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Articles of 2006

Hasegawa Whacks Out Sahaprom

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World Memorial Hall, Kobe, Japan – Aging warriors eventually simply become old and the transition can often be unpleasant. In boxing it can be downright brutal. Veeraphol Sahaprom of Thailand painfully found out the difference between youth and a 37-year-old past his prime when he was knocked out with one punch by WBC bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa in round nine of their scheduled twelve-round championship contest. Hasegawa had previously defeated Sahaprom on points in April of last year but the Thai had guaranteed a victory and promised this fight would be different from the first.

This was to be the Sahaprom’s final, shining moment, but the Thai looked every bit his age against the sharp-punching southpaw. The former champion walked straight in without the use of his jab and was unable to contend with the Hasegawa’s hand speed and side-to-side movement. Hasegawa showed signs of improvement and proved he’s the real deal. His chances against any of the top-ten fighters in the bantamweight division are good and this includes Rafael Marquez.

Hasegawa started quickly, opening the fight on his toes, snapping out his jab and looking untouchable until Sahaprom scored a solid left-right at the end of the round. The first round set the pattern for the fight. Hasegawa moved but never ran; Sahaprom shuffled in but rarely caught the champion with anything of great consequence.

In the third stanza, Hasegawa found a home for the uppercut when he connected with a crunching shot to the jaw of Sahaprom. Hasegawa would use the punch throughout the bout with great effect. Sahaprom executed a persistent body attack, but Hasegawa employed his own strategy, sliding to his right, away from the powerful right hand of the Thai.

A minute and a half into round six, the champion staggered Sahaprom with left uppercut-left hook combination and became the hunter. He pressed the befuddled Sahaprom into the corner and unleashed an all-out assault. With thirty seconds left in the round, Hasegawa scored with another big uppercut, again discombobulating the former champion. Sahaprom refused to lie down however, scoring his own left hook at the bell.

Sahaprom implemented a body attack in an effort to slow the speedy Hasegawa but had little success until round seven when several thudding rights slowed the champion. The following round, Sahaprom had his best round, throwing caution to the wind, chasing Hasegawa, desperate to land a finishing blow. Hasegawa was ineffective offensively for the first time in the fight, concentrating on his defense, calmly sliding to his right, avoiding the bullish rushes of Sahaprom and wisely biding his time.

The end came suddenly in round nine. Hasegawa strode confidently across the ring to his opponent. Sahaprom let go of a straight right and at the same instant, Hasegawa missed with a straight left but then followed up with a right hook which landed flush to the temple of Sahaprom. The Thai crumpled to the canvas and then tried valiantly to rise, but stumbled, unable to gather his stances. Referee Guadalupe Garcia wisely waived off the contest just 19 seconds into the round.

The light-hitting Hasegawa downplayed the knockout, praising the aging Sahaprom. ''He is a really strong fighter and I could not have predicted the outcome of the match,'' said Hasegawa. ''I'm not strong enough, I was just lucky.''

Hasegawa moves to 20-2 with seven KOs while Sahaprom falls to 52-3-2, 37 KOs. All three judges had the bout scored 77-75 in favor of the Hasegawa at the time of the stoppage. The Sweet Science had it 78-74 for Hasegawa.

Sahaprom, a two-time WBC bantamweight champion and one of Thailand’s all-time greats, goes home to Nonthaburi, Thailand to ponder his future.

03-25-06

Quick Notes

The bantamweight division is ripe with talent, both young and old.

TSS top-ten bantamweights:

1) Rafael Marquez (Mexico)
2) Jhonny Gonzalez (Mexico)
3) Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan)
4) Silence Mabuza (South Africa)
5) Genaro Garcia (Mexico)
6) Cruz Carbajal (Mexico)
7) Ricardo Vargas (Mexico)
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Thailand)
9) Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand)
10) Vladomir Sidorenko (Ukraine)

* * *

On the under card of the Hasegawa-Sahaprom fight, knockout artist Edwin Valero saw his incredible streak of first-round knockouts come to an end when Genarao Trazancos of Mexico made it to round two of the scheduled six-round lightweight bout. With the win, Valero improves to 20-0 with 20 KOs while Trazancos drops to 21-8-1.

* * *

When Chris John of Indonesia defeated Juan Manuel Marquez via unanimous decision a few weeks ago in the battle in Borneo, more than a few people were surprised, including myself. I picked Marquez via TKO in 10. In the end though, I scored the fight 116-110 (8-4 minus the two low blows) and, simply put, John simply did more of what was needed to win. He threw more punches, landed more clean shots, showed better defense and stood up to Marquez when necessary. Marquez, however, did not earn the title – the key word being EARN

To those who feel John’s victory was a hometown decision or Indonesian chicanery, claims of skullduggery without proof are an insult to Chris John. John left his family and newborn daughter to train for three-plus months in Australia in preparation for the fight. He is a talented, dedicated and deserving champion who beat Marquez fair and square.

* * *

Chances of a Pongsaklek Wonjongkam-Jorge Arce matchup look to be dwindling. Wonjongkam has been hesitant to face the Mexican slugger and Arce has stated he will be moving up after his bout with Rosendo Alvarez. There is a chance Wonjongkam’s next bout will come against South African fighter and WBC International champion Monelisi Mhikiza Myekeni, but this has yet to be confirmed. The date of his next fight will be on May 1st in Bangkok, Thailand.

* * *

In the first defense of her WBC women’s light flyweight championship, Nanako Kikuchi of Japan is slated to face Siriporn Sor Siriporn on May 10. Siriporn is currently incarcerated in the Central Correctional Facility where she has approximately two years left of a four year sentence. She is also the gym mate of Nongmai Sor Siriporn, Kikuchi’s last opponent.

Fight Results

March 20, 2006
Somsak Sithchatcawal TKO10 Mayhar Monshipour

Somsak shows the heart of a lion and takes out the equally gritty Monshipour!

March 24, 2006
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai TKO2 Fernando Montilla

Will Sor Nanthachai go the way of Ratanachai Sor Vorapin and Veeraphol Sahaprom or can he claw his way back to a title?

March 25, 2006 – World Memorial Hall, Kobe, Japan
Hozumi Hasegawa TKO9 Veeraphol Sahaprom

This seems to be the end of the line for the former champion from Thailand. In with the old, out with the new; Hasegawa looks to have the goods.

Edwin Valero (19-0, 19 KOs) TKO2 Genaro Trazancos  (21-8-1, 12 KOs)

Let’s not get too picky, nineteen out of nineteen is still perfect – just because Valero hasn’t knocked out all of his opponents in the first round doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line of the Venezuelan. Fans anxiously await the day he’ll fight someone topnotch.

Upcoming Fights
May 6, 2006 – Tokyo Japan
Rodel Mayol vs. Eagle Kyowa
WBC Minimumweight title

May 10, 2006 – Bangkok, Thailand
Siriporn Sor Siriporn vs. Nanako Kikuchi
WBC Women’s Light Flyweight championship
Nongmai Sor Siriporn vs. TBA

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

July 16, 2006 – Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines
Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios

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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