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Articles of 2006

Boxing Greetings From Dublin

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DUBLIN, IRELAND – The EMT crews from Medilink Ambulance Service assigned to Ireland’s National Stadium Saturday night had a busier-than-anticipated evening.

First, a would-be gatecrasher hoping to save himself the 50-Euro price of admission attempted to scale a back wall, fell off, and broke both legs.

This unfortunate fellow, it should be noted, had merely been engaging in a time-honored Dublin custom dating back (that we know of) to the time of the 1972 Muhammad Ali-Blue Lewis fight at Croke Park, when nearly as many spectators came in over the barricades as actually paid their way through the turnstiles.

Not an hour later, a burly security guard working the door between the television truck parked outside and the RTE TV crew’s broadcast position attempted to deny admission to Steve Collins.

The former super-middleweight champion was supposed to be working the telecast of the Bernard Dunne-David Martinez main event. Collins had left his credential inside, and the bouncer claimed he hadn’t recognized him.

The security man more or less confirmed this when he made the mistake of interrupting the heated debate by punching Collins in the chest. The Celtic Warrior responded with a left uppercut to the jaw, scattering a few bouncer teeth here and there.

Collins, in any case ripped open his left hand against his antagonist’s incisors, and after emergency care by the ringside physician, Dr. Joe McKeever, had to be whisked away to the James Connolly Casualty Center for antibiotic and tetanus shots, as well as five stitches on his paw.

“It was the same as if he’d been bitten,” explained Dr. McKeever, who ordered the precautionary trip to the hospital. “A human bite can be a filthy, nasty thing.”

Collins had to be replaced on the TV set by 1992 Irish Olympic gold medalist Michael Carruth. And Brian Peters’ seven-bout card had barely started.

Many boxing insiders felt going in that Martinez had the style and skills to give Dunne more trouble than he’d bargained for in their featherweight bout, but it quickly became apparent that the undefeated Irishman was more than adequate on both counts.

Not only was Dunne far quicker, he also possessed a significant reach advantage. Martinez, who had opened up attempting to stay outside Dunne’s jabbing range, couldn’t land his own without rushing in to closer quarters, and paid for it each time he did.

“I have pretty quick hands myself,” said a rueful Martinez afterward, but they were no match for Dunne’s. Dunne (now 21-0) was able to use his superior speed and defensive skills to land whenever Martinez got near, without danger of any significant retaliation.

After a few rounds Dunne was so confident that he frequently dropped his hands to his side, daring Martinez to hit him, and if he gave the appearance of taunting his overmatched opponent, he compounded it by jawing at the frustrated Albuquerque boxer, and eventually drew a stern warning from Belfast referee David Irving.

“He should have minded his own business,” said Dunne later. “It was a private conversation.”

As the bout wore on, Dunne landed a multitude of hard right-hand body shots, and was landing his jab so effectively that Martinez’ right eye was beginning to close. By the eighth it had become so one-sided that Martinez trainer Sergio Chavez climbed up onto the ring apron, signaling Irving to stop it. The end came 57 seconds into the round. Martinez, now 15-2-1, accepted the defeat gracefully.

It was the fifth fight in nine months for Dunne since relocating back to Ireland. Peters plans to give the young fighter the rest of the summer off, and is pointing for a possible title challenge to European 122-pound champ Michael Hunter in the fall.

A more immediate reward could be forthcoming for Jim Rock, the 34-year-old Dubliner who regained the Irish middleweight championship with a seventh-round stoppage of late substitute Kevin Phelan to set the stage for a collision with countryman John Duddy Sept. 29 at New York’s Madison Square Garden Theatre.

Rock (27-4) had previously owned the Irish title, but relinquished it last year, allowing English-born Matthew Macklin to fight for the vacant championship.  Macklin returned the favor. Scheduled to fight for the British title next month, he gave up the Irish crown, allowing Rock and Lee Murtagh to battle for it on the Dublin show.

On the eve of the bout, Murtagh fell out in a contretemps over the contracted weight. (Both he and Rock were safely inside the 160-pound divisional limit, but both boxers were marginally over the 159 stipulated in the contract.) The dispute was resolved, so to speak, when Peters had Murtagh evicted from his hotel room Friday night, and summoned Phelan, whose credentials were somewhat suspect on at least two counts:

One was that his 16-fight pro record included six losses, including one just a week earlier in Glasgow, where he had been outpointed by Barry Lee. The other was the sum of his Irish ancestry consisted of one great-grandfather born in Tipperary, which might have qualified him to play soccer for Ireland in the Jack Charlton era but probably wouldn’t have been sufficient to claim the title had he won it.

Boxing Union of Ireland president Mel Christle decided that the bout would be “provisionally recognized as being for the vacant Irish middleweight title, pending Phelan providing the necessary documentation (verifying) his qualifications to contest an Irish championship.”

Rock, in any case, rendered the point moot with his workmanlike win. Although Phelan battled gamely in the early stages, a fifth round Rock uppercut that sent blood spattering from his nose appeared to take the fight right out of him.

By the sixth, Rock was hammering Phelan so effortlessly that at the conclusion of the round, referee Sean Russell approached Phelan’s corner with the warning that Kevin was taking an awful lot of punches and that he was considering stopping it.

