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Articles of 2006

Cotto Outmuscles Malignaggi at the Garden



NEW YORK – He had been bloodied early and battered late, and his swollen jaw was starting to look as if he’d just tried to ingest a softball, but Paulie Malignaggi was still talking.

Those who assumed that Miguel Cotto would prove too strong for the brash Brooklyn boxer were proven correct in the end, but the naysayers who had predicted that Saturday night’s fight would look like Sylvester chasing Tweety around a ring for twelve rounds were off the mark.

Cotto won a unanimous decision to retain his WBO junior welterweight title in the main event of Bob Arum’s Madison Square Garden card, but he had to work harder than expected to earn it. Malignaggi, for his part, earned some props for his boxing skills and admiration for his bravery.

Paulie’s oft-injured right hand held up for 12 rounds. The same, alas, could not be said for his face.

In fact, Malignaggi fought well when he could stay on his feet, but he made three trips to the canvas (only one of them was officially deemed a knockdown), and while Paulie was able to penetrate the Puerto Rican champion’s defense to land quick, precise, three-punch combinations all night long, the punches Cotto was able to land in return were far more lethal, both in intent and in effect.

The Garden show preceded Sunday's Puerto Rican Day Parade, and sent Cotto’s fans home happy. There were 14,365 on hand at the Garden. We’d guess that at least 10,000 of them were there to support Cotto. (Judging from the noise level, the rest must have been there for John Duddy.)

At the bout’s conclusion, Malignaggi had in an uncharacteristic display of humility walked across the ring to Cotto’s corner and apologized for some of the trash-talking he’d done in the run-up to the fight.

“No hard feelings,” said Paulie.

“Don’t worry,” replied Cotto. “It was part of your job.”

A clash of heads in the first round had opened up a two-inch gash over Malignaggi’s right eye, and the wound was plainly unsettling to the Brooklyn youngster.

“It’s the first time I’d ever been cut,” said Malignaggi. “The blood was getting in my eye. I had trouble adjusting.”

What happened next bothered him even more. Early in the second, both boxers threw left hooks. Malignaggi’s missed, but Cotto’s didn’t, and Malignaggi went down.

Although he had dug himself into a deep hole by losing the first four rounds, Malignaggi was able to control the action over the middle rounds, and won each of the ensuing six rounds on at least one scorecard. Cotto was able to reassert himself, and won the final two rounds to remove the issue from doubt, and by the bout’s conclusion Malignaggi’s face was looking as if it had been run over by a cement paver.

Cotto won by scores of 116-111 twice (Glenn Feldman and Peter Trematerra) and 115-112 (Don Trella). (The SweetScience also had it 116-111 for the champion.)

Even as the ringside doctors were examining Malignaggi, referee Steve Smoger (who is a lawyer by trade, but has seen enough of these things to offer an informed medical opinion), said “I think we’re looking at an orbital fracture here, as well as a possible broken jaw. [Malignaggi] fought in great pain for the last several rounds.”

“He’s the hardest puncher I’ve ever faced,” said Malignaggi after experiencing his first professional loss.

Cotto remained unbeaten at 27-0. Malignaggi, now 21-1, was taken to a New York hospital for X-rays shortly afterward. A broken orbit bone seems likely, but Malignaggi said he didn’t think the jaw was broken.

Promoter Lou DiBella said he planned to give Malignaggi the next six months off either way.

Should the jaw prove to be broken and need to be wired shut, of course, it could lead to an enforced code of silence that would keep Malignaggi from doing what he does best for a while.

John Duddy, on the other hand, had done what he does best even before he laced the gloves on Saturday night.

That would be selling tickets.

When negotiations commenced to add the popular Irishman to Garden card, Arum had offered a $75,000 purse. Duddy’s representatives had countered by offering to fight for a $10,000 guarantee – plus 50% of whatever ticket sales they generated.

A quarter of a million dollars’ worth of tickets later, Duddy wound up making over $135,000 for his night’s work.

Duddy said he knew he wasn’t going to have to look very hard to find Freddie Cuevas in their co-featured bout.

“I knew he was going to be right in front of me the whole time, so I didn’t start out as ferocious as I usually do,” said Duddy.

Instead, he simply methodically wore down the Chicago veteran, battering him until Cuevas decided to pack it in at the end of the seventh.

Duddy had bloodied Cuevas’ nose in the third and a good right uppercut in the fifth didn’t do much for Fredo’s beak, either, but an onslaught of stiff jabs punctuated by another uppercut busted him wide open in the seventh. By the end of the round Cuevas’ face looked like raw meat, and as he walked back to the corner he appeared to be giving his corner the ‘No Mas’ sign.

For official consumption it was announced that referee Arthur Mercante Jr. had stopped the bout on the advice of Cuevas manager Alfonso Ortiz, but if it wasn’t Fredo’s idea he plainly didn’t disagree.

“I caught him with some great shots, but even though they wobbled him he stood right there,” said Duddy.

Duddy’s legion of vocal supporters had arrived hoping for another quick kayo. In his last outing, the Irishman had dispatched Shelby Pudwill inside a round, but Duddy said after this one, “I thought I was more impressive in this fight than in the last one.”

