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Articles of 2006

Expectations, David Tua and Gotham Boxing



NEW YORK – Over the past two decades Cedric Kushner has carved out his own specialized niche in the boxing world. Whether he’s called them ‘Heavyweight Explosions’ or, in the case of Wednesday night’s card at the Manhattan Center, “Heavyweight Extravaganzas,” the South African-born promoter has turned collecting second-tier heavyweights into a veritable art form.

Expectations are understandably modest. The widespread assumption is that if these heavyweights were that good they’d probably be with another promoter in the first place. Sometimes, even the heavyweights themselves appear to share this view, the most obvious case being Hasim Rahman, who knocked out Lennox Lewis to win the heavyweight title only to leave Kushner in the lurch, having been lured away by Don King and the infamous duffel bag full of cash a few short weeks later.

But Kushner’s shows provide a certain comfort zone for both would-be contenders and those on whose careers the sun has begun to set. And sometimes, as in the case of David Tua, both.

Kushner promoted Tua early in his career and managed to hook up with him again once the New Zealand veteran began to descend the ladder. His appearance against Illinois veteran Edward Gutierrez on Wednesday’s Gotham Boxing show was Tua’s first outing since he was life-and-death in edging Cisse Salif nine months ago in Florida.

By now you’d have to say that, like water seeking its own level, Tua has pretty firmly established his position in the heavyweight pecking order, which is to say that he couldn’t beat Lennox Lewis or Chris Byrd, but he can beat Michael Moorer and Fres Oquendo.

What does this make him, then? Well, for the moment it made him a Cedric Kushner heavyweight. It wasn’t that long ago that Tua was headlining against Lewis in a title fight at the Mandalay Bay, and now here he was returning to New York as the opening act for an ESPN2 card.

Of course, Shannon Briggs was originally supposed to be boxing on this card as well, but Briggs was abruptly snatched up as the opponent for Wladimir Klitschko in a WBC title bout at the Garden this fall, and wasn’t about to take any chances, even though Klitschko fight is four months away.

“What if I hurt my hand or something against one of these guys?” Briggs grinned slyly as he explained his defection.

But if Briggs can be rehabilitated for a title fight, why not David Tua?

Beset by managerial problems, Tua took a two-year hiatus from the ring after his 2003 draw with Hasim Rahman. He returned to New Zealand, got married, and, he says, “got away from the game for a while.”

Always short and squat as heavyweights go, Tua has the build of a smallish sumo wrestler. When he removed his robe just before the Gutierrez fight, one was tempted to note that the new Mrs. Tua  must be an excellent cook, but the 245 he weighed for this one is pretty much in line with what he’s weighed for the past half-dozen years, going back to the Lewis fight.

Tua came out against Gutierrez looking like a man determined not to expend any unnecessary energy, flicking away with jabs as he assumed a leisurely pursuit of his retreating foe.

In the second round, Tua caught up with Gutierrez long enough to send him down with a left hook, but, almost surprisingly, let him off the hook. Tua has historically been a great finisher (ask John Ruiz about that), but on this night he didn’t appear to be in any great hurry.

“I wanted to stay patient and give myself a chance work on some of the things I’ve been doing in the gym,” Tua would say later.

Like the combination that ended the fight?

“How did you know?” he replied with a grin.

Late in the fourth, Tua lashed out to thud a hard left hook off the side of Gutierrez’s head, and in the split-second his foe stood there wobbling, followed it in almost the same motion with a hard left to the body.

Gutierrez sank to all fours and remained there while Mike Ortega counted to ten.

“I don’t know if you saw that (Salif) fight in Florida last year, but this was like night and day compared to that,” said matchmaker Jim Borzell.

It was the third straight loss for Gutierrez (15-3-1), who had previously dropped back-to-back decisions to J.D. Chapman after going undefeated through his first 16 fights.

So where does Tua go from here? He’s only 33. He’s 45-3-1, with the losses coming at the hands of Lewis, Byrd, and Ike Ibeabuchi, none of whom he is likely to cross paths with again. Beating Edward Gutierrez might not prove a lot, but for our money Tua did demonstrate that he may have more left than previously suspected, in which case Cedric probably ought to start looking over his shoulder right now.

Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward knew that he was rolling the dice by testing his undefeated young cruiserweight Johnathon Banks against the wily Cuban veteran Eliseo Castillo, and a couple of minutes into the main event of the Wednesday Night Fights telecast Manny may have been rethinking his decision.

Twice in the first round Castillo penetrated Banks’ defenses to put him on the floor. A short, crisp right sent Banks tumbling to the canvas a minute into the fight, and shortly thereafter Castillo clocked the Kronk fighter with another right that sent him down face-first.

