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Articles of 2006

The Capitol of Italian Boxing



Milan is famous mainly as a shopping town. While it’s true that Milan offers some of the best shops in the world, it’s also true that you can find the same things in New York and Miami where they cost much less. Milan is also known for its historical sites, like the Duomo Cathedral and many other churches, the Brera Museum which has paintings of unparalleled beauty, the opera theater La Scala, the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie where you can admire Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper, the 600-years-old Sforzesco Castle, the ancient streets in the Navigli neighbourhood, and the world famous San Siro soccer stadium.

Not many people know that Milan is also the capitol of Italian boxing. The very first world championship held in Italy was organized in Milan on March 19, 1933. IBU bantamweight champion Panama Al Brown won on points against local favorite Domenico Bernasconi. In case you are wondering about the IBU, it was just one of many sanctioning bodies active in the 1930s. Too many times we’ve read that alphabet organizations are a problem of today’s boxing, but they always existed. On August 25, 1931 Panama Al Brown faced Pete Sanstol in Montreal for the NBA, NYSAC and CBF (Canadian Boxing Federation) world bantamweight titles. The IBU crown wasn’t on the line. Brown won by split decision in front of 12,300 fans.

When Brown came to Milan, he had a record of 105-12-10 while Domenico Bernasconi’s rèsumè stood at 39-15-5. Brown was more experienced and had faced a long list of quality opponents, but this made no difference to the fans who really believed that Bernasconi could score an upset. The atmosphere was so hot that 200 militia officers were stationed in front of the Palazzo dello Sport to prevent disorder among the crowd. That’s another thing that never changed. Milanese people are very quiet, seldom smile, spend most of their time working hard, but get wild when they attend a sports event. Throwing objects into the ring is a classic. Last July 27, somebody seated in the V.I.P. section launched a crash-helmet into the ring because he didn’t like the fight between Silvio Branco and Manny Siaca. This change of personality is also evident during soccer games. When police officers make arrests, they discover that the vandals are lawyers, doctors, brokers… with no criminal record. They all tell the same story: It’s the stadium which turns us into animals.

Going back to the point, Milan kept hosting world title fights and drawing record crowds. Duilio Loi, Nino Benvenuti and Sandro Mazzinghi were so big that their matches were held at San Siro soccer stadium. On September 1, 1960 over 61,900 people watched Duilio Loi defeat on points NBA light welterweight champion Carlos Ortiz.

Those huge numbers aren’t possible anymore for a couple of reasons. In 1960, the Italian athletes capable of winning the world title could be counted on one hand. The national soccer team, for instance, was far from being competitive. Besides, there was only state television and everybody watched it in bars (pay-per-view in sports bars is not a new concept either; in fact they say “more things change, more they stay the same”). A fighter who went on state television became a superstar. Today, with 100 channels available, a boxer can be a star only for the viewers of a particular network. RAI Sat and SportItalia, for example, can be seen only by the people who buy a decoder or a parabolic antenna; fighting 10 times on those networks doesn’t absolutely mean becoming famous.

Anyway, the big crowds were a regular of the golden era of Italian boxing (1930-1970). Starting 1971, with the downfall of Nino Benvenuti at the hands of Carlos Monzon, boxing became an indoor sport held in buildings with a capacity of 10,000 at best. The reason is that boxing needs a national superstar and Benvenuti was the last one.

The only boxer who could make the Italians dream, in recent years, was Giovanni Parisi. In Milan, he sold-out the Palalido (who had a capacity of 4,400) and brought 6,000 people at the Forum in 1996-97. It has to be noticed that Parisi wasn’t born in Milan, but in Vibo Valentia (Calabria). Milanese people always talk trash about Southerners, but they do respect the ones who can work well and Parisi always provided a great fight. Giovanni Parisi will be back in Milan next October 8, challenging European welterweight king Frederic Klose. The Euro belt is the only one that Parisi never won and he wants it badly. That guarantees another great night of boxing in Milan.    

World Championship Fights organized in Milan:
Date – Location – Result

1)  July 27, 2006 – Velodromo Vigorelli – Silvio Branco W12 Manny Siaca for the vacant WBA light heavyweight interim title.  
2)  June 17, 2005 – Palalido – Leavander Johnson TKO 7 Stefano Zoff for the vacant IBF lightweight title.
3)  April 19, 1997 – Palalido – WBO light welterweight champion Giovanni Parisi TKO 8 Harold Miller.
4)  October 12, 1996 – The Forum – WBO light welterweight champion Giovanni Parisi KO 4 Sergio Rey Revilla.
5)  October 12, 1996 –  The Forum – Robin Reid TKO 7 WBC super middleweight champion Vincenzo Nardiello.
6)  June 20, 1996 – The Forum – WBO light welterweight champion Giovanni Parisi D12 with Carlos Gonzalez.
7)  March 9, 1996 – Palalido – Giovanni Parisi TKO 8 WBO light welterweight champion Sammy Fuentes.
8)  June 16, 1989 –  WBO featherweight champion Maurizio Stecca TKO 9 Angel Levi Mayor.
9)  January 28, 1989 – Maurizio Stecca TKO 6 Pedro Nolasco and becomes the first WBO featherweight champion.
10) December 1, 1984 – Palazzo dello Sport – WBA light middleweight champion Mike McCallum TKO 13 Luigi Minchillo.
11) February 22, 1984 – Loris Stecca TKO 12 WBA super bantamweight champion Leonardo Cruz.
12) January 7, 1978 – Palazzo dello Sport – Mate Parlov KO 9 WBC light heavyweight champion Miguel Angel Cuello.
13) April 4, 1975 – Franco Udella W DQ 12 Valentin Martinez and becomes the first WBC light flyweight champion.
14) May 26, 1968 – San Siro Stadium – Sandro Mazzinghi W 12 WBA/WBC light middleweight champion Ki Soo Kim.
15) June 18, 1965 – San Siro Stadium – Nino Benvenuti KO 6 WBA/WBC light middleweight champion Sandro Mazzinghi.
16) September 7, 1963 – Velodromo Vigorelli – Sandro Mazzinghi TKO 9 WBA/WBC light middleweight champion Ralph Dupas.  
17) December 15, 1962 – Palazzo dello Sport – Duilio Loi W 15 WBA light welterweight champion Eddie Perkins.
18) September 14, 1962 – Eddie Perkins W 15 WBA light welterweight champion Duilio Loi.
19) October 21, 1961 – Palazzo dello Sport – NBA light welterweight champion Duilio Loi D 15 with Eddie Perkins.
20) May 10, 1961 – San Siro Stadium – NBA light welterweight champion Duilio Loi W 15 Carlos Ortiz.
21) September 1, 1960 – San Siro Stadium – Duilio Loi W 15 NBA light welterweight champion Carlos Ortiz.
22) March 19, 1933 – Palazzo dello Sport – IBU bantamweight champion Panama Al Brown W 15 Domenico Bernasconi.

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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