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Articles of 2006

Friday Night Fights and Frights



There was plenty of action on Friday night as Fox Sports, ESPN, Telefutura and Showtime all got into the act of feeding fight fans with competitive bouts as an appetizer to an even bigger day Saturday. Some have talked about the sport and business of boxing struggling, but with four networks broadcasting the night before HBO and Showtime events it seems we are doing just fine after all.

Saturday night  Miguel Cotto 25-0 (21 KOs) and Gianluca Branco (36-1-1, 19 KOs) clash for Cotto’s WBO Junior Welterweight bout on HBO. Also, Showtime headlines with an intriguing championship fight of their own as Super Middleweight Jeff Lacy (21-0, 17 wins via the short route) goes abroad to defend his IBF and IBO titles in Manchester, England when he meets undefeated WBO champion Joe Calzaghe (40-0, 31 KOs). During the early hours Saturday 44-2-1 (33 KOs) Juan Manuel Marquez meets slick Chris John (36-0-1, 20 KOs) outdoors in Indonesia for the WBA Featherweight strap while in Japan Yutaka Niida defends his WBA Minimumweight belt against Colombian Ronald Barrera (14-1-1, 8 KOs). In Germany, talented banger Arthur Abraham will look to stop Aussie Shannon Taylor (42-4-2, 28 KOs) as the undefeated IBF Middleweight champ Abraham boasts 17 KO victories in 19 fights.

That is a nice slate of action for fights fans; it’s a good thing there’s no such thing as “too much” boxing.

Friday night was another frightful experience for snake-bitten Canadian heavyweight Kirk Johnson as Fox Sports Net brought us more boxing from Pechanga Resort and Casino in California. Johnson was in the ring against tough Mexican Javier Mora and landing clean heavy punches for the better part of three-plus rounds. It looked as if it was a matter of “when” the former world title challenger would stop Mora 20-2-1 (18 KOs), not a question of “if” he would. Things got closer in the fifth and sixth rounds as Johnson seemed to slow down and did not let his hands go as much as in previous rounds.

A fight that Johnson should have been in control of was suddenly close but Kirk suffered another setback in the seventh. As KJ began establishing his superior hand speed and accuracy once again, the two fighters met near the middle of the ring and Mora accidentally stepped on Johnson’s lead left foot. Johnson attempted to step back with his right leg but couldn’t move naturally because Mora was on his left foot. The native of Nova Scotia jammed his right leg in the process and his right knee gave out, unofficially it was diagnosed as a dislocated knee. In obvious pain Johnson, who falls to 36-3-1 with 26 KOs, grabbed the knee immediately and remained on the canvas until being taken from the ring on a stretcher, but was gracious enough to provide an interview as he awaited medical assistance. This is just the latest injury to the 33-year-old fighter who has had to overcome one obstacle after another during his pro career. Mora showed he is a tough nut, he kept coming at Johnson and took some damaging shots, which is also to say he was losing, but never gave up.

The main event from Temecula, California saw Sam “King” Soliman take care of Mexican Raul Munoz, 17-8 (14 KOs) in six rounds. Munoz had plenty of “give” in his midsection and managed to do his fair share of “take” as the unorthodox Soliman peppered his opponent almost at will. The highly ranked Soliman took the fight with less than a week notice when Vernon Forrest was forced to pull out due to injury, but showed neither ring rust nor jetlag despite shipping in from Australia a few days ago. Working with trainer Dan Goossen for the first time as his team couldn’t make the trip, “King” Soliman (32-8, 13 KOs) was the same nonstop punching machine that we saw give Ronald “Winky” Wright fits in December of last year on HBO. Fortunately for Munoz, Soliman does not pack much of a punch, but after less than six rounds it was clear that Munoz was clearly outclassed and referee Jose Cobian called a halt to the one-sided affair.

A good looking doubleheader on ESPN2 delivered much less than expected Friday as Demetrius Hopkins claimed the vacant USBA Junior Welterweight title and improved to 23-0-1 (9 KOs) with a whitewash of Mario Jose Ramos. Other than getting some valuable experience on how to fight a southpaw, Hopkins took far too long to figure out his attack. Ramos, who drops to 16-2-1 (3 KOs), showed little interest in actually fighting this night in Philadelphia and seemed content to last the distance. Hopkins was in control all night but never really looked dominant until the later rounds as his lead rights found their mark. He did get in some “championship rounds” having to go twelve rounds for the first time in his career and now can claim a minor title to his credit. After a string of three straight knockouts fans were hoping for more fireworks out of the nephew of Bernard Hopkins, but Ramos didn’t help the action much.

The chief supporting bout was also for a title as heavily favored Larry Mosley came out on the short end of a Draw against Miguel Figueroa as the two battled for the vacant WBO NABO Welterweight strap. Now 15-1-1 (6 KOs), Mosley took the majority of the later rounds after much of the early portion was split or at least difficult to score. Tough guy Figueroa was allowed to fight his type of fight as the two had many quality exchanges in close quarters trading uppercuts and hooks to the head and body. It seems that Mosley was the better tactician of the two and could have fought more at a distance to pepper his opponent with one-two’s for most of the night. However, Mosley looked as though he felt he was the naturally bigger man of the two and would eventually wear Figueroa down. Maybe the distant relative of “Sugar” Shane Mosley had fallen in love with knockouts after stopping his past five opponents (despite just one knockout prior to that). But Figueroa never wore down, or at least not until he Mosley had given away too many rounds, and, although I agreed with the 116-112 score for Mosley, two judges saw the bout as a 114-114 Draw, and so it ended.

Also last night, ShoBox showcased hard-hitting Armenian-Australian Vic Darchinyan in defense of his IBF and IBO Flyweight titles. “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan moved to 25-0 with 20 knockout victories as his punching power was too much for Diosdado Gabi. Gabi, now 26-3-1, 19 KOs, held his own as best he could, but a left cross separated the Philippine from his senses in the eighth round. Referee David Mendoza correctly called a stop to the action as Gabi rose as if the earth was shaking beneath him and was saved from any further punishment.

Chief support to that bout at the Chumash Casino Resort saw Rustam Nugaev improve to 16-4 (8 KOs) as Anthony Mora surrendered his unbeaten record when he quit in the fifth round. Mora drops to 15-1 with 10 KOs as the Russian Nugaev simply had too much to handle for Colorado’s Mora. Weight may have been a factor as Mora had fought at welterweight before and getting back down to 140 proved to be a difficult task itself.

Finally on Friday night, Fernando Trejo and Luis Antonio Arcero put on a good scrap over twelve rounds for the vacant NABF Super Featherweight trinket. A close bout went in favor of Trejo (26-11-4, 17 KOs) as the feisty Mexican began to pull away on the second half of the bout. “El Vampiro” Arcero (19-4-2, 13 stoppages) drops his third bout in a row but looked like a fighter with plenty of fight left in him, although he seems to be more comfortable at 135 pounds as opposed to this 130-pound bout.

Taking a look at the action this weekend gives a great boost to the sport of boxing as the momentum from a successful 2005 has kept on going so far this year. We have already seen several excellent fights in ‘06 and our thirst for good fights continues to be quenched. After HBO and Showtime cap off this weekend on Saturday we have Telefutura and Telemundo stepping in to keep us busy next weekend in addition to the steady stream of fights offered in Europe.

Looking at this week’s action in the ring and the 410,000 PPV buys for the Shane Mosley-Fernando Vargas fight last Saturday, if anyone suggests the sport and business of boxing is struggling, it’s time for a wakeup call.

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia



There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9


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

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10


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

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak



LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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