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Articles of 2006

Somsak Wins a War of Attrition…

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Boxing is about pain and the ability to work through it. It is brutality contained in a box, controlled ever-so-slightly by a scant, few rules. Every so often a fight comes along which makes you proud to watch what takes place in the ring, and yet at the same time forces you to cringe at the punishment inflicted upon another human being. The HBO free preview weekend treated us to a boxing bargain when Mahyar “Little Tyson” Monshipour made the sixth defense of his WBA Super Bantamweight title against unheralded Somsak Sithchatchawal of Thailand. A sold-out Sports Hall Marcel Cerdan saw the courageous Somsak Sithchatchawal come back from the brink of defeat to pummel Monshipour in round ten, forcing the stoppage.

Whenever I see a Thai fighting outside of Asia in a title fight, the gambler in me forces me to break out my wallet. Thais have a notorious habit of losing when fighting outside of Asia and it’s usually an easy way to make some quick money. Tell this to Mahyar Monshipour of France. The gutsy Frenchman won the title in 2003 but has a history of engaging in toe-to-toe slugfests. This time around, it caught up with him.

Fortunately, just before I made it to the bookie I had a change of heart. Following the George Costanza rule of decision making, I decided to do the opposite of what I normally do and I put my money back in my pocket. The Costanza rule has yet to fail me. At 4 AM Bangkok time I sat alone in my office and witnessed ten, brutal rounds of seesaw, boxing action in a fight which could easily be labeled Fight of the Year. I’m not one to hand out that title nonchalantly but watch the fight and see for yourself – you won’t be disappointed.

Monshipour ran across the ring to start round one, aggressively unloading bombs upon the head of Somsak, forcing him against the ropes. Just twenty seconds into the round, Somsak seemingly clipped Monshipour with a straight left, scoring a flash knockdown, but Referee John Coyle waved off the knockdown and ruled it a slip. Monshipour looked to be clearheaded and pressed forward, continuing his nonstop assault. The two exchanged punches and Somsak dug in a short, left uppercut, knocking Monshipour off-balance and causing him to stumble backwards and to the canvas.

The Frenchman rose quickly, more stunned than hurt, and the battle continued. Somsak rattles off twenty-plus left uppercuts to the jaw of the shorter Monshippour who was content to stand in front of the Thai and allow him to do so. Somsak found a home for the punch and wasn’t about to stop driving it there.

The next two rounds the fighters settled in to do battle. Monshipour walked right into his taller opponent and alternated short, straight punches with wide, looping, left and right hook bombs; Somsak continued to try the left uppercut and mixed in straight lefts and right hooks to the body. This body attack would eventually cause the downfall of the former champion.

The face-battering continued, round after round, only occasionally interrupted by Somsak’s pounding of the Frenchman’s body. Monshipour was a headhunter, neglecting the body to concentrate on bashing his opponent’s face into oblivion. Both fighters were stunned several times throughout the fight however it was Monshipour who was slightly busier and ahead on the scorecards through round eight (TSS had it 87-84 Monshipour).

Somsak snuck in two short, left uppercuts to start round nine and quickly followed them with two huge right hooks that visibly shook Monshipour. This only made the champion more determined and he battled back bravely, winging shot after shot at his opponent. With his corner screaming “khaeng jai noi, kaeng jai noi (keep trying, keep on him, only a little more),” Somsak refused to be denied, having his best round of the fight, relentlessly digging in with the left uppercut/right hook combination.

In the tenth, the Thai began moving, using his jab in an attempt to keep Monshipour at bay. Thirty seconds later and the fight was back in the phone booth. Monshipour landed two hard punches to the head of Somsak – lying against the ropes, moving his head to avoid the mugging, and gasping for air – who looked to be wilting. Summoning his depleted reserves, Somsak shuffled off the ropes and landed a crisp left to the jaw of Monshipour. Two left hooks missed, but then a huge right momentarily stopped Monshipour in his tracks. Sensing the end was near, Somsak cracked home a five-punch combination comprised only of powerful hooks.

Monshipour stumblds to his left with Somsak all over him. Somsak threw an all-or-nothing left hook but slipped in the process, giving Monshipour a momentary reprieve. The Thai fires off five left uppercuts in a row with no answer from the champion. A left hook snaps the head of Monshipour back violently and a right hand follows, driving the weary champion to the ropes, prompting the referee to step in and stop the carnage.

The victory moves Somsak Sithchatchawal to 46-1-1, 37 KO’s. A shocked Mahyar Monshipour (28-3-2, 19 KO’s) announces his retirement after the bout.

03-18-06

Fight Results

March 4, 2006 – Tenggarong City, Borneo, Thailand
Chris John UD12 Juan Manuel Marquez
WBA Featherweight championship

Read my lips – there was no hometown decision – Marquez was a step behind the elusive Indonesian and while the fight was close, in no way, shape or form was this decision some sort of gross injustice.

May 10, 2006 – Rachbhak University, Petchaburi, Thailand
Sirimongkol Singwancha UD6 Hayato Takabayashi
Sataporn Singwancha UD12 Bart Abapo
Wandee Singwancha UD6 Kenichi Onishi
Nongmai Sir Siriporn TKO3 Ratanaporn Pathompothong
Siriporn Sir Siriporn UD6 Maliwan Pathompothong

Satanaporn gets hit far too often, Sirimongkol needs to fight a quality opponent if he wants to have any chance with Corrales or Castillo and the Sor Siriporn girls march on.

March 11, 2006 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Manabu Fukushima UD10 Kaona Klongpajol
Trash Nakamura KO2 Pingping Tepura

May 18, 2006 – Sports Hall Marcel Cerdan, Levallois-Perret, France
Somsak Sithchatchawal TKO10 Mahyar Monshipour

Sithchatchawal wins the WBA Super Bantamweight title in an upset – mark this down as fight of the year!

May 18, 2006 – Mandaue Sports & Cultural Complex, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
Z Gorres UD12 Waenpetch Chuwatana

Thai talks smack before the fight, can’t back it up

Upcoming Fights

April 29, 2006 – Jakarta, Indonesia
Muhammad Rachman vs. Omar Soto

The battle of the mini’s finally comes off!

May 6, 2006
Rodel Mayol vs. Eagle Kyowa
WBC Minimumweight title

May 13, 2006 – Waterfront Hotel, Lahug, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Randy Suico vs. Kongtoranee Por Surasak
Vacant OPBF Lightweight title

May 20, 2006 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Jimrex Jaca vs. Nobuhito Honmo
Malcolm Tuñacao vs. Yasuo Kijima
OPBF Bantamweight title

May 20, 2006 – Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Rey ‘Boom Boom’ Bautista vs. TBA

Z Gorres vs. TBA

Time to see if these two Filipinos can make the grade in the U.S.

June 25, 2006 – Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines
Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios

What does Oscar Larios have left? Can he overtake the Pacman express or will the little Bruce Lee look-a-like be too much for the Mexican? I’d put my money on Pacman in Manila.

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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