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Articles of 2006

The Tiger With No Teeth

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Commission: A group of people officially authorized to perform certain duties or functions.

Question: When is a boxing commission actually not a boxing commission?

Answer: When the commission is the Thailand Boxing Commission, otherwise known as the T.B.C.

Fact: The highly respected Japanese Boxing Commission does not allow boxers from Thailand to fight in Japan if they do not have a letter of clearance from the Thailand Boxing Commission. However, the T.B.C. is not an authorized governmental sports agency. It is not an authorized commission.

The one and only official association recognized by the government of Thailand is the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand, or P.A.T. The Thailand Boxing Commission oversees boxing and Muay Thai in Rajdamnern Stadium. Although not officially recognized, the T.B.C. regularly submits records and results of Thai fighters, some of which are bogus. Although aware of the T.B.C.’s actions, both the Sports Authority of Thailand and P.A.T. allow them to continue unabated.

All of Thailand’s sports, both professional and amateur, fall under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. The Sports Authority of Thailand is an office of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and is the coordination center for sports programs, organizations and associations. They also monitor and control sports operations in and relating to Thailand and carry out other matters relevant or useful to sports.The Office of Professional Sports of the Sports Authority of Thailand supervises professional boxing and Muay Thai. There are two divisions, the Professional Sports Development Division and the Board of Boxing Sport. Some of the many duties of the office are: to formulate rules and regulations supervising professional sports, draw up guidelines on the development of boxing, to coordinate with private sectors in supporting boxing and to establish boxing funds.

Boxing has never been problem-free but Thailand is professional boxing’s Wild, Wild West, void of laws and guidelines most boxing fans in the western world take for granted. Untamed and free, it is the great, wide open; promoters double as managers and fighters are employees, a pawn in the business of boxing. More chaotic and frazzled than ever, Thailand’s professional boxing commission is in desperate need of someone who is willing to take unyielding action instead of making excuses or blaming cultural differences for its problems.

The Boxing Board of Sport, in conjunction with the P.A.T., is supposed to regulate professional boxing in the country, but it’s not quite clear what they do other than provide letters of clearance authorizing boxers to leave the country. With the backing of the Thai government, you would think the P.A.T. would take a more proactive role in professional boxing in Thailand – they don’t.

Below is a portion of an interview with the Secretary General of the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand, Mr. Nikom Rattanavich. The interview speaks for itself. Draw your own conclusions.

The Sweet Science: Hello sir, it’s nice to meet you.

Nikom Rattanavich: It’s nice to meet you too.

The Sweet Science: You are the executive secretary of the sole professional boxing commission of Thailand. Can you tell me about the Thailand Boxing Commission and why it’s regularly sending records of Thai fighters to countries outside of Thailand? Mr. Poempol Puthornjai, the Director of the Office of the Board of Boxing Sport of the Sports Authority of Thailand stated the T.B.C. is not an authorized, government commission and should not be doing this.

Nikom Rattanavich: The Professional Boxing Association of Thailand has an agreement with them, a commitment that allows them to send information abroad about our boxers.

The Sweet Science: Even though the Thailand Boxing Commission is not a commission and the Thai government has acknowledged this, the P.A.T. allows them to do act as a commission?

Nikom Rattanavich: Yes…

The Sweet Science: Isn’t this the P.A.T.’s job?

Nikom Rattanavich: (No comment)

The Sweet Science: The reason I ask this question is that I have several records that came from a Thai matchmaker in Australia, Mr. Tassanu Assawaphop and elsewhere. These records show numerous fights which never really took place. In other words, they’re fake. Mr. Assawaphop claims he obtained these records from the T.B.C.

If the Sports Authority of Thailand says they have no authority to provide anyone with records or results, why are they doing so and why aren’t you stopping them? Do they know the records are fake?

Nikom Rattanavich: (Long pause)…This is Thai style. We don't want any problems. This is business.

The Sweet Science: Excuse me but Isn’t it better for the long-term good of the sport to take care of these sort of problems? In the end, it benefits professional boxing in Thailand, don’t you think? Both from a financial and sporting standpoint.

Nikom Rattanavich: (Silence)…You must understand. Foreigners don’t understand, this is Thai style…it’s not the same as how you think.

The Sweet Science: Most of my readers and most boxing fans are not in Thailand, they’re outside of Thailand. I understand the culture is different, I’ve lived here for more than ten years. Regardless of Thai style, mismatches are mismatches, cheating is cheating and tampering with records or fighting under assumed names should be unacceptable to a boxing commission. It doesn’t matter what country it happens in.

What do you think about all the mismatches that take place here?  

Nikom Rattanavich: (Silence) If a boxer is willing to come to Thailand and fight, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? They know what they’re getting into.  

The Sweet Science: Have any boxers died in Thailand?

Nikom Rattanvich: Not that I know of.

(Note – For the record, I have not found any official deaths recorded attributed to boxing in Thailand.)

The Sweet Science: When boxers with fifty-plus fights are matched against fighters with only five or ten fights, or against someone who hasn’t fought for years, why does the commission allow this?

Nikom Rattanavich: We can’t stop promoters from making fights – it’s business.

The Sweet Science: What is it the P.A.T. does exactly?

Nikom Rattanavich: Well, I really don't do anything but I always seem to be busy.

The Sweet Science: You don't do anything. Are you paid?

Nikom Rattanavich: The budget is $430 (16,000 baht) a month. The secretary gets paid $215 (8000 baht) a month. The rest goes for expenses. I receive nothing.

The Sweet Science: So you do it for the love of the sport? How do you make a living? Are you retired?

Nikom Rattanavich: No…I just play…I'm a gambler.

The Sweet Science: You're the head of the P.A.T. and you’re a gambler? Some might think this is a conflict of interest.

Nikom Rattanavich: (Silence – no response).

The Sweet Science: Do you go to any fights?

Nikom Rattanavich: No, not usually.

The Sweet Science: Does anyone from the commission go? Someone from the commission should go, don’t you think?

Nikom Rattanavich: There’s no money for this.

The Sweet Science: Can you tell me what is being done to better professional boxing in Thailand? I still don’t quite understand what it is the P.A.T. does.

Nikom Rattanavich: We are now working on a project with the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. Fighters who travel outside of Thailand will need to provide their boxing ID cards to all promoters; it will be illegal if they do not show them. We plan to send a formal letter to all boxing promoters around the world informing them all Thai fighters must have their boxing ID cards to fight.  

The Sweet Science: No offense, but I’m not sure what this is going to do. Promoters can just check a fighter’s passport. This would be the easiest way to verify a fighter’s identity. If they can get away with it, some promoters or matchmakers will use a fighter regardless of his record or name or whether or not he’s on suspension. What about visiting fighters; they are supposed to check in at the Boxing Board of Sport, aren’t they?

Nikom Rattanavich: Yes but this has nothing to do with the P.A.T. It’s up to them to do this but many do not.

The Sweet Science: So what will happen if a boxer does not show their boxing ID card when traveling outside of the country? Will they be fined or suspended? What is the penalty?

Nikom Rattanavich: (Long pause)… There is no penalty. Nothing happens.

The Sweet Science: So it's illegal to not show their ID card but if they don’t, nothing happens. What good is it then?

Nikom Rattanavich: This is Thai style. When we need to make a change we will. We don’t have authority to take action though so what can we do?

The Sweet Science: Fair enough. What about infectious diseases? If a fighter has HIV or Hepatitis, there is no policy stopping him from fighting in Thailand, right?

Nikom Rattanavich: It doesn’t matter, there is no policy forbidding him from fighting here.

The Sweet Science: Several Thai fighters have tested positive for hepatitis but continue to fight in Thailand. What would happen if one boxer was infected from a fighter who was known to be positive?

Nikom Rattanavich: (A shrug of the shoulders).

The Sweet Science: Again, no offense but I can’t help but feel the P.A.T. is a name and nothing more. I really hope boxing continues to be popular in Thailand and progresses on a positive path. Thank you for your time and cooperation.

Nikom Rattanavich: Thank you.

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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