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Articles of 2006

Heavyweight Damian “Bolo” Wills and More Coming Up in California

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In the next several weeks the best of the heavyweights will be fragging each other for recognition, including Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd, Hasim Rahman and James Toney who all hold titles.

But who else is coming to dinner?

It may not be a seven course meal but some heavyweight appetizers are coming to the California area when Damian “Bolo” Wills looks to avenge the only blemish on his record against Sedrick Fields (21-26-2, 15 KOs) at the Henry Ford Theater in Hollywood on Thursday March 16. The rematch promoted by LB4LB Promotions will not be televised.

Wills, 26, who fights and trains out of the Hollywood area, meets Fields, who befuddled the young heavyweight with his veteran answers for the youngster’s aggressive style, a year ago. It was a midterm exam that Wills barely passed.

“I learned a lot from that fight. I’m glad I went through that,” Wills (18-0-1, 15 KOs) said a month ago after training at the LB4LB Gym. “I guarantee it isn’t going to happen again.”

The Hollywood fan favorite is one of several young heavyweights in the Southern California area destined to either meet each other or proceed alone to the A-level world of big beef prizefighters.

Fields, 33, has one of those crazy kind of records. If based simply on numbers, his record doesn’t look appealing, yet the big boned heavyweight out of Atlanta has wins over Shannon Briggs and Alfred Cole and has gone the distance with Jameel McCline, Oliver McCall, Ruslan Chagaev and Larry Donald.

Big Buck knows what he’s doing.

“He caught me by surprise last time,” Wills says about Fields who rolled with every punch and converted the battle into a smothering inside fight. “It’s not going to go the distance.”

Last week, another California heavyweight upstart named Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola faced Southern-based fighter Curtis Taylor and ended the contest scheduled for six rounds with the first right hand he landed in the first round.

“He didn’t want to fight,” Arreola said shaking his head. “He had a good jab but it was just a matter of time.”

It could be just a matter of time before Arreola and Wills eventually meet to decide the fate of the heavyweight picture in California.

Last week Javier Mora graduated to the A-level with a technical stoppage of world-ranked Kirk Johnson. Though it was a tangling of feet that caused Johnson’s torn knee, Mora walked through the Canadian’s minefield to deliver a few bazooka-like blows of his own to change the momentum.

“I felt just like a proud papa,” said Toney about his protégé. “He fought good.”

A few other heavyweights loom in the California landscape like Mika Gergen, Billy Zumbrun and some guys that seem like native Californians because of the preponderance of time they spend in the Golden State named Terry Smith and Jason Galvern.

Heavyweight title fights

This Saturday it’s James Toney facing Hasim Rahman for the WBC vacated by Vitali Klitschko, who is now in the political arena. Winner seeks to claim what they call the “real title.” Rahman was given the green belt while Toney already has the IBA version.

On April 1, it’s Lamon Brewster defending the WBO title he wrested from Wladimir Klitschko and has defended three times. Now he faces Sergei Lyakhovich (22-1) at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.

On April 22, IBF heavyweight titleholder Chris Byrd defends his championship against Vladimir Klitschko at Germany. He lost the WBO version to Klitschko in an earlier match in 2000, who then lost it to Brewster. Byrd is making his fifth title defense.

On June 3, new WBA titleholder Nicolay Valuev of Russia is expected to defend the championship he won by decision against John Ruiz a few months ago. The seven-foot giant seeks to fight in the U.S. soon.

Southern California fight cards coming up

On Thursday, March 25, at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Eddie Sanchez is penned for the main event in a middleweight contest. Also on the fight card will be Moreno Valley, California’s Kaliesha West in her second pro fight. For tickets and more information call (800) 827-2946.

If anyone has been watching ESPN lately, Sanchez is the fighter who was loitering around the Pechanga Casino during a fight card when one of the participants of the main event dropped out. The promoter of the fight card desperately needed an opponent for J.C. Candelo, the junior middleweight contender and saw Sanchez munching on a sandwich. They told him not to take another bite. A day later he shed nine pounds, stepped on the scale and proceeded to outbox Candelo in one of the upsets of the year.

“I was so tired by the eighth round,” Sanchez, 30, said of that contest that took place in August 2004. “Some how I found the energy to last the final three rounds.”

Sanchez has been training in Riverside for this fight and has moved from New Orleans where his family was caught in the Katrina tragedy. He’s moved everyone to California.

Also on the card will be Kaliesha West, the former amateur star.

West’s last bout saw her engage professionally and she was matched against Suszannah Warner, a long-armed jab artist who tried her best to keep the wound-up West at bay. It worked for a round but a left hook by the debuting pro put Warner on the canvas. From then on it was speed and will.

“I can do better,” says West, 18, excitedly. “Believe me I can do a lot better.”

One reason West seems so experienced is the sparring she receives from the likes of Heather Percival, a bantamweight contender, Mariana Juarez, a former junior bantamweight titleholder, and Heather Heap, a former junior National champion. It’s war all of the time for the foursome.

“There’s nothing like sparring with those girls,” West said.

* * *

On Friday, March 31, at the Maywood Activity Center in Maywood, Colton’s undefeated Freddie Barrera (10-0) meets Oxnard’s undefeated Victor Ortiz (12-1, 8 KOs) on a televised match. Barrera is stepping up to the big time with this contest against the highly touted Ortiz whose last two fights were televised. Also on the fight card will be Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson meeting Darnell Boone, a slickster from Youngstown, Ohio who gave Enrique Ornelas a tussle a week ago in a middleweight bout. For information call (323) 270-6810.

Two years ago, Thompson was knocked out by Grady Brewer in a welterweight match. Now he’s a middleweight and the rhythm of his punches and spring in his step seem enhanced like magic. In his last bout he stopped Adrian Lopez in three rounds.

“I was a little off,” said Thompson after the fight. “This weight feels a lot better. I’m stronger.”

Thompson faces Boone who recently fought at Pechanga against Ornelas. It was a closer fight than the scorecards indicated.

On Friday, March 31, at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, Armando Dorantes (5-0) of East Los Angeles tries to extend his unbeaten streak in a lightweight bout. Also on the card will be popular flyweight Jerry Pavich of Hesperia. For more information call (323) 816-2000.

On Friday, April 14, at the Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs, Audley Harrison faces Dominick Guinn in a heavyweight contest. Also on the card will be Riverside’s Chris Arreola possibly against Travis Walker in a match pitting two young undefeated heavyweights. (888) 999-1995.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Vince Phillips (48-9-1) vs. Jesse Feliciano (13-5-2)
Fri. Telefutura, 9 p.m., David Diaz (29-1-1) vs. Silverio Ortiz (16-8)
Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., James Toney (69-4-2) vs. Hasim Rahman (41-5-1)

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

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Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia

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

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

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

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

Featherweight

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

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

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

Jr. Bantamweight

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

Flyweight

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

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

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

Boxing in Thailand

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

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

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

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

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

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

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

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

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

Other bouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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