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Articles of 2006

Murphy’s Law Headlines Broadway Boxing

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NEW YORK — Unlike, say, NFL halftime shows, boxing cards rarely play out the way they were planned on the drawing board, but when it came to Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing card at the Manhattan Center Thursday night, nothing was going according to plan.

Sometime between Tuesday’s press conference and Wednesday’s weigh-in, Dmitriy Salita’s main event opponent James Wayka was arrested and tossed into a Minnesota jail for failure to pay child support, and when the bell rang for the first bout Thursday night Shad Howard, the substitute who had agreed to replace the incarcerated Wayka on short notice, was still in an airplane somewhere over Indiana, his flight to New York having been delayed by weather conditions in the Midwest.

Howard’s tardy arrival at LaGuardia was actually a blessing in disguise for DiBella, who found himself entertaining so many questions about the missing opponent that few thought to ask how a 31-year-old man coming off five straight losses could be fighting for a WBC ‘Youth’ title on the undercard.

But as a British heavyweight named Shakespeare once pointed out, all’s well that ends well. Not only did Howard arrive in time to serve as the foil for Salita’s first convincing win in nearly a year, but Marcos Primera climbed off the floor following a devastating sixth-round low blow to fashion a stunning upset of previously unbeaten Curtis Stevens in the co-feature.

After Salita had struggled mightily in his last two bouts – a very dubious draw against Ramon Montana on the March 18 Hasim Rahman-James Toney undercard in Atlantic City and a closer-than-it-should-have-been December decision over Robert Frankel in New York – the decision was made to replace trainer Hector Roca with Harry Keitt.

Until the past couple of years Keitt was primarily an amateur trainer, but his reputation, acquired through his work with Irish middleweights John Duddy and James Moore, has grown. Keitt had actually worked with Salita as an amateur five years ago, coaching him to a win in an under-19 tournament, and hoped to restore his confidence by taking him back to the basics.

How much difference Keitt made in the corner this time may remain unlearned, but Salita’s handlers had to like the result.

Salita easily controlled the first two rounds against his jet-lagged opponent, but was rocked by a good right hand in the third. Then, in the fourth, referee Pete Santiago, who had already warned the Star of David once after a punch had strayed below the beltline, briefly brought Howard back into the bout when he docked Salita a point for a punch off the break – a right to the body that had sent Howard down.

Salita pressed on with an effective, two-fisted body attack, though at this point the tactic might have seemed unwise and even a bit dangerous, given the fact that he was already on thin ice with the referee. Many of Salita’s more effective punches appeared to land just above the belt-line, and Howard appeared on more than one occasion to look beseechingly in Santiago’s direction.

Salita landed at least one punch to the head, though, because during the sixth Santiago abruptly called ‘time’ and led Howard back to the corner, where he summoned the ringside physician, Dr. Linda Dahl, to examine the dazed Howard.

Blood was oozing from Shad’s left ear, but before the doctor could fully examine the wound Howard’s cornermen were signaling Santiago to stop it. The end officially came at 1:42 of the sixth. Salita is now 25-0-1. Howard 12-8-3, but at least Shad got a bunch of frequent flyer miles out of the deal.

At least Howard had an excuse for barely showing up. For five rounds it appeared that Primera’s intent was to barely go through the motions, collect his paycheck, and get out of town with his sixth loss on the trot.

But in the sixth, the Venezuelan apparently wearied of serving as a punching bag for a man ten years his junior and for the first time appeared to be interested in fighting. Firing away with wide hooks and straight jabs, he backed Stevens into the ropes and was in the midst of mounting a serious attack when Stevens, in desperation, lashed out with a short right that caught Primera squarely in the protective cup.

Marcos pitched forward and proceeded to roll around the floor in agony for over a minute. Referee Randy Neumann ruled the low blow to have been ‘unintentional’ – it’s hard to imagine that it could have been – and deducted a single point, although he could have taken two or even disqualified Stevens.

Stevens’ Brownsville supporters howled that Primera’s display of pain was an act, but as it turned out it was all too real: The punch to the nuts actually did considerable damage, and after the fight Primera was taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for what Dr. Dahl delicately described as a “traumatic hernia.”

Since Primera’s swoon had carried well beyond the bell ending the sixth, the bout resumed in the seventh after an appropriate period of recovery for the Venezuelan. Stevens once again asserted command during this stanza, and, leading by seven, four, and three points on the official cards, appeared to have the bout in hand when the final round commenced.

A minute into the eighth, Primera ignored his discomfort long enough to wade right into Stevens, and then surprised him by connecting with a solid right uppercut. Stunned, Stevens slid to the floor, but was up to take Neumann’s mandatory eight-count.