Manager/trainer George Carmen successfully implored the referee for “one more round,” and, said Russell, “he was doing all right, but then right before the end of the round he got hit with a good uppercut. I looked over at the corner and (Carmen) was giving me the sign to stop it.”

The stoppage and the bell arrived almost simultaneously, although we’d probably give the nod to the bell.

Regaining a designation he has previously held on two previous occasions could be of more than slight consequence to Rock. Duddy manager, Eddie McLoughlin, was in attendance in Dublin, as was Irish Ropes matchmaker Jim Borzell, both with an eye toward making a Rock-Duddy fight for the Irish title at the Theatre this fall.

Duddy first has to get by Freddy Cuevas in his co-featured bout on the Cotto-Malignaggi undercard next Saturday night, and may fight a tune-up underneath Hasim Rahman-Oleg Maskaev in August as well.

“I’d be delighted to come over there,” said Rock. “John Duddy seems to be very much in demand at the moment, and I haven’t got too much time left, so it would be a big occasion if it comes off.”

Another new Irish champion who will definitely be fighting in America is Oisin Fagan, who added the Irish 140-pound title to the Oklahoma state lightweight championship he already owned.

Fagan, a Dublin-born Oklahoma schoolteacher, went to the US on a soccer scholarship and has only been boxing for the past three years. He was originally to have fought for Peter McDonagh’s Irish lightweight championship on the Dublin bill.

McDonagh, you might recall, won that title under somewhat controversial circumstances back in January when his apparently superior opponent Michael Gomez abruptly quit in the fifth round after winning the first four. McDonagh had lost four in a row going into that fight, but had prepared for Gomez with the assistance of the spoon-bending Israeli psychic Uri Geller.

Amid reports of a betting coup, Christle initiated a full-scale investigation, but, unable to prove wrongdoing, released the purses of both contestants.

Citing a knee injury, McDonagh withdrew less than two weeks before his scheduled date with Fagan, prompting Fagan to wonder “Why didn’t he just get Uri Geller to fix it?”

Peters managed to have the Irish light welterweight disinterred, and procured Jeff Thomas, who was Dutch-born and lives in England, but does have an Irish mother, as an opponent.

Fagan is a busy action fighter, and while it lasted he simply wore Thomas down with his onslaught. Thomas went down for the first time in the fifth, a delayed reaction after Fagan caught him with a left hook to the ribs followed by at least three more less lethal punches.

Another knockdown in the seventh suggested that the end wasn’t far away.

“I used that Ricky Hatton move,” recalled Fagan, demonstrating a quick one-two followed by a quick sidestep to the left and a left to the body, fight up the middle.

“That punch tore the guts right out of him,” said Fagan.

Thomas sagged to the canvas, but managed to struggle to his feet to beat referee Emil Tiedt’s count. When Fagan moved back in and landed another right, Thomas listed slowly toward the floor yet again, and Tiedt halted the bout at 2:21 of the round.

The school term at the Columbus Elementary School ended just a week ago, and Fagan plans to spend the summer vacation at his Portmarnock home before returning to Oklahoma. The new Irish champion is now 16-3, Thomas 9-6-1.

In an earlier bout, Duddy’s erstwhile teammate and sometime sparring partner, middleweight James Moore improved to 7-0 with a fourth-round TKO of Frenchman Salaheddine Sarhani (2-7). A three-time Irish national amateur champion fighting as a pro in his homeland for the first time, Moore punished Sarhani with a relentless body attack throughout. Two rights to the body put him down in the third, and the same punch sent him to his knees again in the fourth. It was plain enough that Sarhani wanted no more, and Tiedt didn’t even finish his count.

In other action, Dublin featherweight David Griffin (23-3) outpointed Bulgarian Wladimir Borov (16-27-1), while England-based junior welter Andrew Murray (7-0) stopped his French opponent, Francois (Tony) Jourda (3-1).

The walk-out bout saw London lightweight Andrew Wallace (4-0) squeak by Polish journeyman Dariusz Snarski (16-24-1) by a 39-38 margin in a contest abbreviated to four rounds. (Had it gone the originally scheduled six, the bout could well have gone the other way.)

NATIONAL STADIUM
DUBLIN, IRELAND
June 3, 2006

FEATHERWEIGHTS: Bernard Dunne, 123½, Dublin, Ireland TKO’d David Martinez, 123¼, Albuquerque, NM (8)

Paul Griffin, 125½, Dublin, Ireland dec. Wladimir Borov, 128, Sofia, Bulgaria (6)

MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Jim Rock, 160, Dublin TKO’d Lee Murtagh, 159¼, Leeds, England (7) (Wins vacant Irish title)

James Moore, 155½, Arklow, Ireland TKO’d Salaheddine Sarhini, 155¼, Nantes, France (4)

JUNIOR WELTERS; Oisin Fagan, 137½, Dublin, Ireland TKO’d Jeff Thomas, 137, Blackpool, England (7) (Wins vacant Irish title.)

Andrew Murray, 136, St. Anne’s, England TKO’d Francois Jourda, 137 Nancy, France, France (3)

LIGHTWEIGHTS: Andrew Wallace, 133½, London, England dec. Dariiusz Snarski, 135, Bialystock, Poland (4)

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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