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Articles of 2006

Spina Stops Brinkley at Foxwoods



MASHANTUCKET, Conn. – With two rounds to go, Joey Spina not only looked to be on the way to his first defeat, but as if he’d have find a new nickname as well.

Spina bills himself as “The KO Kid,” but two of his past three fights had gone the distance, and according to most neutral eyewitnesses he should have lost at least one of those.

Now, with six minutes to box he was critically behind on all three scorecards (by four, four, and two points) and on his way to losing to “Contender” alumnus Jesse Brinkley in the main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s ESPN2 card Wednesday night at Foxwoods.

The bout turned on a single punch, a sweeping left hook to the body that caught Brinkley right along the beltline. The “Contender” semifinalist swooned as if he’d been hit by bad ratings.

Clearly damaged by the body shot, Brinkley reeled across the ring with Spina in hot pursuit before taking refuge from the inevitable onslaught by dropping to a knee in his corner.

Brinkley wearily rose at the count of eight, but when Spina resumed the attack, Brinkley couldn’t ward him off, leading referee Mike Ortega to halt the bout at 1:50 of the 11th.

“Every time I’d go back to the corner Eddie (Mustafa Muhammad) was telling me ‘Son, go to the belly,’ reported Spina, who finally took the advice.

The outcome represented a sudden reversal of fortune that was as shocking to Brinkley as it was to the Foxwoods crowd. (Although he was fighting close to his home turf, Spina’s fans didn’t exactly dominate the audience; Brinkley presumably picked up some supporters over the course of last year’s television run.)

Brinkley’s chief second Miguel Diaz said of the telling blow “To me, it looked low,” and Brinkley certainly reacted as if it had been.

“Fudge, I don’t know,” said Brinkley on his way out of the ring. “I can’t believe I lost.”

Once he had recovered, though, the defeated Brinkley conceded that “there was no low blow. It was a good, clean shot. I was just taking it for granted in the later rounds, and I got sloppy. The better man won.”

“He caught him in the ribs. It wasn’t low,” said Peter Manfredo Sr. (In an ironic twist, Spina, the Providence fighter, had Las Vegas-based Mustafa Muhammad working his corner, while Brinkley, a native Nevadan, had a Rhode Island trainer in his.)

“But what’s the difference?” pointed out Manfredo pere. “Neither one of ‘em is going anywhere anyway.”

Spina, whose record went to 18-0-1 with the win, said that he had gone into the bout with a broken hand.

“When we went to see the doctor in Vegas I learned I had a fractured left hand,” said the winner, “but this was my time, so I sucked it up and didn’t pull out.”

It was the fourth loss for Brinkley, now 26-4, but the first in nearly eight years that didn’t come in a made-for-TV fight.

If neither Spina nor Brinkley exactly looked prepared to claim a place on the world stage on this night, another Providence fighter, cruiserweight Matt Godfrey, gave every indication that he may be ready to make some noise in his chosen division. Godfrey remained unbeaten at 12-0 with a first-round TKO over Shaun George, who had come into last night’s co-feature unbeaten in a dozen fights.

Working behind a good jab and appearing to effect some damage when he banged Godfrey with a left to the body during a clinch, George had the better of it for two minutes before the roof caved in. Then Godfrey smacked him with a crisp right hand that sent him down, and while he made it to his feet by the time referee Dick Flaherty reached ‘eight,’ it was plain when action resumed that George was still hurt.

Defenseless, he cowered in a neutral corner while Godfrey landed a succession of unanswered blows. When two successive Godfrey rights crashed off George’s unprotected head, Flaherty had seen enough, and stopped it at 2:21.

“When I was in the neutral corner after the knockdown I could look at him and see he was hurt,” said Godfrey. “Watching tape of Shawn George, we knew he had confidence issues once he gets hit, and I knew then it was just a matter of time.”

Although George promoter Lou Duva was exercised over what he considered Flaherty’s premature intervention, Duva’s son-in-law, trainer Tommy Brooks, had no problem with the stoppage.

“None at all,” said Brooks. “I’ve been telling [George] all through training camp he had to keep his hands up because Godfrey would be throwing right hands.”

