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Articles of 2006

Greene and Thompson Win In Long Island

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Jason Thompson, a junior middleweight from Brooklyn, was celebrating a solid victory at the Huntington Townhouse last Thursday when he was interrupted by a familiar voice.

“I can’t believe they stopped the fight,” someone whaled. “How could they stop it? Why did they stop it? Damn It!”

A winner by third round TKO, Thompson spun around and spotted Ron Lewis, his knockout victim, droning on about the end of the bout: “They took it from me. They took it from me. They shouldn’t have stopped it!” Lewis continued.

Thompson, 25, slowed down to watch Lewis’ temper tantrum and then disappeared to his dressing room with his friend Cesar Murillo and trainer Rogelio Jackson.

The last time Thompson fought at the Huntington Townhouse in Long Island on a Ring Promotions and Frankie “G” Productions show on September 15, the post-fight scene was a little more chaotic.

In his professional debut, Thompson artfully knocked out Mike Ruiz with a left hook that prompted the ringside physician to stop the bout.

Euphoric over his win, Thompson went over to embrace Ruiz and Ruiz threw a punch, setting off a short melee in the ring. Minutes later, prompted by his trainer, Ruiz meekly apologized to Thompson for the late blow.

Three months later, on the heels of that memorable debut, Thompson trekked to Philadelphia for his second fight, and he was caught by another punch he wasn’t expecting, this time from Mike Jones, a highly touted prospect from Philly.

Billed as an average fighter with limited potential to Thompson’s advisor, Pete Brodsky, the bout was made and Thompson was caught with a left hook he didn’t see from a fighter he had underestimated. He was knocked out in the second round, his record dropped to 1-1, and his short career took a dramatic turn for the worse.

The description of what happened against Jones, narrated by Thompson, is stunning.

“I had never been hit like that before,” he said. “I saw a bright light [after he hit me] and I stumbled into the ropes. He realized I was hurt, and he hurt me as I was moving back. In my mind, I was up and still fighting, but I was really on the floor. When I saw my trainer walk into the ring, I realized that I was on the canvas. I was there for like 20 seconds and the fight was over. I couldn’t believe it. Every fighter goes through this; it’s a setback but in the end it makes you work even harder. It was just a case of bad matchmaking. I’ll fight that guy again.”

The best therapy for a knockout loss is to get back into the gym, and three months after getting rocked by Jones, Thompson, from Flatbush, Brooklyn, was in training camp with Luis Collazo for his May 13 clash with Ricky Hatton, which Collazo narrowly lost by unanimous decision. Matching wits with Collazo and Randy Griffin, a top rated middleweight from Philadelphia helped revive his spirits, and he was looking forward to the bout with Lewis, who was 0-3 but was taller (at 5-foot-11) and fighting at his natural weight, junior middleweight, whereas Thompson is a natural welterweight.

“I was ready to get back in the ring,” Thompson said. “It was like a new beginning after what happened before.”

The undefeated super middleweight from Brooklyn, Joe Greene, who once defeated Thompson in the amateurs, was the headliner of the show, but Thompson as the opening act may have stolen the show with his performance. 

When a fighter is brutally knocked out, the damage is not just physical. A fighter like Michael Grant was never the same psychologically after his vicious knockout at the hands of heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 2000. Grant has not fought since June of last year and he has looked timid in his other bouts. After Felix Trinidad stopped him in the 12th round, Fernando Vargas was never the same. Both Vargas and Grant went from instinctive, relaxed fighters to ones filled with doubt after their dramatic losses. Fortunately for Thompson, a tough, slick fighter, his knockout loss was relatively quick, and the harm done to his psyche appeared minimal.

Although he was a bit tentative in the first round against Lewis, Thompson would eventually loosen up and his punches began to flow with their usual frequency. Thompson was jabbing to Lewis’ body at the outset, but he quickly changed course and began digging shots to the body when Lewis started countering the jab. Lewis complained of a low blow in the second round of the scheduled four round bout, and he complained again to referee Patrick Sullivan in the third after the bout was stopped at 2:15 of the round; perhaps feeling the repercussions of seeing his record dip to 0-4, he complained afterward as well.

“He was breathing heavily in the first round,” Lewis said of Thompson. “I wanted to go after him, but I had instructions to be patient and take my time because he was a puncher. But I could see he was tired, and that’s when I should have gone after him. I feel like I wasted an opportunity in this fight.”

What’s certain was the series of punches that Thompson landed in the third round, beginning with a thudding right uppercut to the body that caused Lewis to spuriously shake his body, mocking the effect of the punch. Always a good finisher, Thompson ran in and landed an overhand right to the top of Lewis’ head that pushed him back to the ropes; Thompson then landed around 15 straight punches, prompting Sullivan to stop the bout. His arms outstretched in an operatic pose, Lewis ran around the ring protesting the stoppage, but the result was justified, and Thompson, who never warmed up for the bout because he arrived late for the match, the first of the show, left the ring with a comeback victory.

“It feels good coming in here and getting the win,” Thompson said. “I was in shape, and I was more focused than I was for the last fight. I was ready; I’d been working so hard in training camp, sparring with Collazo and Griffin, so I wasn’t really worried or nervous about this fight. I knew I was ready.”

In the main event, Joe Greene won a unanimous decision against 37-year-old Derrick Graham, who hadn’t performed in almost six years. Graham fought Winky Wright (KO 3) and Alex Bunema (decision loss) in a patchy career that also saw him beat dangerous Levan Easley and undefeated Emil Baku early on.

A former amateur star from the Starrett City Boxing Club, Greene, 20, won by three scores of 80-71, improving his record to 10-0 (7 KO’s) and going eight rounds for the first time in his career.

Greene is built like an eighteen-wheeler, but he is also nimble on his feet and busy with his punches. Although his punch output has never been tallied by CompuBox, Greene would surely keep the workers busy with his work-rate. When he realized that he couldn’t knock Graham out after the fourth round, Greene altered his approach, picking and choosing his shots more carefully, which also helped him conserve energy against the tricky Graham, who positioned himself like a batter crowding the plate trying to shrink the strike zone as he stooped over with his hands up, giving Greene a very narrow target to work with. Still, Greene managed to knock Graham down in the sixth round with a straight left, and he landed enough clean punches to clearly win the bout.

“I felt good,” Greene said. “I displayed my boxing skills and going the distance gave me the opportunity to try out new things. I never got frustrated, and I kept on working. Midway through the fight, I saw that loading up on the big punches wasn’t working, so I began putting 4-5 shots together to win the rounds. It was a good experience.”

Consumed with his work as a court stenographer at Newark Municipal Court, Graham was lured out of semi-retirement by an injury to his brother, Eric, who was supposed to fight Greene but withdrew. Having went the distance after a long layoff, Graham was in good spirits after the match, complimenting Greene’s performance and smiling with reporters. The next show at the Huntington Townhouse is scheduled for September 14 and Greene is penciled in.

“He has real good power and you can tell that he will only get better,” said Graham, who dropped to 12-8-1 (4 KOs). “I’m a real good defensive fighter, and I know how to block punches. Because of the ring rust, I wasn’t able to get off like I wanted to. I could see where I wanted to punch, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Joe Greene has the potential to be a very good fighter. I think he has to get a little craftier so he can set his shots up better, but I can see that he has the talent to do that.”

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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