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Articles of 2006

Who Needs a Heart When a Heart Can Be Broken?



LAS VEGAS, April 28 – Beware of love. It is a terrible trap. As the wise book says, “Never fall in love with a fighter, he’ll only break your bank.”

Betting on guys you like can lead to worse heartbreak than psoriasis. Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate will surely be broken, on that you can rely. The objectivity of the press box, one would think, should protect us from allowing rooting interests to bet on nice guys like Chris Byrd.

But there’s no use crying over spilled Dewars, just as long as we don’t think with our hearts in the next couple of weeks. You don’t have to love a fighter to make a stupid bet. If your emotion is a lot darker – ranging from mild dislike to borderline hatred – it is no difference. As soon as you start thinking with anything but your brain, you’re in trouble.

So it is that this Saturday I almost have to pick Acelino Freitas to win, though I would much prefer to see Zahir Raheem outbox the Brazilian terrier. And the following weekend, while I would prefer to see Oscar De La Hoya shut the big mouth of Ricardo Mayorga, it seems too dangerous to bet that way.

I’m hoping the Byrd lesson sinks through my thick skull. It is not easy, the heart is easiest mark in the game. I remember a few esteemed colleagues picking the frayed version of Muhammad Ali to upset Larry Holmes in 1980. Wishing won’t make it so.

Chris Byrd is one of the nicest guys I’ve met, which is not to say anything derogatory about Wladimir Klitschko. Au contraire, the Klitschkos will be accorded tenancy in the PENTHOUSE more for their actions after battering the hapless Byrd.

But knowing how brave Byrd has been, giving away size, strength and power to all his opponents, knowing how much he had wanted this victory, it was easy to be ignore the X’s and O’s and believe somehow in the Why’s. Wladimir’s confidence had been shaken since he first battered Byrd over 12 one-sided rounds almost six years ago. Byrd’s game of reinforcing the giant’s doubts seemed entirely reasonable: he almost wanted to get hit by Klitschko and then tell him, see, you can’t hurt me, make him worry about his stamina. Then, when he was unsure and fatiguing, when he was ripe, attack.

In the meantime, with Klitschko’s hands held high to protect his suspect chin, Byrd would further weaken the big man by punching to the body. In the first round, he did land a couple of decent body blows. But as early as the second round, it was clear that there was a big flaw to the game plan: he couldn’t get past the Klitschko jab. He forgot about bobbing and weaving, the way he had worked in his Vegas gym. He forgot about slipping punches and moving laterally. He thought his chin could overpower Klitschko’s punches.

As his buddy, and now the only remaining American heavyweight titlist, Hasim Rahman, said the other night on ESPN, “Chris fought like there were two big men out there, but there was really only one.”

He fought bravely, but he fought badly. “I was knuckleheaded,” he would say. John Hornewer, his longtime attorney and friend, said, “I really love Chris and to watch him commit suicide like this was hard.” When love congeals, as Larry Hart wrote, “it soon reveals the faint aroma of performing seals.” Let the poets write of love, they’ll never hit a parlay.

Emanuel Steward, who already has a long lead for trainer of the year (and let’s see how he gets Jermain Taylor to handle Winky Wright), was more than a chess master in developing the winning game plan. He made Klitschko a winner again, the same way earlier this month he gave Kermit Cintron another chance at a successful career after a devastating knockout loss.

Klitschko’s collapses against Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster and his wobbly moments against such as DaVarryl Williamson and Samuel Peter, do not allow me to anoint him as the heavyweight division’s “savior.” He is not, as HBO’s Larry Merchant said, “the mythical Muhammad Dempsey” the boxing world has been awaiting. He’s proved, however, that he’s probably the best around. As the wonderfully modest Rahman said, “You have to put him No. 1.”

He did not come back from adversity against Sanders or Brewster. But he got up three times against Peter and was strongest at the finish. And he came back from a deep trough in his career. Against Byrd, he demonstrated not only his quick hands and good power, but a much calmer demeanor in following the X’s and O’s.

Steward had coached him to stick out the long left jab and keep it in Byrd’s face, setting up the right hands that followed in horrific succession.

“He never saw the right hands,” said Steward afterwards. “He could never get past the extended left hands.”

He could have been listening to the Byrd corner. After the first knockdown, in the fifth round, Chris asked his father and trainer, Papa Joe Byrd, “What he hit me with?”

Everything. It was to Byrd’s credit that he gave Klitschko all the credit. He probably won’t retire. He has no future in the heavyweight division, but his competitive drive will probably spawn a new career, even at age 35, as a cruiserweight.

At least this fight was a strong counterpunch to all those black eyes the game has been receiving. And, yes, there was someone who ran into the ring in Mannheim. But that’s for the PENTHOUSE which follows.

PENTHOUSE: Almost the first person in the ring was Justin Byrd, Chris’s 11-year-old son. And you know who gave Justin a big hug? Wladimir Klitschko. In fact, Wladimir and his brother, Vitali, were among the first to check out Byrd to make sure he was not too battered. The brothers then went to Byrd’s dressing room. Wladimir said it was a “bittersweet win,” because the Klitschkos love the Byrd family. He keeps this up, he’ll have a lot of people rooting for him. Love is easier the second time around.