But when action resumed only one man was fighting, and that was Primera. As Primera charged ahead, desperately throwing punches, Stevens not only didn’t fight back, he made no attempt to defend himself, leaving Neumann little choice but to take him into protective custody at 1:24 of the round.

Neumann still had Stevens in his embrace when the first cup of ice came sailing into the ring from the Brownsville rooting section, and bedlam shortly ensued. Outraged by the stoppage, Stevens attempted to charge after the referee, and was joined in his pursuit by several members of his posse. When Neumann finally took his leave of the premises, it was under escort from security personnel.

“I have no problem with the stoppage,” said DiBella. “The punches weren’t doing that much damage, but Curtis should have just grabbed him and he didn’t. When he doesn’t fight back, he doesn’t leave the referee much choice.”

The promoter has already proposed an October rematch, but that decision may have to be based upon the recuperative powers of Primera’s substantial cojones.

When Primera was taken away in the ambulance, by the way, he departed without the WBC Youth Belt. Joe Dwyer, Los Bandidos’ supervisor, explained that Marcos hadn’t actually been eligible to win it anyway, having been nine years over the age limit.

Does that mean Jose Suliaman will offer to refund the sanctioning fee?

It was the first loss for Stevens, now 13-1, while Primera improved to 20-15-2.

Former Boston College defensive lineman – and reigning New York State heavyweight champion – Derrick Rossy earned a unanimous decision over Flint (Mich.) journeyman Demetrice King (9-14) to remain unbeaten at 12-0.

King had enjoyed a good second round that appeared to have brought him back into the fight, and had bloodied Rossy’s nose early in the third, only to have Rossy deck him with an explosive short right. King hit the deck with such force that it sounded as if the 262-pound opponent had been dropped from the ceiling.

Rossy, as it turned out, broke the middle finger on his right hand in delivering the knockdown punch, but he battled on to win handily by scores of 59-54 (Bob Gilson) and 58-55 (Steve Epstien and Luis Rivera) twice. The Sweet Science also scored it 58-55 for Rossy.

This was also supposed to be the evening Prenice Brewer took Broadway by storm, but Roberto Acevedo had other ideas. Brewer, the National Golden Gloves champion, was making his professional debut, as was Acevedo, a rugged southpaw from Moca, Puerto Rico, and while Brewer had a clear edge in speed, Acevedo was repeatedly able to tag him with an excellent repertoire of counterpunches.

Although Acevedo was cut along the left eyebrow early in the second round, it became apparent that this one was likely to go right down to the wire, and it did, with the judges splitting three ways: Epstein had it 39-37 for Brewer, Rivera had the same score in Acevedo’s favor, while Robert Perez had it even at 38-38, as did the SweetScience card.

The verdict allowed both participants to remain undefeated as they moved on toward their next bout – which, it turns out, will be against each other. Before the ring had even been cleared, DiBella had secured the agreement of the participants to meet in a rematch on his next Broadway Boxing card, Sept. 20 at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

In a women’s bout, Bronx featherweight Maureen Shea ran her unbeaten (officially, anyway; a May loss to Kim Colbert was expunged after the latter tested positive for marijuana) record to 6-0 with a one-sided victory over Canadian Olga Heron (4-6). Both Gilson and Epstein had it a shutout for Shea at 60-54, while Perez gave Heron a round in scoring it 59-54.

Brooklyn junior middleweight Jamelle Howard had an easy night of it, scoring a first-round TKO over an overmatched Delbert Somerville, who was rescued by  Santiago 2:25 into their scheduled four-rounder. Howard is now 2-0, Somerville 1-1.

* * *

BROADWAY BOXING
GRAND BALLROOM, MANHATTAN CENTER
July 20, 2006

WELTERWEIGHTS: Dmitriy Salita,146, Odessa, Ukraine TKO’d Shad Howard, 146, Russellville, Mo. (6)

HEAVYWEIGHTS: Derrick Rossy, 248, Medford, NY dec. Demetrice King, 262, Flint, Mich. (6)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Marcos Primera, 164½, Puerto Cabello, Venez. TKO’d Curtis Stevens, 164½, Brooklyn, NY (8)
JUNIOR MIDDLES: Jamelle Hamilton, 152, Brooklyn, NY TKO’d Delbert Sommerville, 150, Akron, Ohio (1)

JUNIOR WELTERS: Roberto Acevedo, 136, Moca, PR drew with Prenice Brewer, 136½, Cleveland, Ohio (4)

FEATHERWEIGHTS: Maureen Shea, 128, Bronx, NY dec. Olga Heron, 126, Toronto, Ont. (6)

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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