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Articles of 2006

Mike Oliver Wins USBA Jr. Featherweight Title

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – There must be times when Mike Oliver amazes even himself. Surely when he views tape of his lopsided win over Adam Carerra at the Mohegan Sun Saturday night he will at least pause when he watches himself use Carrera’s head for a speed bag, landing at least ten punches in the space of no more than three or four seconds early in the sixth round and wonder “How the hell did I do that?”

In what loomed, on paper, as the toughest fight of his career, the 26-year-old Hartford sprite was barely tested, hammering out a lopsided decision over his once-beaten California foe to run his pro record to 17-0. In the process, Oliver also won the vacant USBA junior featherweight title, which should in turn move him into the Top Ten of at least one sanctioning body (the IBF), and perhaps, if they are paying attention, into the others’ as well.

Despite his tender years, Oliver has been boxing since he was five, and has been a veritable fixture around New England ringsides for two decades now. Never has he looked better. Throwing improbable punches from impossible angles and picking off Carrera’s punches as if he were working the mitts with trainer John Scully, Mike-Mike piled up points, played to the crowd, and was never in danger from anyone other than himself. (Tony Chiarantino cautioned him for holding a couple of times, and appeared poised to take a point or worse when Oliver continued an enthusiastic battering after the bell had ended the tenth.)

“He’s just emotional,” pleaded Scully, and won his case with the referee.

Oliver had worked his wizardry from the outset, and at the end of the second landed a right hook that clearly wobbled Carrera. But Mike-Mike isn’t a knockout puncher, and as the bout wore on he seemed to make a conscious decision to stop trying to end it early and put on a show instead, dazzling the audience, not to mention his foe, with rights thrown from every angle, laser-like left-hand leads, and twelve rounds worth of benumbing body shots.

Carrera had come into the USBA title bout 18-1, but he was never in this one, though God knows he never quit trying.

“It was speed, power, whatever I could use,” said Oliver. “And the body shots affected him a lot.”

Oliver’s masterful performance was scored a shutout by one judge (George Smith; 120-108), while another (Don Ackerman; 118-110) gave Carrera two rounds. The third judge, John Mackaie, had it 116-112 for Oliver, while the Sweet Science card had Oliver in front 119-109.

While the USBA title guarantees contenderhood, it doesn’t guarantee a title shot, but promoter Rich Cappiello said afterward that he hoped to have Mike-Mike fighting for a world championship in the first half of 2007. (Canadian Steve Molitor and Britain’s Michael Hunter fight for the IBF 122-pound title two weeks hence in England. Off what we saw in Connecticut Saturday night, we’d like Oliver’s chances with either one of them.)

Cappiello’s nine-bout marathon Saturday night literally represented two cards in one, or it will be by the time it reaches its television audiences. The first four bouts were taped for a NESN audience, with a separate broadcast crew (Ed Berliner and Mike DeLisa) and even a separate ring announcer (Wayne Soares). Then, at the conclusion of the Rodney Toney-Anthony Russell 10-rounder, the junior varsity was excused and replaced by a FOX SportsNet crew (Tom Tribor, Joe Lake, and yours truly), along with ring announcer Bill Carpenter.

(The halftime intermission also saw the Mohegan bull gang replace the ring canvas with a sponsor-appropriate version for the FOX telecast.)

In the co-feature (or the main event, if you’re watching the NESN telecast, the 38-year-old Toney simply outworked his younger foe to post a one-sided decision over Russell, a Canadian light-heavyweight who had lost just once in 16 fights going into the bout.

The victory was the seventh straight for Toney (a cousin of former middleweight and cruiserweight champion James Toney), who hasn’t lost since he was stopped by Ole Klemetsen in Denmark nine years ago. Now 29-2-2, Toney might not be the fighter who a dozen years ago beat world champion Charles Brewer and held William Joppy and Silvio Branco to draws, but he beat Russell to the punch for the first seven rounds and then coasted to victory over his frustrated foe.

Julie Lederman and Ackerman each scored it 98-92, while Mackaie had it 97-93, as did the Sweet Science. Russell fell to 14-2-1 with the loss.