Duddy improved to 17-0 with the win (Cuevas is now 25-9-1), and the promotional free agent already finds himself entertaining offers for his next outing. Duddy may appear on the August 12 Rahman-Maskaev card in Las Vegas, and Irish Ropes has a ‘hold’ on a September 29 date at the Garden Theatre, where the piece de resistance could well turn out to be a fight for the Irish middleweight title against the newly-recrowned Dubliner Jim Rock.

As it turned out, Bebe Winans’ stirring rendition of the Notre Dame Fight Song lasted longer than Tommy Z’s pro debut.

Fighting Irish football captain Tommy Zbikowski made short work of his Ohio opponent Robert Bell, finishing him off in just 49 seconds.

Half a minute into the fight, Zbikowski caught Bell with a good left hook and followed it with two right hands that drove him to a knee. Bell arose, only to have Zbikowski land a roundhouse right that nearly took his head off. Bell spun around 180 degrees and was reaching out for the ring ropes when referee Arthur Mercante caught him from behind and took him into protective custody.       

“I worked real hard for the last six or seven weeks,” said Zbikowski, who trained with Angelo Dundee in Florida for his maiden voyage. “I worked real hard to prove to everyone I can fight, that I’m not just a football player.”

Although Bobby Pacquaio’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was otherwise occupied (training Bobby’s more celebrated brother Manny for his upcoming fight against Oscar Larios), the Filipino junior lightweight followed instructions to a tee in posting a fourth-round knockout of 38-year-old former featherweight champion Kevin Kelley.

“We knew we were facing an older fighter, so the game plan was to soften him up to the body for three rounds and then go for his chin,” said manager Mike Koncz.

At the beginning of the third Pacquaio dropped Kelley with a short left hook. Although the aging warrior made it up from that one, he didn’t survive the left to the body with which Pacquaio felled him midway through the fourth. With Kelley writing on the canvas, he was counted out by referee Steve Willis at 1:28 of the round.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (26-0), the son of the great Mexican legend, kept his undefeated record intact with a second-round TKO of overmatched Kansas Aaron Drake (10-2).

Another Puerto Rican, Juan Manuel Lopez, got the audience going as he pitched a shutout in outpointing previously undefeated Mexican Sergio Mendez. Lopez is now 12-0, Mendez 5-1.

Brownsville light-heavyweight Curtis Stevens (13-0) scored a sixth-round TKO over Tennessean Eric Howard (11-12-1), while in the lone woman’s bout on the card, Canadian Nori Kariya improved to 4-1-1 with a third-round TKO of Kerri Hill (0-4).

Two other prelims ended in first-round TKO’s: New Yorker Peter (Kid Chocolate) Quillen won his fifth in as many pro outings when he stopped Eddie O’Neal (9-12-1), and Brooklynite Luis Sanchez (2-1-1) stopped Ray Gonzalez (1-1), with the end coming at the conclusion of the first.

Coney Islander Washington Hago (3-2) edged Bobby Campbell (1-1) of Bethpage, NY on a close majority decision. Two judges (John McKaie and Ron McNair) scored it 38-37 for Hago, while the third, Robin Taylor, had Campbell in front by the same margin.

A scheduled bout between Connecticut heavyweight Tony Grano and Harold Rodriguez of Taunton, Mass. was scrapped when Rodriguez failed to appear at the weigh-in.

JUNE 10. 2006

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS: Miguel Cotto, 138¼, Caugas, Puerto Rico dec. Paulie Malignaggi, 138¼, Brooklyn, NY (12) (Retains WBO title)

HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tommy Zbikowski, 214, Chicago TKO’d Robert Bell, 227¾, Akron, Ohio (1)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Curtis Stevens, 174½, Brooklyn, NY TKO’d Eric Howard, 175, Crosville, Tenn. (6)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Peter Quillin, 162½, New York KO’d Eddie O’Neal, 166, Lawton, Okla. (1)

MIDDLEWEIGHTS: John Duddy, 158½, Derry, Northern Ireland TKO’d Freddie Cuevas, 157, Chicago (7) (Retains WBC Continental Americas title)

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Luis Sanchez, 150, Brooklyn, NY TKO’d Ray Gonzalez, Seaford, NY (1)

WELTERWEIGHTS: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 146½, Culiacan, Mexico TKO’d Aaron Drake, 143, Kansas City, Kans. (2)

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Bobby Pacquaio, 129½, General Santos City, Philippines TKO’d Kevin Kelley, 128, Flushing, NY (4) (Retains WBC Continental Americas title)

Washington Hago, 131, Coney Island, dec. NY Bobby Campbell, 128, Bethpage, NY (4)

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS: Juan Manuel Lopez, 121, Rio Piedras, P.R. dec. Sergio Mendez, 120½, Mexico City, Mexico (6)

BANTAMWEIGHTS:  Nori Kariya, 117, Toronto, Canada TKO’d Kerri Hill, 118, Little Rock, Ark. (3)

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia



There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9


Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10


Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak



LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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