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Articles of 2006

Another Big Weekend As Boxing Gets Busy

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If the state of boxing can be measured by the number of quality bouts taking place each week, the sweet science is absolutely bursting with promise once more. Across the globe many significant fights took place this past week and continue in the weeks ahead.

All the way over to Italy is where the action started this week as Italian Silvio Branco claimed the WBA Light Heavyweight interim title by executing a one-sided boxing clinic against dangerous Manny Siaca. Branco, now 39 years old, was written off as a force at 175 pounds back in 2004 when he dropped consecutive fights to Fabrice Tiozzo (majority decision) and Thomas Ulrich (knockout). While Siaca boasted 18 knockouts in 20 wins and had defeated the likes of Anthony Mundine, Branco (55-8-2) peppered his opponent for much of the night to take a 119-109 decision on all cards. With six consecutive wins, all on his home turf, “Il Barbaro” now claims the interim title and sets up a likely rematch with Tiozzo, who is coming back off a layoff. The undercard in Milan saw former welterweight champion Michele Piccirillo (now 46-3-0), who lost last year to Ricardo Mayorga in his bid for the WBC 154-pound title, claim the European junior middleweight title with a TKO 11 stoppage of Luca Messi. The European bantamweight title was also up for grabs as local boy Andrea Sarritzu exacted his revenge over Ivan Pozo with a twelfth round TKO victory. The Spaniard Pozo had claimed the title by decision over Sarritzu on his home turf and now surrenders it in Sarritzu’s backyard. Sarritzu improves to 25-3-3. With the three Italians taking home titles on this night it is safe to say the fans enjoyed the evening.

Back in the US of A on Thursday night, middleweight Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson continued his development with an impressive stoppage of durable Mohammed Said. Thompson sent a message by breaking down and halting the Syrian native who had fought Antwun Echols to a Draw in his previous fight. Thompson was relentless in firing wicked hooks to the liver of Said whose body language said “no mas” after being dropped in the ninth round. Thompson, 22-1-0 (16 KOs), continues to be haunted by his lone loss by TKO in 3 rounds to Grady Brewer two years ago, but he is only 24 years old and continues to show improvement. The main event on OLN saw Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik solidify his reputation as one of the heaviest hitters at middleweight with a methodical breakdown of Bronco McKart. Pavlik, also just 24 years old, manages to pack 160 pounds into his 6’3” frame and oozes power in the ring. Firing away with searing right hands and explosive uppercuts inside, Pavlik overcame a long layoff to be the first fighter to stop former junior middle title challenger McKart. The NABF middleweight champion registered his 25th knockout in 28 bouts and remains undefeated. OLN is a welcome addition to the list of networks who broadcast boxing, the more the merrier.

Showtime offered up four fighters in their Super Middleweight tournament Friday night which gave viewers a chance to see a few of these competitors for the first time. Things started off with Henry Buchanan taking a points decision over Lucas Green-Arias of Costa Rica which put Buchanan, now 14-0-0, through to the next round. After the bout Buchanan indicated he had injured his right hand and may not make the final. Waiting there will be Jean Paul Mendy who destroyed Dallas Vargas in less than two minutes. The Frenchman Mendy, 22-0-0, has largely gone under the radar in boxing circles but the 32-year-old southpaw looks ripe to get some exposure should he emerge from the tournament. The winner of the tournament will become the IBO super middleweight champion.

ESPN Friday Night fights offered a great bout as Sultan Ibragimov was put to the test by Ray Austin in an IBF heavyweight eliminator. Many felt it was just a matter of time before Sultan added his name to the growing list of Europeans who are controlling the heavyweight division. Austin, however, was not there to be an “opponent.” A solid 10 pounds lighter than his previous fight, Austin (23-3-4, 16 KO) fought mostly at a distance and picked off the Russian as he charged in. Ibragimov weighed in at a career high 231, 11 pounds more than his previous fight, and got more than he bargained for. It was a highly entertaining fight with both men having their moments as Austin was down in the 4th and returned the favor to drop Ibragimov (19-0-1, 16 KO) in the 10th. Linemakers had installed Ibragimov as a big -500 favorite in this bout, if a rematch is forthcoming one can expect that price to be significantly lower.

