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Articles of 2006

New Champ Hatton Hits The States



Monday’s press conference had been scheduled for 11 am, but an hour and twenty minutes elapsed before Ricky Hatton was even called upon.

“I had a fantastic speech prepared,” said the 2005 Fighter of the Year, “but, what the f—, I forgot it.”

If you felt sorry for Hatton, sitting there trying to stay awake while listening to, mostly, Don King, consider for a moment the plight of the poor redcoats standing at attention behind him this whole time.

Each wore an ancient British Army costume which bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the outfit Gabriel Byrne wore in the recently-concluded Broadway run of “A Touch of the Poet,” but then Byrne, as Major Cornelius Melody in the play, was supposed to look ridiculous.

The occasion was the formal announcement of Hatton’s HBO fight against Luis Collazo at the Garden next month, and while King isn’t even the lead promoter of the event, Art Pellulo, who is, seemed more than happy to let his bombastic counterpart carry the day.

“To arms! To arms! The British are coming!”King would intermittently shout.

“Who needs TicketMaster when you’ve got him?” asked Pelullo.

Although King represents Collazo, who is the World Boxing Association welterweight champion (and may still be by the time the fight occurs on May 13), for The World’s Greatest Promoter the Garden was merely a pit stop on the way to Worcester, where a few hours later he would formally announce the Alex Terra Garcia-Jose Rivera card, which will take place on Showtime a week before the Boston event.

Although Hatton fought in this country a couple of times early in his career, May 13 was supposed to represent his American debut in a championship fight, and as an HBO headliner. Hatton’s big splash was originally to have taken place at Foxwoods, but was moved to the larger Boston venue a few weeks ago, after the supply of viable 140-pound challengers appeared to have evaporated and the decision was taken to move him up in weight to go after Colazzo’s WBA welterweight belt.

Which is where the confusion only began. Although it might appear to be a simple, pro forma bit of matchmaking, rarely in the history of boxing has a bout been arranged with so many legal encumbrances on the part of both participants.

At Monday’s Boston gathering, King publicly conceded that a WBA sanction had yet to be obtained, but that he fully expected Collazo-Hatton to go forward as a full-fledged title fight.

Remember that when Collazo won this title via a split decision over Rivera in Worcester a year ago, it wasn’t a full-fledged title, but it apparently became one when Zab Judah lost his ‘super championship’ by getting whipped by Carlos Baldomir back in January.

In any case, having acquired a WBA belt, Collazo was obliged to defend it against the top contender, but requested and received absolution to engage in a ‘voluntary’ defense against Miguel Angel Gonzalez last August. A condition of participating in that bout was that Collazo agreed to make his next defense against top-rated Oktay Urkal of Germany.

Last October 17, Collazo-Urkal went to purse bids, and the right to promote it was won by DKP, whose $465,000 tender virtually doubled that offered by Sauerland Events, Urkal’s German promoters.

That fight was tentatively scheduled several times, most recently for the Sergei Liakhovich-Lamon Brewster card in Cleveland, but was abruptly scratched – apparently when the opportunity for the Hatton fight presented itself.

Meanwhile, based on the assumption that Collazo-Urktal would go forward, the WBA had also ordered an official eliminator between Joel Julio and Carlos Quintana, with the winner to get the first shot at the Collazo-Urktal survivor.

But Collazo wasn’t the only participant bringing excess baggage to this matchup. In response to a lawsuit filed by Souleymane M’baye, the WBA’s top-rated light welterweight, a US District Court judge in New York last fall granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the WBA from “sanctioning as a championship fight any fight between the winner of the Hatton-Maussa fight and any fighter other than M’Bayue.”

Now, while the judge clearly didn’t contemplate the possibility of Hatton moving up in weight, the language as presently constituted could be construed as barring the English fighter from participating in any

WBA title fight. Sometime between now and May 13, it will be necessary to go to court and ask the judge modify that injunction.

As word began to circulate last month that a Hatton-Collazo bout might be in the cards, Sauerland CEO Christian Meyer put Pellulo’s Banner Promotions and Fight Academy, Hatton’s English promoter, on notice that they were “interfering with the contract Mr. Urkal has with DKP.”

All hell broke loose when the Boston Globe, in announcing Hatton-Collazo, stated that  “The people in Germany were informed that Hatton would fight the welterweight mandatory next if he wins the title, and if not, Collazo would. Along with that promise, the story goes, went a small envelope to the contender-in-waiting (Urkal) and his management team.”

