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Articles of 2006

Curtis Stevens Exacts Revenge On Marcos Primero

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NEW YORK – The safest place in America must be the streets of Brownsville on a night when Curtis (Showtime) Stevens is fighting in Manhattan.

Actually, Showtime’s posse was on relatively good behavior last night night. No spectators were maimed by flying chairs, and no referees required police escorts to escape the building. Nobody threw anything at Marcos Primero as he writhed around on the floor after a low blow, either, although this was primarily because Marcos never hit the deck, nor did Curtis throw any deliberate south-of-the-border punches, as he did when the two met back in July.

Stevens avenged his only career defeat, soundly outpointing the Venezuelan veteran over 8 rounds in what was nominally the co-feature of Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing card at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom.

With his followers cheering enthusiastically (many of them were simultaneously jabbering away on cell phones, no mean trick if you think about it), the Brownsville super-middleweight entered the ring to hip-hop intro music, wearing a camouflage robe, his face covered by a mask wrapped around his head. It wasn’t clear whether he was supposed to be a stickup artist or an insurgent.

And once he removed the robe the sight was more bewildering still. In addition to the odd corporate logo (Pro-Keds, Havoc), Stevens’ trunks bore two more prominent legends –  “Showtime” on the front and a bright yellow rodent on the back – along with “BROWNSVILLE” tattooed in script letters across his bare back. It was plain enough that if Primero spent any time trying to read all the messages he was going to be in trouble.

Which he was anyway. In their summertime meeting Stevens appeared to have the fight in hand when he got staggered by a Primero uppercut and was stopped with less than a minute and a half left.

Stevens took no such chances this time, controlling the fight nearly from start to finish. One of the oldest 31-year-olds on the planet, Primero even at his best fights in spurts, and this time they were few and far between: He was a dangerous opponent for perhaps a minute each of the third and eighth rounds, and for most of the fourth. The rest of the night was spent as Stevens’ punching bag.

Possibly because the last time he failed to protect himself at all times Primero got nailed in the nuts and wound up in the hospital with a hernia, he seemed more concerned with warding off the Stevens onslaught, but it was often to no avail. There were at least three occasions when Stevens waded in and fired a right at the side of Primero’s head. Each time Primero got his glove up by his ear to block the blow, but the sum effect was as if he were getting hit twice – first by Stevens’ punch and then by his own glove getting driven into his head hard enough to move it half a foot sideways.

This time Primero was unable to mount his late charge, and Stevens won going away on all three cards, by scores of 80-72 (Alan Rubenstein), 79-92 (Tom Kaczmarek) and 78-72 (Steve Weisfeld). The Sweet Science card had it 78-74.

If anyone was disappointed it may have been the homeys who’d been demanding that Stevens avenge the previous loss with a knockout, but, said DiBella, “I thought it was one of Curtis’ best fights, because of the intelligence and patience he showed. He fought with great composure. He’s not going to knock out every opponent he fights, and this time he didn’t press for the knockout.”

Stevens’ record is now 14-1, Primero’s 20-16-2.

When DiBella summoned a ‘Meacher Major’ he probably thought he was ordering a bottle of Bahamian gin, but that turned out to be the name of Edgar Santana’s Nassau-based opponent in the main event.

Santana had procured a tape of one of Major’s earlier bouts, and consequently expected him to be the aggressor, which is exactly what happened. Major spent the first two rounds chasing Santana around, firing away at his midsection, while Santana, looking almost bemused, countered with lefts to the body and an occasional lead right.

By the third round Major seemed so pleased with himself that he got careless, at which point Santana dug him with a left to the ribcage and then quickly followed it with a looping overhand right that came straight down on the Bahamian’s head and sent him down.

Major arose, but Santana pressed the attack, moving in to throw another left to the body, followed by a left-right combination that drove Major back into a neutral corner, where, thoroughly defenseless, he took at least four unanswered shots before referee Pete Santiago halted it at 2:53 of the round.

Major (11-3-1) said he was more surprised than hurt by the right that knocked him down, but left little doubt that he was in trouble at the end. Asked if he’d had a problem with Santiago’s stoppage, Major shook his head and said “Not really.”

“I wasn’t surprised that the referee stopped it,” said Santana. “He was out – he was ready to go.”

Santana now 20-2, hasn’t lost in four and a half years, and appears ready to move up the ladder.

“I think he showed tonight he’s gone beyond being a local attraction, and that he might be among the best 140-pounders out there,” said DiBella.

Santana’s people also sounded as if they’re ready to graduate from Broadway Boxing and move toward bigger venues.

“We’re going to take a nice long vacation to San Diego,” said manager Ernesto Dallas. “Then after the holidays we want to sit down and talk with Lou about where we go next, but whether it’s HBO or Showtime, at this point Edgar needs to be on national television.”

