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Articles of 2006

Duddy’s Fight/Duddy’s Night Against Campas

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NEW YORK – Things weren’t looking good for the home team Friday night after John Duddy found himself freely bleeding from a cut below his left eyebrow half a minute into the second round, and they were looking even worse two rounds later when an almost identical cut opened over his right eye.

As Duddy’s career steamrolled its way through America over the past couple of years, even his most ardent admirers found themselves wondering what was going to happen when the Irish middleweight found himself in a real fight with a dangerous opponent.

In the end he passed his examination with flying colors. It was a victory that owed as much to raw courage as to boxing skill, but when the final bell rang, Duddy was ahead on the scorecards of all three judges. Although he probably absorbed more punishment in this one than he had in his first seventeen combined, Duddy won a unanimous decision over former world champion Luis Ramon (Yory Boy) Campas in the main event of Irish Ropes’ ‘Shamrocks and Sombreros’ card at the Madison Square Garden Theatre Friday night to remain undefeated at 18-0 and send yet another sellout crowd home happy.

The card was co-promoted by Roberto Duran’s DRL, and the multinational character of the show meant that the audience had to endure three national anthems – Mexican, Irish, USA – on the trot before Duddy and Campas even got into the ring.

Duddy came out with both guns blazing, but the cut early in the second appeared to slow him down, and midway through that round he was rocked by a Campas left hook and appeared for an instant to be on the verge of going down.

“He hurt me there in the second round, but he never hurt me at all after that,” said Duddy.

The second appeared to be one-sided in Campas’ favor, but remarkably, Tom Kaczmarek – the judge who would favor Duddy by the widest margin in what otherwise appeared to be a very close fight – scored it for the Irishman.

Cutman George Mitchell went feverishly to work between rounds, and while he managed to stanch the flow of blood there wasn’t much he could do about a suddenly emboldened Campas.

As the Mexican pressed forward the shouts kept coming from the Duddy corner: Move to your right! Move your head! Keep your head up, John!

But barely a minute into the fourth, Duddy was cut again, and this time the blood was spreading across the other eye.

Mitchell surely earned Man of the Match honors in this one, because Duddy and Campas would fight for eight more rounds and neither cut was ever a factor.

Duddy said he wasn’t worried that the fight might be stopped.

“The only way they would have stopped it was if I stopped it myself,” he said.

Campas, on the other hand, said he was “surprised they didn’t stop the fight because of the cuts.

“And,” added Yory Boy, “I was even more surprised by the decision.”

Duddy had gone to the body effectively in the first round, but abandoned the tactic as he fought the next five in near-retreat, and never really got back to it.

“Harry (trainer Harry Keitt) is going to bust my balls over that in the coming weeks,” predicted Duddy.

Campas had held the edge over the first half of the bout, but with the seventh the pendulum swung back the other way. Duddy charged forward, spearing Campas with jabs and rocking him with the occasional hard right. Although Yory Boy, a veteran of nearly 100 professional bouts, continued to fight back, it was inexorably becoming Duddy’s fight.

Campas was warned by referee Hubert Earle in the eighth, and while the referee also admonished him for delivering a couple of well-placed backhands, the Mexican got away with it on several other occasions.

Duddy appeared to be genuinely impressed as the old master unveiled his bag of tricks.

“I can’t get over it,” he said afterward. “I was fighting Yory Boy Campas!

“I hit him with everything, but he wouldn’t go down,” marveled Duddy. “I really had my hands full because of his experience, but I never felt I was in trouble. I always felt I had enough left to get through the fight.”

By the twelfth – this one was for the coveted IBA title, hence a 12-round fight – it seemed clear even to Campas that Duddy had a nose in front, and the Mexican came out for the round as if the whole fight depended on it.

“His experience showed in that last round,” said Duddy. “He wouldn’t give up. I felt like I had to suck it up, but he caught me with some good body shots and he caught me with some head shots too.”

Campas won the final stanza on all three scorecards, but when the tallies were announced, Kaczmarek had it 117-111, Tom Schreck 116-112, and Billy Costello 115-113, all for Duddy. (The Sweet Science card agreed with Costello’s.)

CompuBox punchstats also suggested a closer fight: Duddy landed 380 of 856 (44%) to Yory Boy’s 316 of 786. While the two were near-even in power punches landed – 265 for Duddy, 288 for Campas – Duddy’s jab was a factor (115 landed) and Campas’ (28) was not.

Neither the statistics nor the scorecards reflect where the fight may actually have been won – in the corner, between rounds.

“George Mitchell did an excellent job,” said Keitt afterward. “John had three cuts – two over his right eye and one over his left – but George just did a wonderful job.”

Duddy said later that he thought the cut over his left eye came from a punch, all right, but that the second was likely the result of an unintentional head-butt.

“The crowd was tremendous,” said Duddy, who was spurred on by an evening-long ‘Ole!OleOleOle!’ chant from the sizable Irish contingent at the Theatre. “They stayed behind me, even though it might not have been my best performance.”

He quickly qualified that.

“Well, Campas is a legend,” said Duddy. “So maybe I guess it was my best performance in terms of the caliber of the opponent.”

He was still bearing the scars of battle, but, said Duddy, “that comes with the sport. Sometimes it doesn’t look nice, but you have to stand in there and take it.”

The 35-year-old Campas, now 88-9, said he planned to drop back to 154 pounds, a weight at which he held the IBF world title eight years earlier, for his next bout. Where Duddy goes from here isn’t as clear.

Going into Friday night’s bout, Irish Ropes matchmaker Jim Borzell had already drawn up the blueprint for Duddy’s next four fights: First, a featured bout on the undercard of next month’s Wladimir Klitschko-Calvin Brock card at the Garden, next a mid-January bout (possibly on the Ricky Hatton bill in Atlanta), followed by a headline appearance atop a March 16 St. Patrick’s card in New York and then, in mid-May, another main event in Ireland, with HBO likely televising.

The latter three might still happen, but by midnight Friday it seemed clear enough that John Duddy won’t be fighting anybody on November 11. He’d be a longshot to even be sparring by then.

“Now John can get on with life and get some rest,” said Keitt. “After all the wounds heal we’ll decide where we’re going to go next.”

The co-feature matched a pair of Mexican veterans with over 90 fights between them, and saw Julio Cesar (Madasita) Garcia knock out countryman Ernesto Zepeda in three. In the first round, Garcia caught Zepeda in a crouch and bounced a left off the top of his head, knocking him through the ring ropes, and while Zepeda battled back to win the second (on our card, as well as those of all three judges), Garcia was able to turn the tide in the minute and a half the next round lasted.

A minute into the third, Garcia landed a left to the body/left hook combination that put Zepeda on the canvas. Not much later, another Garcia left to the body sent his foe down again. Zepeda tried to rise, but then thought better of it and took referee Gary Rosato’s count on his haunches.

Garcia went to 38-2 with the win, while Zepeda’s record dropped to 37-11-4.

Popular Jamaica (Queens) super-middleweight Mean Joe Greene improved to 12-0 with a one-sided TKO of Dominican Luis Hodge (5-2). Greene knocked Hodge down (right jab followed by a straight left) in the first round, and by the fifth had switched to a two-handed body attack. It was undoubtedly painful for Hodge, and just watching a round and a half of it evidently proved too gruesome for trainer Pedro Delaro, who climbed up on the ring apron midway through the sixth to implore Mike Ortega to stop it. (The referee complied at 1:27 of the round.)

James Moore, Duddy’s countryman and frequent sparring partner, earned his eighth win without a loss by stopping his Puerto Rican opponent Willie Cruz (3-7) in round two of their scheduled 4-rounder. Although Moore had battered Cruz from start to finish, he had a point deducted (for a low blow) by Ortega earlier in the second. When Moore landed a big right hand that turned Cruz’s legs to jelly, Ortega waved it off at 2:41 of the second.

The third Irishman on the card, Galway super-middleweight Simon O’Donnell Jr. was awarded a 4th-round disqualification when an exhausted (and, apparently, intimidated) Philadelphia opponent Terrance Miller quit on his feet. Miller had already been docked a point by Ortega, who finally lost his patience with Miller’s “refusal to fight” and awarded the fight to O’Donnell at 2:02 of the round. O’Donnell improved to 2-0, while Miller fell to 2-2.

Puerto Rican junior middle Yuca Andino remained undefeated at 7-0 with a unanimous decision over Cuban Carlos Aballe (6-3). Earnest but outclassed, Aballe managed to stay on his feet until late in the final round, when he went down from a wild flurry of punches.  One judge (Taylor) scored it a shutout at 60-53 (as did the SweetScience), while Rivera and Trematerra both gave Aballe the fifth in scoring it 59-54.

SHAMROCKS AND SOMBREROS
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN THEATRE
NEW YORK CITY
September 29, 2006

MIDDLEWEIGHTS: John Duddy, 160, Derry, Northern Ireland dec. Luis Ramon Campas, 159½, Navojoa, Mexico (12) (Wins IBA title)

James Moore, 157, Arklow, Ireland TKO’d Willie Cruz, 158, Fajardo, Puerto Rico (2)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Joe Greene, 163, Jamaica, NY TKO’d Luis Hodge, 161, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (6)

Simon O’Donnell Jr., 161½, Galway, Ireland DQ over Terrance Miller, 158, Philadelphia (4)

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Julio Cesar Garcia, 150½, Lagos De Moreno, Mexico KO’d Ernesto Zepeda, 149¾, Mazatlan, Mexico  (3)

Yukeno Andino, 150, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico dec. Carlos Aballe, 150½, Holguin, Cuba (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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