Although Banks appeared to be in a world of trouble, he insisted later that he had not been hurt, and the balance of the contest would seem to bear that out. Banks won the next two rounds on our card, anyway, and then in late in the fourth, he stung Castillo with a left hook and than waded in to flatten him with a solid left-right combination. Castillo slumped into a neutral corner, where he was counted out by Eddie Cotton at 1:12 of the round.

“It was one of the most satisfying wins of my career as a trainer,” said Steward afterward. “Castillo was bigger and more experienced.”

Indeed, Castillo had campaigned mostly as a heavyweight of late, and had lost only to Wladimir Klitschko, but Banks, now 12-0, said he was “never worried,” despite the first-round pummeling.

“During training camp I dreamed several times that I got knocked down in this fight,” he revealed. (Or did he dream in training camp that he’d get knocked down several times?)

“My mother, my brother, and my sister were all here,” said Banks after the impressive win. “I wasn’t going to lose this fight.”

The loss was his first-ever to another cruiserweight for Castillo, now 20-2-1.

Peter Quillin, the unbeaten New York middleweight who has appropriated the time-honored handle “Kid Chocolate,” starched his Ohio opponent William Prieto with a right hand, knocking him out at 1:06 of the first.

Happily for Kid Chocolate, his swing bout was unexpectedly promoted to the ESPN2 telecast after Tua finished off Gutierrez early.

“I feel like I was made for television,” said Quillen, who improved to 6-0. (Prieto is now 2-1.)

Jorge Teron’s fight against Florida journeyman Armando Cordova also made it onto the telecast, and the Bronx lightweight prevailed with a unanimous if untidy decision, winning 58-56 three times (John McCaie, Matt Ruggero, Don Trella) to remain unbeaten at 11-0-1. Cordova slipped to 21-26-2.

Brooklyn lightweight Cindy Serrano was spotting Tawnyah Freeman five pounds and several inches in height, but more than offset the physical disparity with her advantages in speed. Often landing two and three punches to Freeman’s one, Serrano counterpunched so effectively that as the bout wore on Freeman became increasingly reluctant to pull the trigger.

Although there were no knockdowns, Serrano won with relative ease, with George DeGabriel and Ruggero both scoring it 59-55, McCaie 60-54. (The Sweet Science card also had it a shutout at 60-54.) Serrano is now 11-0-1, Freeman 7-3.

Preceded into the ring for his pro debut by a marching color guard of fellow gyrenes in dress blues, Yonkers heavyweight Jon (The Fighting Marine) Schneider marched back out a minute and five seconds later, having laid waste to his Milwaukee victim Eddie Kimbrough (0-2). The two novice heavyweights traded nonstop leather while it lasted, but when Schneider caught Kimbrough with a solid right and followed it up with a left-right combination, he put him away for the night.

Moments later, The Fighting Cop picked up where The Fighting Marine had left off, as another Yonkers boxer, super-middleweight Bryant Pappas, decked Kentuckian James Durham four times before Ortega rescued The Louisville Slugger a second before the first round would have expired. Pappas is now 4-0, while Durham fell to 0-2.

The walk-out bout saw Queens middleweight “Mean” Joe Greene go to 11-0 with a second-round TKO of Omaha southpaw Damone Wright (17-26-2). Greene floored Wright twice in the first round, and then early in the second dropped him with a left hook delivered with such force that Cotton dispensed with a count and waved it off (at 0:29 of the round) the instant Wright hit the canvas.

JULY 26, 2006

HEAVYWEIGHTS: David Tua, 245½, South Auckland, N.Z. KO’d Edward Guitierrez, 227, Oak Lawn, Ill. (4)

John Schneider, 197½, Yonkers, NY KO’d Eddie Kimbrough, 230, Milwaukee, Wisc. (1)

CRUISERWEIGHTS: Johnathon Banks, 197, Detroit KO’d Eliseo Castillo, 196, Havana, Cuba (4)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Bryant Pappas, 164, Yonkers, NY TKO’d James Durham, 164, Louisville, Ky. (1)

MIDDLEWEIGHTS:  Joe Green, 159, Jamaica, NY TKO’d Damone Wright, 159, Omaha, Neb. (2)

Peter Quillin, 160, New York KO’d William Prieto, 160, Cincinnati, Ohio (1)

LIGHTWEIGHTS: Cindy Serrano, 130, Brooklyn, NY dec. Tawnyah Freeman, 135, Fort Smith, Ark. (6)

Jorge Teron, 135, Bronx, NY dec. Armando Cordoba, 135, Darien, Panama (6)

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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