“He was throwing a lot of jabs, but barely touching me with them,” reported Godfrey. “I waited him to actually commit to the jab, and when he did he pulled it back a little low and I threw the right hand over it. He got careless and gave me an opportunity, and I took advantage of it.”

“What the heck?” shrugged Tommy Brooks. “You can’t fight the fights for them.”

Godfrey wasn’t at all surprised by the stoppage.

“I was mildly surprised that they even let it continue after the knockdown,” he said. “This is a pretty tough commission when it comes to safety.”

The bout, which unified two titles you’ve probably never heard of, had been scheduled for 12 rounds. For what it’s worth, Godfrey retained something called the USNBC belt, and added George’s NABA title for good measure.  With his first loss, George fell to 11-1-2.

Manchester (Conn.) junior lightweight Matt Remillard and his imported Ohio opponent Leo Martinez traded leather for six nonstop rounds, with Remillard prevailing on a unanimous decision. Remillard won by scores of 59-55 (Don O’Neill) and 58-56 (Glenn Feldman and Don Ackermann) twice. Remillard is now 8-0, Martinez 8-8, but off his excellent night’s work here we can’t help but be curious about other seven guys who beat him. They must be some fighters.

Las Vegas-domiciled Cleveland cruiserweight Aaron Williams (8-0-1) made short work of his North Carolina foe Lloyd Wilson (3-4), scoring a quick TKO at 1:52 of the first.

A Williams right had already dropped Wilson early in the round, and as Williams closed in on his wounded quarry he landed to quick lefts and a right that snapped his head back. Referee Mike Ortega was already in the process of waving the bout off when Wilson, in a delayed reaction, staggered and then fell over backward.

Tony Grano, who won the heavyweight title in last year’s US Boxing Championships in Colorado Springs, improved to 4-0 with four knockouts as a pro when he whacked out his willing Mississippi opponent Mike (The Hammer) Jones. Jones (2-5) performed creditably for the four minutes the fight lasted, but in the second round Grano caught him with a short, clubbing right hand and The Hammer couldn’t make Charlie Dwyer’s ten-count.

In the walk-out bout, New Haven super-middle Elvin Ayala (14-0) tuned up for next month’s headline appearance at the neighboring Mohegan Sun with a 4th-round TKO over 41-year-old former world title challenger Virgil McClendon (22-9). The end came when Flaherty rescued McClendon, who had been down earlier from an Ayala right, at 1:50 of the round.

ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas arrived early for Wednesday night’s show, and was autographing copies of his new book, “From the Streets to the Ring” for a long line of eager customers… Newly-crowned WBA junior middle champion Jose Rivera was on hand and introduced from the ring.

New England fight fans were excited to learn that the area’s two best light-heavyweights, Chad Dawson and Eric Harding, will be facing one another on ShoBox next month, but none too pleased that the June 2 fight for local supremacy will take place not in either of the Connecticut casinos, nor in New Haven (Dawson’s hometown) or Hartford (Harding’s), but at a tribal casino in California. Money talks, apparently: the six-figure site fee promoter Gary Shaw was offered by the Chumash Resort apparently trumped anything on the table in New England.

Burchfield plans a pro/am card next Thursday night (May 18) at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, the main event of which could well eliminate one of his drawing cards: Cranston’s Missy Fiorentino will challenge for Jaime Clampitt’s IBWF lightweight title. Fiorentino is a popular local with a substantial following, while Clampitt, who relocated to Narragansett (RI) from here native Canada several years ago, is the wife of CES matchmaker Ted Panagiotis.

* * *

May 10, 2006

CRUISERWEIGHTS: Matt Godfrey, 194, Providence, RI TKO’d Shaun George, 192, Brooklyn, NY (1)

Aaron Williams, 194, Cleveland, Ohio TKO’d Lloyd Wilson, 190, Winston-Salem, NC (1)

HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tony Grano, 215, Hebron, Conn. KO’d Mike Jones, 246, Jackson, Miss. (2)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Joey Spina, 167, Providence, RI TKO’d Jesse Brinkley, 166, Yerington, Nev. (11)

Elvin Ayala, 168, New Haven, Conn. TKO’d Virgil McClendon, 167, Columbus, Ohio (4)
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Matt Remillard, 128½, Manchester, Conn. dec. Leo Martinez, 132½, Columbus, Ohio (6)

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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