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Articles of 2006

Aussies! Vic Darchinyan Defends Title

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Flyweights are the smallest of guys in the world of boxing at 112 pounds and less, but inside the ring they can dazzle with their speed. Sometimes a guy like Australia’s Vic Darchinyan emerges with his knockout power and sparks the division.

Get ready to be sparked.

Darchinyan, the IBF flyweight titleholder, makes his fourth defense of the belt he captured against Irene Pacheco, a tall flyweight out of Colombia who defended it six times before running into the Aussie buzzsaw. Darchinyan meets Mexico’s Luis Maldonado (33-0-1, 25 KOs) at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday. It will be televised on Showtime.

It’s been three years since an opponent lasted all 12 rounds with Darchinyan. He likes it that way.

“It is very important to me to win by knockout,” said Darchinyan (25-0, 20 KOs) who is also known as “Raging Bull.”

See, it’s the knockouts that get you noticed in the flyweight division. Not since Ricardo “Finito” Lopez has someone grabbed the attention of the casual boxing viewer. He did it with his surprising knockout power.

Darchinyan knows this.

“I am looking forward to this fight Luis Maldonado. He is a good, strong fighter,” said Darchinyan, who is trained by the former Aussie great Jeff Fenech. “It is a very good opportunity for me. I have won a lot of my fights since winning the title by knockout.”

Knockouts are his choice. He also wants to meet other titleholders like Jorge Arce who reigns supreme in the 112-pound class with his ability to end a fight by sudden knockout.

A proposed matchup with Arce was shrugged off by the popular Mexican prizefighter.

“I’m going up in weight,” said Arce last month, who has struggled to make weight the last several fights. “There are a lot of good fighters I can meet at junior bantamweight like Martin Castillo and Jose Navarro.”

Darchinyan was disappointed but might go up to a heavier weight class too.

“I was very unhappy. Maybe he (Arce) didn’t want to lose his belt. I am looking forward to fighting all champions,” Darchinyan said. “I am ready for super flyweight (115 pounds), I am ready for bantamweight (118 pounds) and I am ready for super bantamweights (122 pounds).”

One thing he knows, knockout victories are the key to success.

“If you can show your power, people really love you,” said the Armenian boxer. “That is why I want to show my power.”

Flyweights are some of the quickest and slickest prizefighters in the sport, but even without Arce, the weight class has some pretty exceptional boxers like WBO flyweight Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon, Lorenzo Parra, Omar Narvaez, and Giovanni Segura.

Light heavyweights

An interesting contest takes place on Friday between veteran Eric Harding (27-3-1) and fast-rising Chad Dawson (22-0, 15 KOs) at the Chumash Casino on Friday. The match will be televised by Showtime.

It’s southpaw versus southpaw.

“Fights are not easy to come by for me so when you get an opportunity, you go for it,” said Harding, who has fought Roy Jones Jr. Antonio Tarver and others.

Both are acquainted with each other through sparring.

“I was a young fighter, 19 years old,” said Dawson, 23, about sparring with Harding several times. “My style has definitely changed in the last three years.”

Harding agrees.

“It was three years ago and sparring is a whole different world than being actually in there fighting without the headgear on.” Harding said.

In the light heavyweight division, southpaw fighters are in abundance so both feel confident about each other’s style, especially Dawson, who spars regularly with junior middleweight champion Winky Wright, a southpaw.

“I know what he does against Winky Wright in sparring,” said Dan Birmingham who trains both Dawson and Wright. “I mean the kid is ready and Eric Harding is going to find out.”

Harding has no choice but to take the toughest fights available.

“Every fight I fight is a must win for me,” Harding said.

The veteran has fought the best light heavyweights in his era including Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver twice, Glencofe Johnson, Montell Griffin, David Telesco, Richard Grant, Demetrius Jenkins, George Khalid Jones and many others. The only light heavyweight of note he’s missed is Julio Gonzalez.

Dawson, as young as he is, has proven to be willing and thrilling in beating some notables like Jason Naugler, Darnell Wilson, Carl Daniels and Ian Gardner. Against Gardner he proved he could fight a very awkward and defensive fighter bent on not fighting. The lanky southpaw with pop stopped him in 11 rounds.

It’s basically the future looking at the present, or if Harding loses, at the past.

Johnny Tapia

Johnny “La Vida Loca” Tapia will be signing copies of his autobiography on Wednesday, May 31, at Universal Studios City Walk in Los Angeles at 6 p.m. The book is called “Mi Vida Loca – The Crazy Life of Johnny Tapia” of course.

Tapia, who won world titles six times, also has a movie about his life currently in production by Jerry Bruckheimer.

Hopefully this means that Tapia has ended putting on the gloves. He had a glorious career despite all of the tragedies and problems in his life.

Tapia took part in several fights that were some of the best I’ve ever witnessed such as his clashes with Paulie Ayala, the match with Ricardo “Chapo” Vargas, or his eventual meeting with fellow New Mexican Danny Romero. Nobody had more energy and more enthusiasm than Tapia.

USA pay-per-view boxing

Beginning on Tuesday June 6, at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, the first episode of USA Tuesday Night Fights takes place for the cost of $14.95. The first episode of the boxing series called “Knockouts” will show Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Agapito Sanchez, Larry Holmes vs. Curtis Shepard, Antonio Tarver vs. Shelby Gross, and other boxers such as Lamar parks, Sergei Artemiev, Joshua Blocus and Leonzer Barber. For more pay-per-view information call (877) 456-7781.

Local fights coming up

Heavyweight prospect Damian “Bolo” Wills (19-0-1, 15 KOs) meets veteran John Clarke (12-7-1) at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood on Thursday June 8. For tickets or more information call (323) 464-0808.

Golf tournament with Boxing Greats

The World Boxing Hall of Fame is having their 5th Annual Golf Tournament of Champions on Saturday June 3 in the Country Club at Soboba Springs. Check in time occurs at 11 a.m. Taking part in the tournament will be a number of former boxing greats like Carlos Palomino, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Paul Gonzalez, Mando Muniz and many other boxing greats. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, cart, lunch, beverages, dinner and attitude adjustment hour. Or you can just go to the dinner and social hour for $50 a person. For tickets or more information call (909) 239-3541.

Fights on television

Fri. Telefutura, 9 p.m., Vince Phillips (38-10-1) vs. Jesus Soto Karass (13-3-2)

Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Chad Dawson (22-0) vs. Eric Harding (22-3-1)

Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Diego Corrales (40-3) vs. Jose Luis Castillo (54-7-1)

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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