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Articles of 2006

Mayweather Still Wins – Hooray, Nevada

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LAS VEGAS, April 13 – Don King didn’t get his way, which is another way of saying Nevada did the right thing today and followed its rules, for the integrity of the sport, and refused to overturn Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s victory Saturday night over Zab Judah.

All those who say King and his minions – including Hap Hazzard in New Jersey, some hapless “writers” and the IBFelons’ pathetic president, Marian Muhammad – were correct in arguing for an automatic disqualification of Mayweather because his uncle, and trainer, Roger entered the Thomas & Mack ring, should be condemned to read the rules to the music of King Con’s mellifluous voice.

King, whose favorite publicist was obviously Joseph Goebbels, the master of the Big Lie, was there at the Nevada State Athletic Commission offices today, repeating over and over how his fighter should have been awarded an undeserved victory by disqualification.

For days, we have been inundated with the same nonsense. Over on another website, there was Bobby Goodman, who should be forced to surrender his James J. Walker Award for “long and meritorious service” to boxing, filing a “guest column” saying by all rights, Mayweather has to be disqualified once his uncle gets up on the apron. Goodman, who when he left King to head Madison Square Garden – and almost got boxing permanently banned from its old mecca – used to tell horrible stories about his old boss. He knows which side his bread is buttered; in his second tour of duty with King, he has become a loyal toady.

And Larry (Hap) Hazzard, whose sticky fingers were slapped by New Jersey for demanding extra ringside tickets, who when Mike Weaver clearly won the 15th and final round in his rematch with King’s beloved Michael Dokes, scored a 10-10 round so it wound up a draw on his card. Another judge did the same so Dokes got an unfair majority draw to retain the WBAsses heavyweight title (the other judge, you should know, was Harold Lederman), chimed in that in his state – the one where King is barred from promoting because he refuses to answer questions about payoffs to the jailed former IBFelon, Bob Lee – there is no question, Mayweather would have been DQ’d

Then Hap said he didn’t like it when he took away the “0” from the record of Roy Jones Jr. for hitting Montell Griffin when he was down, but rules are rules. Of course, there must have been a different set of rules when Riddick Bowe committed the same foul against Buster Mathis Jr. and, when Referee Arthur Mercante wanted to DQ Bowe, Hap overruled that and it went into the books as a no-contest. Hap, the same guy who keeps inflicting Eugenia Williams on fights as a ringside judge.

And Marian Muhammad, whose organization stripped its title from Juan Manuel Marquez because no one made a purse bid on a meeting with an undeserving mandatory challenge, whose Jersey gang left Judah with the welterweight title even after clearly losing to Carlos Baldomir, on the grounds that the Argentine underdog didn’t pay the sanction fees (calling the title “vacant” would of course have been better), this great champion of rules and integrity, called up the Nevada commission to suggest that Mayweather be penalized.

All Mayweather did was dominate the fight and then get hit in the balls as part of a one-two foul combination – Judah then landing a rabbit punch behind the neck.

Nevada, which had held both purses in addition to temporarily suspending Roger Mayweather, released Floyd’s $5 million purse, though it did sock his uncle with a $200,000 fine and revoke his second’s license for a year.

Judah’s purse, however, was not released. He and his trainer, and father, Yoel Judah, will be later called on the carpet and unquestionably will be disciplined. It wasn’t done today because no formal complaint had been filed Saturday against the Judahs (the way it had been for Roger Mayweather), though it seems clear that they too bear responsibility for boxing’s latest black eye. The other shoe will eventually drop and Judah will carry some history into the judgment – the way he went berserk after Referee Jay Nady called an end in the second round to his fight with Kostya Tszyu in 2001, heeling the official with his gloves under the chin and later hurling his stool at where he thought the referee was standing, the way last January when supposed to touch gloves with Baldomir, he instead punched the challenger in the hip.

The key, though, to today’s meeting was upholding Mayweather’s non-disqualification, despite King-sized pressures.

But let’s get this straight. The rules, according to the sovereign state, give the referee complete discretionary power when a third party enters the ring. The referee Saturday was Richard Steele, who once saved a King fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez, by stopping Meldrick Taylor, ahead on the scorecards, with seconds remaining in their epic struggle – saying that Taylor was unfit to go on. He did not stop the bout because Taylor’s manager, Lou Duva, was coming into the ring.

The other night, after discussing things with the commission chairman, Reno lawyer Skip Avansino, and its respected executive director, Marc Ratner, Steele ruled that the fight would resume after the tenth-round melee set off by flagrant fouls by Judah and Roger Mayweather’s stupid interruption.

Today, Avansino made it clear to King, that the five-man commission had “no ability to overrule” Steele. Game, set and match, according to the Nevada rules – which last I looked, was where this fight took place. King’s ace flak, Alan Hopper, called it a “rubber stamp.”

“Richard Steele was going to be a pariah,” King said during his 15 minutes of shame before the commission today. “Steele should have stood up.”

King, allowed to speak as Judah’s promoter, was supposedly going to give arguments why the commission should release his fighter’s $1 million purse (most of which was going to King and the IRS, a pair of inevitables in boxing), never tried to get Zab his estimated $250,000.

