It’s a lot of fun here.

TSS: Chatchai, thanks for meeting with me and talking boxing. Good luck in your fight next month.

Chatchai Sasakul: You're welcome. See you at the fight.

Name: Chatchai Sasakul (Singwancha)
Current Record: 55-3-0, 33 KO’s
Gym: Huamark Stadium Gym
Sponsor: Naris Singwancha
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
Date of Birth: Feb. 5, 1970
Height: 5’3
Weight: 115 – 118 lbs. (Super Flyweight – Bantamweight)
Trainer: None
Manager: Virat Vajiratanawongse
Titles Won: WBC International Flyweight Title, WBC Flyweight World Title, ABCO Bantamweight 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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