For one thing, the Germans had been informed of no such thing. More ominously still, it set them to wondering what happened to the alleged bribe, since it had never reached the Fatherland.

”We have neither received that ‘promise’ nor that ‘envelope,’ nor have I given the  ‘Okay’ for the match Collazo-Hatton,” complained Sauerland’s Meyer in a transcontinental, show-me-the-money fax.

One can only imagine the consternation that must have been taking place in the Sauerland offices at this point. Boxing people are suspicious by nature, and the allegation of the ‘envelope’ doubtless spread mistrust, with each of the Germans wondering whether one of his colleagues might have pocketed the cash and was holding out on the others.

Pat English, the New Jersey attorney who represents Julio, insisted that the WBA had some ‘splainin’ do to:

“Mr. Pellulo has apparently made an announcement that Don King has gotten the WBA sanction,” wrote English to his counterpart with Los Bandidos, Robert Mack. “Apparently he is spreading the story, according to the article, that a “small envelope” (apparently money) was slipped to the Urkal camp.

“I don’t know how King got it done, but it’s done,” English quoted Pellulo, as quoted in the Boston Globe.

“After seeing Mr. Pellulo’s comments, I spoke with Chris Meyer who denied the story,” continued English.” Pellulo, with his stories of ‘white envelopes’ and Don King ‘getting things done,’ has lent a sinister air to this. The last we heard there had not even been a request for sanction… Put bluntly, this is beginning to smell based upon Pellulo’s comments.”

Although the WBA could grant another ‘exception’ under its Rule 19 (the one which says, essentially, that all the other rules may be broken), no application had been received as of Monday.

Does this mean Collazo-Hatton won’t be for the WBA title? Don’t be silly. But it does enormously complicate matters in the meantime.

The WBA has already put Pellulo and King on notice that it will be up to them to deal with the M’baye injunction. In the meantime, King’s Director of Boxing Bobby Goodman believes the promoter is already out from under the Urkal obligation.

 It seems that when Urkal fought in this country earlier in his career – in Las Vegas in 1999, and again in a loss to Kostya Tszyu at Foxwoods in 2001 – he entered the country illegally, on a visitor’s visa, and that US Immigration now refuses to grant him a visa to enter the country to fight Collazo. If the Germans can’t produce Urkal on American soil, then apparently arrangement brokered in the purse bid becomes null and void.

“But this was based on an opinion from the US Emigration (sic) and there were never any contacts made,” said Meyer.

In the same conversation in which he initially announced Hatton-Collazo to the Boston Globe, incidentally, Pellulo had suggested that “Irish middleweight sensation John Duddy” might also be on the card.

This produced an angry response from Duddy’s promotional team, who had already flatly told Pellulo that Duddy was fighting (for a reported six-figure purse) on the June 10 Cotto-Malignaggi undercard in New York and under no circumstances would he jeopardize that by appearing on the Boston card.

Irish Ropes matchmaker Jim Borzell described Pelullo as “a weasel promoter” and accused him of using bait-and-switch to sell tickets.

At Monday’s press conference the promoters trotted out Irish heavyweight Kevin McBride (who, according to King, could be fighting for Laikhovich’s WBO title before the year is out), and introduced the Clones Colossus from the audience. The inference was that McBride might be appearing on the May 13 card, but, according to McBride advisor Paschal Collins, that was never the case.

“(King) wanted us to fight on the Worcester card May 6,” said Collins. “They only brought us here to sell tickets.”

And as it turns out, McBride won’t be fighting anyone in May. He injured his right shoulder in his April 1 TKO win over Byron Polley on the Liakhovich-Brewster card in Cleveland.

“I did it when I missed him with a punch,” explained McBride.

Oblivious to the turmoil swirling about the bout, Hatton remained all smiles at the Boston announcement. He had flown into town a day earlier and almost immediately visited the Tara Pub in Dorchester, and on Monday met Collazo for the first time.

(I’m tougher than I look,” Collazo warned the Englishman.)

With talk of a Hatton-Floyd Mayweather fight already rampant on the boxing landscape, Hatton insisted that he was not overlooking next month’s foe.

“I’m not looking past Luis,” said Hatton.  “Luis is just  in the way of me getting there.”

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia



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

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

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

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


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

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


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

Jr. Bantamweight

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


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

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


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

Boxing in Thailand

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

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

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

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

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

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

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

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

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

Other bouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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