The most dramatic upset of the night saw late substitute Edward Hemphill (6-5) register a third-round knockout over previously unbeaten Joe McCreedy (5-1) of Lowell, Mass. McCreedy had controlled the action in the first round and for much of the second before being caught by a Hemphill combination that dislodged his mouthpiece near the end of round two. Then, in the third, Hemphill unloaded a left to the body followed by a right hand. The first was probably responsible for putting McCreedy down, but the latter broke his jaw. McCreedy got to his feet and briefly attempted to continue before sinking to a knee and taking Chiarantino’s 10-count at 2:47 of the round.

Trainer Norman Stone hustled the dejected McCreedy out of the ring, and he was shortly transported to Backus Hospital in Norwich, where x-rays confirmed the fracture.

A bit later in the evening, Tony Lamonica of South Boston, a newly-minted Boston police officer, raised his pro record to 3-0 with a first-round TKO of Worcester debutante Jason Crespo. In the first minute of action, Lamonica caught the 18-year-old Crespo with a hard left to the body. Wincing in pain, the teenager turned away, bringing the immediate intervention of referee Dick Flaherty, who held Lamonica off long enough to ask Crespo if he wished to continue. (He didn’t.)

Crespo, suffering from a likely fractured rib, shortly joined McCreedy in the hospital, at which point the Arena had exhausted its initial complement of ambulances, necessitating a delay while another was summoned so that the next bout could commence.

Tony Grano, the former USA Boxing heavyweight champion, went to 6-0-1 with a third-round TKO over a much larger Larry White (3-2). While it lasted this one was as good as it gets, with both big men trading nonstop leather until White walked into a short right hand in the third. Although he made it to his feet, Grano leapt on him and was battering his foe when Flaherty stopped it at 2:46 of the round.

Chris McInerney (6-0-1) of Stoughton, Mass. opened a cut above Rick Dufty’s right eye early in the second and then floored him with a right-left combination later in the round en route to a runaway decision in their cruiserweight bout, as Dufty fell to 2-2. (Glenn Feldman and Julie Lederman both scored it 40-35 for the winner, as did the Sweet Science, while Don Ackerman had it 40-34.

Rhode Island super-middleweight Angel Camacho (3-0) floored 35-year-old Mike Walthier (1-5) of Bay City (Mich.) three times in the first round. Camacho decked Walthier with a right to the body followed by a left hook, then again with a right to the body that sent him to his knees. Then Camacho caught Walthier with a crisp right that sent him flying through the air just as the bell ended the first; referee Danny Schiavone waved the fight off before Walthier even landed.

Two other four-rounders saw Vietnamese-born Hawaiian Dat Nguyen win his fifth bout in as many pro outings, registering a TKO when Edwin Rosado cornerman Sean Fitzgerald stopped the fight to save his charge from further punishment after three rounds (Rosado is now 1-2), and Worcester’s Enrique Palau (6-0) knocked John Gottschling down twice in the second, the last time with a body shot that caused Flaherty to stop the fight without a count at 1:17 of the round. Gottschling, another Bay City roller, fell to 10-13-1.

* * *

MOHEGAN SUN ARENA
UNCASVILLE, CONN.
OCTOBER 28, 2006

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS: Mike Oliver, 121¼, Hartford, Conn. dec. Adam Carrera, 120¾, Cathedral City, Calif. (12) (Wins USBA title)

HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tony Grano, 214½, Hebron, Conn. TKO’d Larry White, 261½, Dothan, Ala. (3)

CRUISERWEIGHTS: Chris McInerney, 200, Stoughton, Mass. dec. Rick Dufty, 202½, Bay City, Mich. (4)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Rodney Toney, 173¼, Boston, Mass. dec. Anthony Russell, 175, Kitchener, Ont. (10)

Edward Hemphill, 178, Woodbridge, Va. KO’d Joe McCreedy, 172¾, Lowell, Mass. (3)

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Angel Camacho, 164, Johnston, RI TKO’d Mike Walthier, 165½, Bay City, Mich. (1)
MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Enrique Palau, 155, Worcester, Mass. TKO’d John Gottschling, 154¼, Bay City, Mich. (2)

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS: Tony Lamonica, 138, South Boston, Mass. TKO’d Jason Crespo, 132, Worcester, Mass. (1)

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Dat Nguyen, 127½, Maui, Hawaii TKO’d Edwin Rosado, 131¾, Worcester, Mass. (3)

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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