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Articles of 2006

James Toney Talks Heavyweights



April showers don’t always bring dainty flowers – especially when talking about the heavyweight division and two Americans Chris Byrd and James Toney who both eagerly and earnestly claim superiority.

IBF heavyweight titleholder Byrd travels to Germany Saturday to face former world champion Wladimir Klitschko. Both hold world titles.

On paper, “Lights Out” Toney was within one minute of capturing the WBC heavyweight world title too and fell short.

But unknown to most people, after fighting Hasim Rahman to a majority draw at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Toney spent the next two and a half weeks in a hospital.

“This is my first interview,” said Toney, who was cornered in the Inland area recently watching a local fight show.

Still sick from the flu, Toney attended a fight card at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage to support his fellow fighter Jason Gavern and former foe Dominick Guinn.

It was a good day. Both won.

Sitting down in a large yellowish couch, the IBA heavyweight champion held court with the press.

“Nobody knows I was in the hospital with a lacerated kidney,” said Toney, who fought 12 rounds with Rahman a few weeks ago with the judges ruling it a draw. “I won that fight. Didn’t I land the better punches?”

Though Toney suffered injuries from kidney punches inflicted by Rahman, he doesn’t blame him.

“It was that referee Eddie Cotton,” Toney said with his raspy voice and a few chosen colloquialisms. “He was on crack.”

Toney said he spent a lot of time in a hyperbaric chamber getting his kidney healed. Hitting the kidneys is illegal but Toney says its part of the game to get away with as much as you can.

“You got to have heart,” says the four-division world champion. “Brits ain’t got no heart. Guys from the south don’t got any heart either. They give up.”

Toney is not giving up on his hopes of capturing another heavyweight world title and warns the fans, foes and boxing commentators to not underestimate his ability to fight in a division filled with 6-7 behemoths and 275-pound monsters.

“Everybody said don’t get hit by his (Rahman’s) big right hand, he hits hard,” said Toney is falsetto. “He hit me with it and nothing happened. Rahman’s eyes got big as golf balls. What happened to his big right? I laughed at his big right hand.”

Byrd in Germany

Chris Byrd, who defends his IBF world title this weekend against Vladimir Klitschko in Germany, says Rahman was the winner.

“James Toney wasn’t doing anything,” said Byrd after a training session in Las Vegas. “He was just laying on the ropes in some of the rounds. Rahman was doing all of the work.”

Toney laughs at the suggestion that Rahman’s punches were effective.

“He was throwing arm punches,” Toney says.

Moreover, the Michigan native who now lives in Los Angeles detests the television commentators who lambasted him throughout the Rahman match with comments about his weight.

“If I’m a little fat roly-poly, why is everybody trying to avoid me,” said Toney who was refused a fight with Samuel Peter, Klitschko and others.

The always svelte Byrd never endures comments about the softness around his belly, but the softness in his fists.

“Chris Byrd couldn’t hit hard if you paid him,” said Toney. “He’s a good fighter but nobody wants to see his butt dancing around the ring.”

“If I don’t hit so hard, why doesn’t anyone just rush me?” responded Byrd testily. “I don’t see anybody trying to go right through me. I must have something that stops them from rushing me.”

Local fights coming up


Vicente Escobedo (9-0, 9 KOs) faces a stiff test on Friday in his hometown when he meets Daniel Jimenez, 25, in a junior lightweight bout at the Arco Arena. Nine opponents have faced the sharp-shooting Escobedo and nine have fallen. Now he faces another puncher in Jimenez.

In Escobedo’s last fight he met Jesus Perez, a do-or-die type of fighter with numerous losses but some significant wins over guys like undefeated Daniel Maldonado, Hugo Dianzo and others. Though it took six rounds, Escobedo, 24, was able to unlock the combination and end Perez’s night. This time he faces another prospect.

Jimenez (12-1-1, 7 KOs), who lost in drew in his first two pro fights, hasn’t lost since.

At 5-9 he’s equal to Escobedo in height and has the power to end his night early. It should be an extremely good test for both fighters.

Escobedo has been touted as the next Golden Boy with his precise punching and quick hands and feet. Quiet and unassuming, he’s gathered a large following in a short time. His promoters Golden Boy Promotions are on pins an needles for this bout. For tickets and information call (916) 649-TIXS.


Ensenada, Mexico is the site of a huge match for that area when Roberto “Mako” Leyva, the former WBO strawweight world titleholder, meets fellow Ensenada native Ivan “Choko” Hernandez in a grudge match at Gimnasio Oscar “Tigre” Garcia on Friday, April 21. “These guys hate each other,” said Ensenada native Raul Miramontes.

Leyva (23-4-1, 20 KOs) lost his last bout against boxer extraordinaire Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino two years ago. He hasn’t fought since. Mako is moving up two weight divisions.

Hernandez (22-1-1, 13 KOs) stopped Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson in eight rounds two years ago and seemed destined for a sure world title. Then he met Fernando Montiel and was manhandled by the Los Mochis native and eventually stopped in seven rounds. Choko moved up to junior feather for one bout but has now returned to junior bantamweight.

Ontario, California

Thompson Boxing Promotions hosts a fight card on Monday, April 24, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. It was supposed to feature super fast Dominic Salcido but the Rialto boxer reinjured his hand during training. It should still be a pretty strong card including James “Choco” Parison (5-0), a quick-fisted super middleweight fighter out of San Diego who was an outstanding amateur. For tickets and information call (714) 935-0900.

Highland, California

San Manuel Casino has their third show on Thursday, April 27, and will feature Luciano Perez (13-3) of Chicago facing Calvin Odom (14-8) of Inglewood, California in a welterweight contest. The casino had more than 2,800 people attending the last show a few weeks ago. Also on the card will be Fontana’s Heather Percival matched against ring tough Tonia Cravens in a six-round bantamweight contest. Percival was supposed to meet world champion Melinda Cooper a few months ago but the fight card was canceled on the last day before the match. Cravens lost a tough match against flashy Kaliesha West in a four-round bout. Her team vowed to only fight six rounds or more. Cravens is a straight-ahead go-for-broke type of fighter while Percival is a box and move stylist. Her jab is her key. For tickets and information call (800) 359-2464.

Fights on television

Wed. ESPN2, 7 p.m., Kermit Cintron (25-1) vs. David Estrada (18-2)
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Alonzo Butler (21-0-1) vs. Derek Bryant (18-4-1)
Fri. Telefutura, 9 p.m., Vicente Escobedo (9-0) vs. Daniel Jimenez (12-1-1)
Sat. HBO, 2 p.m., Chris Byrd (39-2-1) vs. Vladimir Klitschko (45-3)

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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