It seems that every weekend titles are up for grabs in Germany and this week was no different. Klaus-Peter Kohl stable-mates Zsolt Erdei and Thomas Ulrich did battle over Erdei’s WBO light heavyweight title in the main event. After twelve rounds of action the scores indicated the champion Erdei’s dominance as he took the decision 120-108, 118-108 and 116-112. Early on Erdei used his strength and speed against the taller Ulrich and then boxed his way over the later rounds behind an educated jab and movement. Ulrich (29-3-0) put pressure on late as the fight seemed to slip out of reach while Erdei pushed for the knockout. In the end the judges got it right as the Hungarian Erdei retains his title and moves his undefeated mark to 25-0-0 (15 KOs). Earlier, Alexander Dimitrenko kept his WBO Intercontinental heavyweight trinket by dropping and stopping Chad Van Sickle in two rounds while Sinan Samil Sam guarded his WBC International heavyweight title over twelve hard-fought rounds with rugged Saul Montana.

Cassius Baloyi had the fight taken to him and his IBF junior lightweight title taken from him as Gairy St. Clair invaded South Africa and left with the jewelry. St. Clair also picked up the IBO version in winning a unanimous decision over Baloyi. Guyana-born and Sydney, Australia-based, St. Clair is 38-3-2 with 17 KOs over his 12-year career. His only losses came by decision to Diego Corrales, Vivian Harris and Leonard Dorin so “Superman” St. Clair, 31, is surely one tough nut. Baloyi was a solid -300 favorite to retain the IBF belt he had won just two months early when he dropped Manuel Medina three times on ESPN to claim the title.

HBO entertained us on Saturday with Joshua Clottey and Richard Gutierrez banging each other high and low for twelve rounds in an IBF welterweight eliminator. Both fighters were deducted points for low blows in a fight that was sometimes dirty but most often action-packed. The two traded whistling hooks to the body and uppercuts to the groin as Clottey, 29-1-0, won the battle of attrition by majority decision. Gutierrez, out of Colombia and now 19-1-0, lost for the first time as a pro but was impressive even in defeat. It is worth noting that Clottey’s lone loss was by DQ against welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir. Apparently Clottey was disqualified for head butts while leading on all three scorecards when their bout was halted in the 11th round. In the main event, Vivian Harris lived up to his “Vicious” moniker by blasting away late sub Stevie Johnston in a junior welterweight bout. A small fighter, “Lil But Bad” Johnston was merely “lil” on this night as the bigger, stronger Harris rained down with accurate right hands onto his southpaw challenger. Johnston was gallant to last seven rounds and rose swollen and beaten from four knockdowns before the one-sided affair was finally halted. Always game and putting forth a he effort, the deck was stacked against Stevie on this night.

Finally, Roy Jones Jr. believes he is back after picking apart his tailor-made opponent Prince Badi Ajamu over twelve rounds on pay-per-view. Ajamu was ripe for the picking as he was not an aggressive fighter, doesn’t hit that hard, and was slower than Jones. The WBO NABO light heavyweight title now sits around Roy’s waist after all three judges turned in 119-106 marks after Ajamu was deducted three points for repeated low blows.

On a sad note, Brazilian cruiserweight/heavyweight Rogerio Lobo was shot to death during an armed robbery at his restaurant in Sao Paulo on Friday night. Lobo was 41-17-0 with 35 knockouts and was always game having fought many notable opponents such as Kali Meehan, Timor Ibragimov, Michael Moorer, Kelvin Davis, Owen Beck and Vincenzo Cantatore. Lobo fought on Wednesday of this week winning by knockout in the first round. He was 35 years old.

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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