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Articles of 2006

Is Paul Williams the Next WBA Welterweight Champ?

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Expect fistic bombs to explode early when Georgia’s Paul Williams and Argentina’s Walter Matthysse meet for a welterweight round-robin tournament on Saturday night at the Home Depot in Carson.

Boxing and soccer share the spotlight as Golden Boy Promotions and the LA Galaxy are combining forces at the sports complex.

It’s a special promotion featuring WBO bantamweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez defending against the WBO junior bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel. Another world title bout features Daniel Ponce De Leon defending his WBO junior featherweight title against Alejandro Barrera, younger cousin of Marco Antonio Barrera.

But it’s the welterweight showdown that packs the most potential pop with two top-ranked 147-pounders vying to remain in the WBA tournament and meet the winner of the Carlos Quintana and Joel Julio showdown that takes place next month.

Williams (29-0, 21 KOs) has been fighting in California arenas for the last two years and has built some following with his Tommy Hearns-like reach and speed.

“He can hit you from across the room,” says trainer George Peterson of his fighter Williams who is 6-2 in height.

The long-armed Williams, 24, has been moving from gym to gym across the country in search of the best in the world.

“I sparred with Teddy Reid, O’Neil Bell, Glen Johnson, they’re all bigger than me and they can hit,” said Williams. “I like to pick up different points of their styles to see what I can do.”

Matthysse (25-0, 24 KOs) made his American debut down in San Diego but knocked out his opponent before fans and journalists could warm up their seats.

“We have a tape of the fight but it ended too quickly to make anything out of it,” said Peterson.

The Argentine bomber has knocked out all but one in his three year professional career. Golden Boy Promotions wants to find out quick if he can deal with the American fighters.

“It should be explosive,” said Eric Gomez, chief of operations for Golden Boy.

When Matthysse, 27, met Xavier Tolliver last December it was felt to be a good test for the Argentine. But the fight lasted only 2:27.

Williams has more tape to evaluate. He’s been featured on several televised fight cards including his last four bouts against Terrence Cauthen, Marteze Logan, Alfonso Sanchez and Sergio Rios. He beat two by knockout and two by unanimous decision.

No opponent has been able to make Williams worry until now.

“I don’t like tough fights,” said Peterson. “I like fights I know we can win.”

But to gain glory and a shot at the WBA world title, the Georgia team is willing to participate.

Gomez said they know Matthysse has power but whether or not he can stand up to American boxers is another factor.

“This is going to be a big test for Matthysse,” Gomez said, adding that Shane Mosley is the marquee welterweight for Golden Boy Promotions.

Whoever wins will then wait to see the victor between Julio and Quintana.

Many boxing experts are picking Julio to eventually win the welterweight tournament and defeat Quintana on June 24 in Las Vegas.

But the Colombian powerhouse has yet to meet someone with serious power. Quintana, out of Puerto Rico, has only beaten veteran Nurhan Suleyman, a clever boxer. Like Julio, he’s never faced someone who can hit him back as hard as he hits.

Both are question marks.

It’s the same regarding Williams and Matthysse. Though the Georgia fighter has fought quality fighters, he’s never faced a true welterweight with serious pop to his punches.

Neither has the Argentine.

“I can’t wait to fight Walter Matthysse,” Williams said. “After I beat him I want Antonio Margarito. Everyone says nobody wants to fight him – I’ll fight him.”

Williams remembers sparring with Margarito when the WBO welterweight titleholder was preparing to meet Daniel Santos for the junior middleweight title. They sparred several rounds at the old LA Boxing Club.

“I didn’t go all out and I don’t think he did neither,” said Williams. “I have great respect for Margarito. I’d like to challenge him since nobody else will. I heard Floyd Mayweather turned down $8 million to fight Margarito. I’ll fight him for $150,000.”

The winner of the tournament eventually meets the WBA welterweight champ Ricky Hatton if he remains at the weight class. The tough Brit has talked of going back down to junior welterweight after tasting the power of welterweight Luis Collazo. He doesn’t hit half as hard as any of the tournament welterweights.

“There’s no welterweight I wouldn’t fight,” Williams says. “I like fighting.”

Mexico vs. Mexico

It’s Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico City versus Fernando Montiel of Los Mochis for the bantamweight world title.

Gonzalez (32-4, 28 KOs) is a much taller slugger who has developed from a pure puncher to a prizefighter who can box on the outside until the proper moment develops to unleash a left hook or right hand.

The 5-foot-8 bantamweight captured the title against Thailand’s legendary Ratanachai Sor Vorapin last year with an eye-catching knockout.

Montiel (32-1-1, 24 KOs) has already captured world titles in two other weight divisions. First he won the flyweight world title in 2000 against Isidro “Chino” Garcia, a clever and talented flyweight. It shocked the boxing world. Two years later, he moved up to the junior bantamweight division and grabbed the world title in that division too with a dominating win over Pedro Alcazar. That fighter died two days later from a brain injury that had not been disclosed before the fight.

It should be a slow-starting fight until Gonzalez finds the range. Then watch for the fireworks. Both Gonzalez and Montiel have a common opponent in Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, a future Hall of Fame candidate. Gonzalez demolished Johnson with body shots. Montiel suffered a knockdown by Johnson and eventually lost by decision.

But styles make fights and Montiel has fast feet and fast hands. The question is whether he can outmaneuver the taller Gonzalez.

In another Mexico versus Mexico match, Daniel Ponce De Leon of Chihuahua in Northern Mexico faces Mexico City’s Barrera.

Ponce De Leon uses his southpaw stance to deliver bone-crushing blows to the head and body. Though his defense tends to be weak, he has a solid chin and loves to trade bombs. And he never stops fighting.

Barrera beat Frankie Archuleta, a crafty veteran boxer out of New Mexico. But other than that, the fighter known as “Zorrito” has not fought anyone the caliber of Ponce De Leon. It should be a cat and mouse kind of fight.

Another Filipino fighter named Z Gorres, recently signed by Golden Boy Promotions, will be on the card too. He faces Jose Laureano in a junior bantamweight bout.

Gorres (23-1-1, 12 KOs) knocked out Glenn Donaire in one round a year ago. He’s only 24 and will be tested by Laureano (18-9-1) a Puerto Rican boxer who’s faced stiff competition.

Fights on television

Thurs. Fox Sports Net, 10 p.m., Javier Mora (20-2-1) vs. Fres Oquendo (25-3)

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Delvin Rodriguez (18-1-1) vs. Luis Hernandez (15-2)

Fri. Telefutura, 9 p.m., Nelson Dieppa (23-2-2) vs. Eric Ramirez (11-3-1)

Sat. HBO, 10 p.m., Jhonny Gonzalez (32-4) vs. Fernando Montiel (32-1-1)

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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