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Articles of 2006

Boxing News: Karmazin Ready For Spinks

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NEW YORK (June 2, 2006) – With a nickname like “Made In Hell,” one might expect Roman Karmazin to be a foul-mouthed, motorcycle-driving, heavily tattooed, long-haired ex-con with a rap sheet from here to Alcatraz. Conversely, Karmazin, who will risk his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior middleweight title against former undisputed 147-pound boss Cory Spinks in a special edition of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Saturday, July 8 (10 p.m. ET/PT), says he is anything but confrontational.

“I will fight you and never back down,” Karmazin said through an interpreter. “But, I have never started a fight in my life. It is not my nature.”

Karmazin has an unusual background for a prizefighter, especially one known for a tough and rugged, no-nonsense style. “I started with gymnastics when I was eight and I enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “At 14, I decided to try boxing just to be able to protect myself better. I quickly realized I liked it, too.”

Due to the demands of each sport, Karmazin was faced with a choice. He opted for boxing.

“It really was not much of a decision,” Karmazin said. “(But) I definitely believe gymnastics has helped me a lot in boxing. Everybody says I am well coordinated. I think that results from my gymnastics background. It does not take me long to learn a new combo or a move. I owe that to my gymnastics, too.”

In a near-flawless performance in his last start, Karmazin spoiled the much-ballyhooed coming out party of Kassim Ouma. Karmazin won a shockingly easy 12-round decision (118-109, 117-109 and 116-110) on July 14, 2005, in Las Vegas to take Ouma’s IBF title going away.

Karmazin simply outclassed Ouma, who barely got off a punch in the initial two rounds. Ouma, a superstar-in-the-making, got knocked off his feet twice in the third round. He hit the canvas from a wicked kidney punch early in the round and was up quickly. But he was soon headed for more punishment. After a series of punches put the Ugandan near the ropes, Karmazin landed a crisp right lead to the head that dropped Ouma again.

“I told everyone that Ouma was a good fighter, but not a superstar,” said Karmazin, who used his superior reach and a sharp right hand to keep Ouma off-balance.

Karmazin may have tired a bit in the middle rounds as a result of the many power punches he threw earlier and Ouma rallied. However, Karmazin finished strongly in the final three rounds to regain control and leave no doubt.

“My prior fight with Keith Holmes was much tougher,” Karmazin said of a 12-round majority decision over the former two-time world middleweight champion on April 2, 2005, in Worcester, Mass. “Ouma was a tough fighter, but he was not as good as me.

“Everything turned out as I expected. Ouma has a lot of good qualities. He has great endurance and keeps up the punch. But as a former soldier, everything is very straight with him. He is predictable and easy to get around. I hit him very hard, but it was as though I was hitting a soccer ball. I cannot even imagine how he made it to the end of the match.”

Karmazin always was tough enough growing up, but he never initiated fights. Nor did he back down. “In the Russian army, I had to fight a couple times,” he said, “but that turned out to be enough.”

One of his first scuffles came in ‘uchebka, a six-month exercise that compares to an army boot camp. It is where Russian boys begin their military service.

“The guy offended me badly and I broke his jaw in two places,” Karmazin said. “The second fight happened in the company where I went after ‘uchebka.’ In the middle of the night, a guy everybody was afraid of felt like fighting somebody and he choose me. He was not going to fight me actually. He was going to beat me up. I was a young guy in my first year of service. He was a soldier nearing the end of his time.

“In the Russian army, there is an unwritten rule where a guy in my position has no right to touch a superior, much less retaliate, but I could not just let him beat me up. So, I hit him. I threw and landed only one punch, but it hurt him really badly. I thought I would go to prison, but I did not because it was his fault. After that, I lived a rather quiet life in the army.”

Karmazin also had his share of pavement punchouts before and after military service. “I had to fight a few times in the streets, but they never lasted long,” he said. “They were all one-punch fights. I did not start any of those fights. I have never been a bully.”

A native of Kuztniesk, Russia, Karmazin turned pro at age 23 on Aug. 17, 1996, in Moscow. He won his first four outings by knockout before boxing to an eight-round draw with Javier Martinez on Dec. 20, 1996. Karmazin then bounced back to win 25 in a row. One of his toughest fights during the winning streak came against Robert Frazier, whom he defeated June 9, 1998, on an eight-round decision.

“The Frazier fight was my 15th in 22 months since turning pro,” Karmazin said. “I was physically and mentally exhausted. I had not had a proper rest for three years. I was winning, but not like I wanted. It started messing with my head. I began to train like a maniac. I could not sleep and was constantly thinking what I did wrong in past fights. I would wake up in the middle of the night and start training and go to bed only when I was totally exhausted. There was no end to it. I even started having problems with my family. I do not blame them at all. Who would want to live with such a character?”

“By the Frazier fight,” he continued, “just the sight of gloves made me sick. I was not myself that night and boxed him like a robot, which is not me.”

Karmazin did not fight for three-and-one-half months following the Frazier bout. The respite did as much good for him emotionally as physically.

“I worked on cars and forgot all about boxing,” Karmazin said. “I learned some perspective, that life should not be limited to boxing. If you stop seeing other things, you fail as a boxer. You should train very hard, but when you leave the gym, you should switch to other things. Otherwise, you get burned out inside.”

A consistent puncher with an unusual style – he holds his left hand low – Karmazin made his United States debut against Anthony Fields (14-1 going in) on Jan. 29, 2000, and recorded a second-round TKO.

“Prior to the Fields fight, I met a lot of Russians who thought I was going to lose,” Karmazin said. “They said Fields was very good and would knock me out. I did not think so. I was so calm before the fight that one might have thought I was preparing to play chess. Fields landed one good shot and I started seeing stars, but it only made me angry.”

The lengthy winning streak ended when he suffered his only defeat on a controversial 12-round decision to Javier Castillejo in a bout for the WBC interim 154-pound crown on July 27, 2002, in Madrid, Spain. In a close affair, the local favorite triumphed by the scores 115-113 twice and 116-111.

Karmazin fought to a no-decision against former title contender Jason Papillion on May 15, 2004. The bout ended when Papillion was cut by an accidental headbutt in the fourth round.

In his next outing, Karmazin outpointed Holmes 116-112, 115-113 and 114 apiece to earn the shot at Ouma. Karmazin’s best round came in the 11th when he hurt Holmes with a short, straight right. Holmes managed to hang on and survive the round without going down.

Karmazin is looking forward to defending his IBF title against Spinks.

“I like challenges and fighting in his backyard is a challenge,” Karmazin said. “I only want the opportunity to fight the best. I am ready for anybody. I made a promise to myself before the Ouma fight that if I lost, I would retire. I feel I have the weapons to defeat anybody, but Spinks is first in line. I will not look past him. I cannot wait for July 8.’’

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

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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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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