Instead, the man who helped George W. get reelected (were it not for the former numbers king and convicted, if pardoned, killer, John Kerry probably carries Ohio, King’s home state) tried to flout his political pull.

“I love the state of Nevada,” King said. “I helped [Governor] Kenny Guinn get elected.”

Roger Mayweather “wrote” an apology to the commission, which was read for him by Todd duBoef, vice president of Top Rank, Floyd’s promoters. In it, the two-time former world champion said he would accept whatever penalty given him. He lost his entire salary for the fight, and was given at least a year off. Other jurisdictions in this country do NOT have to follow suit since the punishment was disciplinary, not medical, BUT most probably will.

Roger Mayweather, who “lost his mind” Saturday, according to Ratner, had to be punished severely, though he would say after the hearing that he should not have accepted his penalties. He said he entered the ring because he thought the round was over.

I believe that more than I believe Zab Judah saying the low blow was accidental, offering proof that the illegal rabbit punch wouldn’t have been thrown if he had been merely trying to chop down the Mayweather family tree. Hell, if you didn’t believe the low blow was on purpose, you MUST realize the rabbit chop was and the only thing missing was a couple of bites out of the ears.

In any case, while Keith Kizer, who replaces Ratner as executive director a month from today, was hoping that Roger’s banishment would also include the gyms, it won’t. Uncle Roger can still train boxing’s best; he just won’t be able to work the corner at a fight.

No, Floyd Sr. will not be rejoining his son, not as long as he still trains Oscar De La Hoya, whom Floyd Jr. has targeted as most wanted opponent. Probably, neither will Uncle Jeff – who has been in Pretty Boy’s corner before – be there. Jeff Mayweather has taken over the training of Zahir Raheem, who could not afford to stay with Floyd Sr. in Puerto Rico, where e La Hoya is being trained for a May 6 date with Ricardo Mayorga here in Las Vegas. Raheem next month meets Acelino Freitas in Connecticut.

Without wishing any finder’s fee, I hereby recommend that Floyd Jr. turn to another father from a father-son tandem, Papa Joe Byrd, who left this morning with son Chris who defends the IBFelonious heavyweight title April 22 against Wladimir Klitschko in Mannheim, Germany.

Papa Byrd would be a perfect fit and he is certainly willing. Money won’t be an issue, either. Years ago, before Floyd Sr. got shot and his own ring career badly hurt, Papa Byrd helped train him for a year. Joe Byrd said Floyd Sr. was one of the best talents “til the son came along.”

The chances are that Floyd Jr. would be able to figure out any problems in any subsequent matches. Bob Arum of Top Rank has reserved the Thomas & Mack for July 29, hoping to match his star with Antonio Margarito. The Mayweather camp is not interested. If De La Hoya won’t be readily available, Sugar Shane Mosley makes more economic sense than would Margarito.

Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s close buddy and conditioning coach, took over the corner Saturday when Uncle Roger was led out of the arena following the tenth-round melee. But just in case another pair of veteran boxing eyes is needed, to decipher what the opponent is doing, or what Floyd isn’t, it makes sense to hire someone like Byrd, whose own son, like Junior, is a defensive whiz. Joe Byrd wouldn’t have to go to the gym, either. All he would need is to watch films of the opponent with Roger and learn the game plan….No, I am not going to recommend Yoel Judah, whose penny-pinching with Zab’s training – no top-flight sparring partners, I’m told – might be why Zab lost his gusto after five rounds….At least Zab did not ask for Mayweather to be disqualified. He insisted his fouls were accidental and said he was “sorry” such “a great event turned out the way it did.”….Avansino told Zab Judah that not only were his illegal blows going to be studied by “experts” on film-watching (Roger Ebert? Pauline Kael?), as will how he pushed his way through two state inspectors to get into the action during the melee….And then there’s the argument that even if Roger Mayweather caused a disqualification for entering the ring, then it should have been a double DQ because Yoel Judah committed the same infraction and it shouldn’t matter who did what first. Both were wrong….Don King arguing in favor of rules and integrity: Reason No. 666 why I love boxing.

PENTHOUSE: Yes, Nevada for getting the correct result. As reader Shane of North California wrote, “This was the best work I’ve seen Don King do since he tried to get Buster Douglas stripped for the long count. Awarding fights to guys who got their asses kicked really isn’t good for the integrity of the game. It’s good for Don, but someone needs to remind his hairness not to confuse the two.” But kudos also to Pretty Boy, who at 29 seems to have matured and, who in the confusion, managed to serenely stay above the fray.

OUTHOUSE: Okay, let’s leave Donald alone for a paragraph or two. How about Antonio Tarver, for saying Bob Arum’s scheduling Miguel Cotto in a pay-per-view fight to compete with the same night’s pay-per-view of Tarver’s confrontation with Bernard Hopkins was somehow a “racist” ploy. Tarver is brighter than that. Arum reserved Cotto for the Saturday night in New York before the Puerto Rican Day parade and matched him with a native New Yorker, Paul Malignaggi. The Cotto fight was scheduled long before the two faded stars reached an accord to meet. It is unfortunate that Tarver-Hopkins couldn’t find another slot, but please leave “race” out of this equation.

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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