One Broadway Boxing standby, Sechew Powell, has already made that leap, and if Stevens, Santana and Buddy McGirt Jr. (to say nothing of Lou’s Staten Island junior featherweight; DiBella claims new IBF champion Steve Molitor’s people are interested in a Molitor-Starks fight) are all going to be fighting on weekends by 2007, who’s going to be left to headline the Broadway Boxing shows?

Perhaps, DiBella suggested Wednesday night, Jaidon Codrington.

Codrington, the Bridgeport (Conn.) light-heavyweight, pretty much had his way with South Carolina journeyman Johnny Brooks for the two rounds their fight lasted. After punishing Brooks with a body attack over the first three minutes, he staggered him with a solid left hook in the second, bringing a flow of blood from the opponent’s mouth and effectively putting an end to any subsequent resistance. Referee David Brooks finally moved in to stop it at 2:54 of the round. It was the fourth straight win for Codrington (13-1) in the year since his devastating 18-second knockout loss to Allan Green in Oklahoma. (Brooks is now 5-5-1.)

“I think Jaidon is back now,” said DiBella. “He’ll probably have one more prelim – probably on Jermain’s (Dec. 9) undercard in Little Rock, and by early next year I can see him in a Broadway Boxing main event – maybe against Marcos Primero.”

(If Manhattan Center regulars have seen more of Primero in recent years than they have some of DiBella’s own stars, there is a reason, said the promoter: “He always comes to fight. He’s not just an opponent. He’s always trying to win, and sometimes he does. Look at his record. Curtis Stevens isn’t the only good fighter Marcos has beaten. That’s why I love Marcos Primero.”

In the distaff bout of the evening, Canadian bantamweight Noriko Kariya had a scrappy foe in Denver’s Elisha Olivas, but won fairly handily, scoring a 60-54 shutout on the cards of judges Steve Weisfeld and Alan Rubenstein while posting 59-55 on Tom Kaczmarek’s. The Toronto-born Kariya, now 6-1-1, is a member of a family which has produced several NHL stars, and whatever one’s opinion of women’s boxing might be, it ought to be noted that Noriko fights better than most hockey players. Game from start to finish, Olivas was simply outclassed, and the loss evened her record at 5-5-1.

Cleveland lightweight Prenice Brewer, held to a draw in his previous visit to the Manhattan Center, took the issue out of the judges’ hands, dropping Markel Muhammad twice in less than a minute on the way to a first-round TKO. Thirty seconds into the bout, Brewer flattened Muhammad, thudding a short right off the side of his head, and almost the instant he got back up, decked him again with a left hook. Muhammad made the count, but appeared disoriented enough that Mike Ortega halted the action at 53 seconds of the first. Brewer is now 2-0-1, Muhammad 1-1.

Brooklyn junior middle Jamelle Hamilton struggled to solve Kenneth Dunham’s southpaw stance, but did enough to prevail on the scorecards of two judges (Kaczmarek and Oscar Perez, both 39-37) and win a split decision. (Rubenstein scored it 39-37 for Dunham.) Hamilton improved to 3-0, while Dunham absorbed his first loss and is now 1-1.

A few hours before the Wednesday card commenced, DiBella announced the latest addition to his stable – 12-0 middleweight James McGirt Jr., who will make his DBE debut on the promoter’s Dec. 14 Holiday show at the Manhattan Center. McGirt fils is trained by his father, former WBC welterweight champion and former BWAA Trainer of the Year Buddy McGirt, who is rapidly developing into DiBella’s house trainer. (Paulie Malignaggi, Sechew Powell, et al.)  Looking to redeem himself after being outpointed by Ouma in August, Powell (21-1) will headline the December show in an eight-rounder, along with McGirt Jr. and Staten Island’s Gary Starks.

Following next month’s outing, DiBella plans to showcase the younger McGirt on a February Boxing After Dark card headlined my Malignaggi. If all goes well, sometime next spring McGirt Jr. would fight a main event on the first Broadway Boxing card ever staged on Long Island.

BROADWAY BOXING
THE MANHATTAN CENTER
GRAND BALLROOM
NEW YORK CITY

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS: Edgar Santana, 139½, Manati, Puerto Rico TKO’d Meacher Major, 138½, Nassau, Bahamas (3)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Jaidon Codrington, 171¾, Bridgeport, Conn., TKO’d Johnny Brooks, 168¾, Whiterock, SC (2)

SUPER MIDDLES: Curtis Stevens, 165, Brooklyn, NY, dec. Marcos Primera, 162¼, Puerto Cabello, Venez. (2)

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Jamelle Hamilton, 150¼, Brooklyn, NY dec. Ken Dunham, 154, Charlotte, NC  (4)

LIGHTWEIGHTS: Prenice Brewer, 133½, Cleveland, Oh. TKO’d Markel Muhammad, 130, Columbus, Oh. (1)

BANTAMWEIGHTS: Noriko Kariya, 118, Toronto, Ont. dec. Elisha Olivas, 118, Denver, Colo. (4)

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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