OUTHOUSE: The nationalists who now have loaded on Hasim Rahman’s shoulders the, shall we say, “black man’s burden.” Rahman is now the only one of the four “major” heavyweight titleholders who is not a former Soviet citizen – there’s Klitschko of the Ukraine, Sergei Liahkovich of Belarus and Nicolai Valuev of Russia. And Rahman now has to deal Aug. 12 with Oleg Maskaev of Uzbekistan, who knocked him out – of the ring and almost onto Jim Lampley’s head – several years ago. Bob Arum is already gearing to promote the Rahman-Maskaev rematch as America’s last stand. He will probably buy little American flags by the lot from Don King and give out two with every ticket (I made that up, but don’t be surprised if it is done).

The Rock won’t bite. Maskaev, who was one of my favorites until he hooked up with Dennis Rappaport, has only that questionable history on his side. Rahman said he wasn’t worried about what happened in 1999. “I thought HBO was giving me some free money,” he said of the Atlantic City match. “I saw him get knocked out in the first round by Oliver McCall (in 1996).” Maskaev was also knocked out by David Tua – no sin, that – and after beating Rahman, was stopped by Kirk Johnson, Lance Whitaker and Corey (not the South African) Sanders.

In any case, Rahman grew up on the streets of Baltimore and now lives here in Vegas and is one hell of a nice guy. So is Maskaev. In his early career, against the wishes of his people (including the late great trainer and cut man, Al Gavin), he confessed that all his early pro victories in the Soviet Union were against amateurs. It makes up for Rappaport. May the best man win, and damn the flags. It is an individual sport; let the jingoists stick to their war games.

MEDAL MELTDOWN: Hate to mention this to Oscar, but there were three American medallists at the 1992 Olympics. De La Hoya won a gold, Chris Byrd a silver and Tim Austin a bronze. This month, Byrd and Austin were knocked out. De la Hoya now goes into his May 6 bout here against Ricardo Mayorga trying to stop a streak. His problem, and the reason I can’t support him at minus $3.30 against the wild-swinging Mayorga though he is an infinite number of classes higher, is that he hasn’t fought since quitting on all fours against Bernard Hopkins in 2004. Yes, he should have no trouble handling the crazy Mayorga, a plus $2.70 underdog. But even in his prime, and we don’t know how far Oscar is from that, he was prone to tiring late in fights. What if he can’t take out the stubborn Mayorga? Could he be in trouble late? Naturally, I want Oscar to win. I resent Mayorga calling him “Chicken” De La Hoya.

ZZZZ: Zahir Raheem is minus $1.30 against Acelino Freitas in some sort of lightweight “title” bout in Connecticut on HBO. As much as I respect Zab Judah’s old Olympic Trials roomie (how many ZZZ’s does it take to snore?) for his decisive victory last September over Erik Morales and for his stoicism over a career that has never blossomed, it strikes me that the oddsmakers have chosen the wrong guy as favorite. Yes, I don’t think much of Freitas for the way he quit against Diego (Chico) Corrales; it was okay for him to put on a beating, but as soon as the tide turned and it appeared that he would have to absorb some punishment, he just flat out quit. I also didn’t think much of his gonads for his refusal to give Joel Casamayor a rematch after I thought the Cuban star defeated them in their 130-pound unification bout.

I will be rooting for Raheem, but I think the Philadelphia gym rat will have great trouble with Freitas. The Brazilian is not simply a big puncher. He has fast hands, fast feet and is an unorthodox boxer. His speed will negate Raheem’s. The American has stepped up only twice – he upset a lethargic Morales and was unlucky not to get the decision against Rocky Juarez. But his chin is suspect. He was knocked out in the 1996 Olympics in the opening bout against the Cuban veteran, Arnaldo Mesa, who had had to go down to 119 pounds from featherweight to replace the defected Casamayor, but who still had enough to swat Raheem. Then, in an early pro match, Raheem was dropped a couple of times early by Lionel Odom, whose face I did not recognize because of the ravages of drugs. Odom quickly faded and Raheem managed to win, but the chin did not earn many points. I hope I am very wrong and his superior character enables him to make Freitas quit again.

MORE DIS AND THAT: About a year ago, Don King tried to get Chris Byrd to make an optional defense against Wladimir Klitschko, but he refused to guarantee in writing either a third match in case of a loss, or a $1 million “comeback” fight. It was an offer Byrd found easy to refuse. Byrd got a bigger straight purse for a mandatory defense against Wladimir, but for the $1 million next fight, King missed out on a chance to gain three options on Klitschko….Floyd Mayweather, his right hand still swollen from hitting Zab Judah, opted to pay Bob Arum $750,000 to get out of his promotional contract, thereby scuttling a planned Aug. 12 match against Antonio Margarito. Boxing’s best is waiting to see what happens May 6 here. He’s hoping for a $20 million plus bonanza against De La Hoya, but even if there’s an upset, a match against Mayorga figures to make him more than the $8 million Arum offered him to face Margarito….Michael Moorer showed again why he’s probably going to be a successful trainer when he joined his old trainer, Teddy Atlas, ringside at the Wednesday night fights. Moorer immediately pointed out that Allan Green, the big wind from Oklahoma who was talking about how easily he was going to beat Joe Calzaghe, was obviously so overconfident against late sub, and former sparring partner, Donnie McCrary, that the undefeated prospect was carrying his hands much too low. Splat, just as soon as Green dropped the overmatched McCrary with a left hook to the body in the third round and moved in for the finish, he ran into a left hook that set up a series of staggering blows that put Green down. A more accomplished opponent would surely have finished Green. “I’m glad it happened now and not later in a bigger fight,” the blowhard said afterwards. Sorry, if he doesn’t correct his wide swings and careless defense, there won’t be bigger fights.

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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