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Articles of 2006

Boxing in Asia; News and Notes from Asia

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WBC World super flyweight champion Masamori Tokuyama has rejected an offer from the Pride fighting organization in Japan to jump ship from boxing to MMA. The Japanese superstar has been out of action since February and recently suggested he will retire from boxing unless presented with a worthy opponent. Tokuyama is big news in Japan and a move to MMA from boxing would be a huge draw for the Pride organization. According to Tokuyama, though, he flatly declined a bout with MMA superstar Takanori Gomi.

“I originally thought it would be like an exhibition. My opponent is in the 70 kg class though and the 20 kg difference is too much.”

“It would be a huge challenge,” he added. “If I avoid a difficult opponent, I am not a true fighter.”

“The man who made me this offer has visited with me many, many times but if I fight with boxing rules in the Pride ring and an MMA fighter defeats me, it’s damaging to the boxing world,” Tokuyama explained.

“Boxing fans may not understand the weight difference but instead would just think MMA defeated boxing,” he continued. “I respect boxing so I will reject all offers as long as I am a boxer.”

The WBC’s super flyweight division is ripe with talent, Jorge Arce, Katsushige Kawashima, Devid Lookmahanak, Z Gorres and Masibulele Makepula all would beat or give Tokuyama a good fight so it is unclear why he believes there is no worthy opposition available.

Tokuyama may be waiting to face the winner of the WBC’s super flyweight interim championship between champion Christian Mijares and Katsushige Kawashima; a fight with Kawashima would be the fourth meeting between the two fighters. Tokuyama holds the edge in the rivalry 2-1. Although he denies having problems making the super flyweight limit, there are also talks of him moving up to meet WBC bantamweight king Hozumi Hasegawa should he get past Genaro Garcia on November 13.

At the recent WBC convention in Croatia, the sanctioning body postponed a decision regarding Tokuyama’s position in the division until they received confirmation of his status from the Japan Boxing Commission.
The deadline for Tokuyama’s mandatory defense is February 27, 2007.

* * *

Katsunari Takayama (18-2, 7 KOs) snatched the WBA interim minimumweight belt when he won a technical decision over Panamanian Carlos Melo (16-5, 2 KOs) in Osaka, Japan.

Thailand

WBC flyweight king Pongsaklek Wonjongkam looks to extend his record for consecutive title defenses to seventeen on November 17th in Korat, Thailand when he squares off against Monelisi Myekeni of South Africa. The Thai is making the first mandatory defense of his title in three years and the former IBO light flyweight champion Myekeni should provide Wonjongkam with his most difficult defense in years. Boxing insiders are predicting an upset as Myekeni has steadily improved in the last two years, however as the bout takes place in Thailand, Myekeni is fighting an uphill battle and needs to win convincingly.

* * *

Golden Boy Promotions has signed WBA #1 ranked lightweight Prawet Singwancha (30-2-1, 18 KO’s) of Thailand and will pit their new charge against WBA lightweight Juan Diaz. Singwancha has gone undefeated in seven years, but with the exception of recently crowned PABA lightweight champion Dennis Laurente (25-3-5, 12 KOs), he’s faced absolutely no one of championship caliber.

As to be expected, De La Hoya pumped up the Thai, “Singwancha has truly earned his shot at a title,” he said.

Tell it like it is Oscar…you may fool the fans but you can’t fool everyone.

In his last six fights and over the course of a year and a half, Singwancha has knocked out debuting fighters Nicky Amhad and Armier Ranjah, Chinese fighter Xia Yu Qing (2-2-1) and decisioned Teofilo Tunacao (27-33-0, 7 KOs), Dodie Boy Agrabio (6-3-4, 1 KO) and Supachai Mahasapcondo (1-2-0).

These days it doesn’t matter who you win against, just that you win.

Prediction: Diaz via brutal blowout ala Manny Pacquiao – Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym.

* * *

Veeraphol Sahaprom is hopeful for a bout with compatriot Ratanachai Sor Vorapin early next year. The fight would be for an interim title; which one has yet to be determined but the WBC or WBA’s version seems likely. A bout between Sor Vorapin and Sahaprom would be the battle of the aged and would be huge in Thailand. Sahaprom must first get by Michael Bayoma of Tanzania on October 10. Sor Vorapin has fought three times since his TKO loss to Jhonny Gonzalez in October of 2005, winning all by KO.

Indonesia

A rematch with Venezuelan Jose “Cheo” Rojas (23-5-1, 15 KOs) is likely to be the next title defense for WBA featherweight champion Chris “The Dragon” John (38-0-1, 20 KOs) of Indonesia. The two met once before in December of 2004 but a clash of heads caused their first encounter to end in a dissatisfying technical draw.

Rojas should provide a stiff challenge for “The Dragon.” The Venezuelan has been in with Antonio Cermino, John Michael Johnson, Yober Ortega, Genaro Garcia and scored a KO win over current super bantamweight ruler Celestino Caballero. He was also ahead on two of the three judge’s cards after three rounds in their first bout and is the only blemish on the Indonesian’s ledger.

Scheduled date for the bout is February 17 of next year in Borneo, Indonesia.

* * *

IBF Minimumweight Muhammad Rachman (60-5-5, 30 KOs) is slated to face Benji Sorolla (21-9-3, 6 KOs) on December 23rd. The bout will take place in Jakarta at the same venue where Rachman knocked out Omar Soto of Mexico in his last bout, the Senayan Indoor Tennis Stadium. Rachman has said he would be willing to face WBO champion Ivan Calderon in Puerto Rico however, the fight has yet to materialize. Rachman fought Sorolla in 2002, winning a unanimous ten-round decision.

The Philippines

Freddie Roach says “Manny Pacquaio (42-3-2, 33 KOs) is right on target for his fight with Erik Morales” and Shelly Finkel is predicting a KO.

With just over a week left until the Pacquiao – Morales get-together, most journalists are not giving Morales much of a chance. Erik Morales (48-4, 34 KOs) claims he’s being underestimated.

“I am going to work a few more days in here in the Otomí Mountains of Mexico City and we are now sharpening our strategy and near the weight. I will win!”

Referee Vic Drakulich gets the call to ref the bout while the scoring will be determined by judges Glenn Towbridge (U.S.), Doug Tucker (U.S.) and Guido Cavalieri (Italy).

* * *

Manny Pacquaio isn’t the only Filipino fighter worth reading about at the moment; Jimrex Jaca’s on-again, off-again title fight with WBO interim featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (45-3-1, 34 KOs) is apparently back on. Jaca (27-2-1, 12 KOs) travels to Hidalgo, Texas on November 25 to try to wrest the title Marquez won from Thailand’s Terdsak Jandaeng in August of this year. Marquez was extremely sharp against Jandaeng and is a prohibitive favorite.

Singapore

Solomon Egberime of Nigeria is out, Australian Eddie “Pyscho” Delic (11-6-2, 2 KOs) is in. In training for his WBF title fight with Dondon Sultan (13-7-2, 7 KOs), Egberime suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw from the bout. Delic and Sultan square off November 25 at the Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore for the vacant WBF welterweight championship. Also on the card, Emmett Gazzard takes on Saensak Singmanasak, Mohammad Nor Rizan goes against Pornthep Kawponkanpim and Singaporean cruiserweight David Alexis is in action in a four-round bout.

Korea

The WBC featherweight title fight between champion Rudolfo Lopez (19-2-1, 13 KOs) and Korean challenger In Jin Chi (30-3-1, 18 KOs) in Seoul, Korea has been rescheduled to December 17.

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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