Connect with us

Articles of 2006

Not For TV: Heavyweight Rivals Wills and Arreola Finally Meet In Vegas



The American heavyweight evolution featuring Damian “Bolo” Wills and Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola will not be televised, so Southern California fight fans will have to flock to Las Vegas to see two of the country’s best young prizefighters.

After several years of blasting out competition and comparing notes, undefeated heavyweights Wills and Arreola finally tangle at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Saturday. It’s scheduled for eight rounds.

Both reared on California soil, the heavy-hitting men have kept an eye on each other since turning professional almost simultaneously more than three years ago on club shows in Southern California.

From the beginning, Southern California fight fans unaccustomed to watching heavyweights witnessed both rumble through the ranks in combustible fashion. Wills has stopped 15 of 22 opponents and Arreola has halted 15 of 17.

“People were always coming up to me and asking when I was going to fight Chris Arreola,” said Wills (21-0-1, 15 KOs), whose first pro fight took place at the Hollywood Park Casino on Feb. 28, 2002. He won by knockout.

Though many heavyweight contenders like James “Lights Out” Toney, Lamon Brewster and Wladimir Klitschko live in the Southern California area, it’s been 40 years since a pair of homegrown talents like Wills and Arreola have been seen.

“It’s an exciting event,” says Bill O’Neill, a former boxing writer from the Southern California area now retired. “Too bad it’s not on TV.”

Despite a loud clamor from Southern California fight fans, the cable television network HBO will not be showing the heavyweight showdown on its Nov. 4 pay-per-view show that features a welterweight championship fight.

“I wouldn’t have taken this fight if I knew it wasn’t going to be on TV,” said Arreola (17-0, 15 KOs).

But the fight will proceed and may even surpass in excitement the main event.

“There’s going to be a lot of people from here going to see the fight,” said Terry Claybon, who trains and manages Wills at the Pound 4 Pound Gym in Los Angeles.

Not since Jerry Quarry met Joey Orbillo at the Olympic Auditorium in 1966 have two hot heavyweights from Southern California agreed to combat. Not surprisingly, they have a lot in common.


Born and raised in Lancaster, California, Wills is the son of former heavyweight Mark Wills who met several top flight heavyweights during his career including Greg Page, Tim Witherspoon, Ray Mercer and even current WBC heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko.

“I hated going to the fights. It scared me watching my dad in the ring,” said Wills, 26, who was a common sight at the local gyms in Los Angeles and Lancaster. “One time I met Mike Tyson in 1985 and I told him my dad was going to beat him. I was only five.”

His father’s last bout came against Klitschko in Germany in 1997. About the time his son began to earnestly train as a boxer.

For years Wills was a big youngster who played nose guard for his Antelope Valley High school football team. He liked hitting people but also liked trouble despite interest from several colleges for his football talent.

“I was always in trouble, and always fighting,” said Wills who was arrested for robbery and spent time in juvenile detention facilities. “But I’ve never lost a fight in my life.”

After Wills was released, his father sent him to a friend in Los Angeles who trained fighters. That man was Claybon.

“Terry Claybon saved my life,” Wills says.

Immediately Wills was put through the boxing training sessions on a daily basis in the no-nonsense gyms in Los Angeles. The physical intensity of the sport was intoxicating for the youngster just turning 20. One day he was invited to spar with Toney.

“I learned the most about boxing from sparring Toney. He was trying to knock me out,” Wills recalled. “It taught me that defense was important.”

Wills fought often at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood where celebrities like Denzel Washington, the Wayan brothers and others were regulars. At the converted movie theater his fights were merely a showcase for his offensive power.

But defense was important for Wills in his last two bouts against Yanqui Diaz and Cisse Salif, both veterans and dangerous opponents with knockout power.

“I kept hitting Salif with big shots but he kept coming,” said Wills about his August 18, encounter with Salif in Temecula. “The guy was a beast.”

It was Wills first televised fight and gave the nation a first glimpse of him.

“I just want big fights,” Wills said.


Fighting on televised bouts has been common for Arreola. Five of his contests have been shown on national television including his bout against Sedreck Fields in Temecula this past May. It ended in a knockout victory for the Riverside heavyweight.

“This fight against Bolo had to happen,” said Henry Ramirez, who trains Arreola. “They’re two big heavyweights from the same area.”

Arreola grew up in East Los Angeles and was boxing since the age of seven. He followed the footsteps of his father who also boxed professionally and trained at the Resurrection Gym that is now called the Oscar De La Hoya Gym.

“You’d never believe it but my dad is only about five foot six-inches,” says Arreola who is 6 foot four-inches in height and regularly weights about 230. “My mom is about five foot five.”

Football and basketball were Arreola’s sports and he excelled, but he also dabbled with trouble. At age 16 his family moved to Riverside.

One day he decided to box again and entered the Golden Gloves tournament. Despite only training for three weeks Arreola proceeded to win at the district level, regional level and entered the national Golden Gloves Tournament as a light heavyweight. He won it.

“That told me I could so something with boxing,” Arreola said. “I just trained three weeks and won the Golden Gloves.”

Entering the professional ranks Arreola had grown bigger, so it was a natural fit to fight as a heavyweight. His first eight opponents were bludgeoned and knocked out until David Cleage was disqualified for excessive holding and hitting at the break. The streak was broken.

“I would have knocked him out too,” Arreola said of Cleage.

Arreola’s biggest break was not in the ring, but outside the ring when Al Haymon, who has numerous elite fighters under contract such as Vernon Forrest and Floyd Mayweather Jr., signed to manage him.

“Al Haymon has done so much in a little bit of time,” says Ramirez.

Though Arreola usually trains out of the Lincoln Boxing Club in Riverside, he transferred his camp to Big Bear Mountain to prepare for this fight.

“I’m just relieved it’s almost time,” said Arreola, 25, who spent more than two months in the 10,000 feet altitude sparring against Salif, Kevin Johnson, Stacy Frazier and Hasim Rahman before his title bout. “It’s time to perform.”

Arreola and Wills have fought several common opponents in the past three years. One fighter David Johnson was knocked out twice against Arreola, but lasted all eight rounds against Wills. But Johnson was an improved fighter by the time he fought Wills. Another fighter is Fields, who almost beat Wills in a six round contest in Maywood a year ago that ended in a draw. Arreola stopped Fields in the seventh round. Andrew Greeley lasted all six rounds against Arreola and Wills. Those are the common opponents but it’s difficult to surmise a winner based on that.

“It depends on the style of fighter, one guy can give this guy trouble and not the other guy,” says Claybon. “That’s boxing.”

Both fighters know this is the biggest fight of their young careers.

“I think it’s a big mistake him fighting me,” said Wills. “There’s no way in the world he can beat me.”

Arreola feels equally confident.

“After this fight he can go back to fighting at the Henry Fonda Theater,” says Arreola. “A lot of people in California wanted to see this fight.”

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.?

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading