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Articles of 2006

Costa Rica Fireworks Recap

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This past Monday night Costa Rican fight fans filled the San Jose Palacio Hotel anticipating one of the best fight cards put on in recent memory. Headlining the six-bout event were Nelson Lara and Gonzalo Munguia in a rematch of their thrilling toe-to-toe lightweight battle that ended in a Draw last year. Over the web fans tuned into www.theboxingchannel.com as Anthony Torres and I were fortunate to call the action live from ringside once again.

The ballroom was packed on this warm evening as the overflow of fight fans filled the hallways to catch a glimpse of 11-0 (11 KOs) Carl Davies Drummond, Costa Rican Junior Welterweight champion Aristides Calderon (8-7-1, 7 KOs), and world-class Super Middleweight Henry Porras. The fighter who stole the show however was a winless wonder who caught lightning in a bottle – more on that later.

Super Bantamweight Bryan Vazquez has never been in a boring fight, and he wasn’t on Monday either as he opened the show against Carlos Perez (2-0, 1 KOs). “El Tiquito” Vazquez is an exciting local fighter who puts his punches together well, has a nice left hook and loves to work the body. As a result he is always right in front of his opponent and that made for another exciting bout as he went four entertaining rounds with Perez. The two traded leather nearly nonstop for the better part of four rounds and had fans off their seats and in an uproar. Vazquez still seems to tire in the last round of fights, not a good sign for a fighter under 20 years of age, but on this night he did enough to take a 39-37 decision across the four judges’ scorecards to improve to 5-0 with 3 stoppages.

Berman “La Cobra” Sanchez, 19-1-2 (15 KOs) stayed busy this week as he waits for bigger and better fights on the horizon but looking ahead nearly cost him as he only managed a Draw against Sergio “A Ceiba” Martinez. Martinez (now 13-3-2, 6 KOs) looked to be outworked by the local favorite, but the judges saw it differently. In his final bout of 2005, Sanchez seemed to be on the lucky side of a Draw against hot prospect Juan Carlos Salgado (13-0-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico, and maybe things evened themselves out here, much to his chagrin.

Our third bout brought to you free on www.theboxingchannel.com was over before it started and sent shock waves of excitement throughout the ballroom. Andres Garcia (0-7) of Nicaragua came into this fight as the proverbial lamb being lead to slaughter. Garcia had been stopped in every one of his seven losses, and only made it out of the first round on two of those occasions. While short on talent, Garcia was obviously long on heart when he took on powerful Artistides Calderon. The lanky, heavy-hitting Calderon had stopped his opponent in seven of his eight professional wins and was looking for an easier evening than his last bout when he was forced to come off the canvas to stop Javier Gonzalez. In that fight Gonzalez was in grave danger as Calderon rushed in to close the show, but Gonzalez unleashed a perfectly timed uppercut that crushed Aristides flush on the jaw and dropped him like a sack of potatoes. Calderon survived that scare and was hoping for an easier night against Andres Garcia – that was wishful thinking.

Remember now that Andres Garcia was a winless invader from Nicaragua taking on Costa Rican favorite Artistides Calderon. But it didn’t matter. Before the ring of the bell to start the bout had finished resonating, Calderon was down and out, seemingly without a clue as to where the truck that had just run over him had come from. Coming out of his corner towards Calderon, Garcia unleashed a wild left hook that caught his unprepared opponent clean as can be, sending the local favorite reeling into the ropes. Calderon had his wits to duck a follow-up bomb then bounced up off the ropes looking to land a counter right hand. Unfortunately for him, Garcia was already in mid-swing and hit a home run when his looping overhand right crushed Calderon right on the mark. The momentum of Calderon moving to his left as he threw a right of his own, coupled with Garcia putting every ounce of force in his punch, made for a devastating collision which Calderon’s face got the worst of. There was no need for a count once Calderon crumbled in a twisted heap to the canvas, but a count was issued nonetheless. The precious seconds would have been better used to get medical attention to the fallen fighter, but in the end he was able to leave the ring on his own two feet – whether he remembers it or not.

Monitors repeated the demolition as those in attendance and watching on www.theboxingchannel.com witnessed in slow-motion exactly what it was to catch lightning in a bottle. Eyes did not deceive in this case as replays confirmed that the 0-7 dog truly had bitten back big. Regardless of what the pugilistic future hold for Andres Garcia, I can guarantee it will be a long, long time before he forgets this fight. On the other han,d it is entirely likely that Aristides Calderon still can’t recall a moment of the 30 seconds the fight lasted.

It was fortunate that the buzz following Garcia’s shocking victory kept the fans enthusiasm going because the subsequent bout was a bit of a disappointment. Henry Porras of Costa Rica took too long to end things against 5-8 Panamanian Darisnel Vergara. Now 31-6-1 (23 KOs), more was expected of Porras, but he had trouble with the awkward Vergara than had been anticipated, before Vergara’s corner stopped things. While Vergara was being outclassed, Porras should have been able to end things on his own. A former Super Middleweight champion at the fringe levels (WBO Latino, WBA Fedelatin, WBA Latin American, WBC Fecarbox, WBA Fedecentro), Porras had challenged many of the world’s best 168-pound fighters in the fight game today. Names such as Mikkel Kessler (current WBA champion at 168), Danilo Haussler (IBF #3),Otis Grant (WBC #1), Carl Froch (WBC #6) and Jurgen Brahmer (WBO #3) spot the record of Porras and Vergara should have been out of his league. Perhaps Porras’ 35 years of age and 38 fights have caught up with him. It looked that way on Monday night.

The fifth fight of the night looked to be explosive, and that is always the case when heavyweight Carl Davis Drummond steps into the ring. Drummond has been a very active fighter with ten fights in just over a year of work, but heading into his fight Monday against Arsenio Cuesta those ten bouts only added up to sixteen rounds of work. Always in fantastic physical condition, Drummond had stopped all ten of his opponents before meeting the Panamanian. Three knockdowns and four minutes later Drummond was 11-0 with 11 knockout victories. Clearly Drummond is a powerful prospect in need of work but we won’t know how good he really is until he has been tested, and the current matchmaking suggests the wait may be long.

In a rematch of their wild 8-round Draw in October of last year, it seemed impossible that Nelson Lara and Gonzalo Munguia could match the pace again as they did battle over ten rounds at 135-pounds in the main event. Lara entered the bout with a 4-1-1 (4 KOs) record and is a fighter who pretty much abandons the jab, opting instead to pursue his opponent with lead right hands and hard hooks to the body. In the first meeting Munguia, 12-2-2 (10 KOs), traded with Lara for 8 rounds of give-and-take. For the rematch, “El Destructor” Munguia chose to use his boxing skills by setting up his offense with the jab and then bringing accurate right hands down the middle as he used the entire ring to box the stalking Lara. The heavy exchanges were fewer than the first bout as this one turned into a classic boxer (Munguia) peppering his harder hitting puncher (Lara). It was an entertaining bout but very difficult to score. In the end, the judges decided to reward Lara for pressing the pace and landing the harder blows over Munguia’s superior technical performance. It was announced as a Majority Decision for Lara.

Local promoters are committed to bringing two fight cards each month to fight fans in San Jose, Costa Rica and The Boxing Channel is pleased to offer these live on the internet to fight fans looking to catch some of the fistic action in Central America, and eventually the World.

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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