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Articles of 2006

Muangchai Kittikasem: J-Okay

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Titles: WBC Flyweight Title (1991-1992), IBF Jr. Flyweight Title (1989-1990)

Alias: Muanchai Orathaigym
Nickname: J-Okay
Hometown and Birthplace: Chainart, Thailand
Divisions: Jr. Flyweight, Flyweight
Date of Birth: November 11, 1968
Trainer: Sutjai Supalek
Manager: Song Kanchanachusak
Promoter: Songchai Ratanasuban

Record: 25 – 4 – 0, 17 KO’s

In July of 1990, Muangchai Kittikasem traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to defend his IBF Jr. Flyweight belt against Michael Carbajal. It was his first trip to the United States; in fact, it was his first trip outside of Thailand.

Kittikasem had defeated Tacy Macalos of the Philippines in May of 1989 to win the IBF belt. He defeated Macalos again in an October rematch and made two additional defenses before running into the future Hall-of-Famer Michael Carbajal. An entourage of ten accompanied Kittikasem but despite the moral support, it would not be his night. In previous bouts, Kittikasem had serious troubles making weight and was on his way up to the flyweight division. Kittikasem was a young lion but Carbajal was stronger and violently evicted the Thai from his territory.

A drained Kittikasem would be knocked down four times before losing his title to Carbajal via 7th round TKO.

Kittikasem would then go on to defeat Sot Chitalada to win the WBC Flyweight title in February of 1991 and again in a rematch but then suffered two devastating knockout losses to another rising star, Yuri Arbachakov, effectively ending his career.

The Sweet Science caught up with Kittkasem at his used car dealership late Saturday morning and found him more than willing to talk about his career and the current state of boxing.

TSS: Right off the bat I’ll ask the one question I always ask of boxers from Thailand. Did you fight in Muay Thai before boxing and if so, did you win any championships like the Lumpini or Rajdamnern Stadium titles?

Muangchai Kittikasem: Yes, I fought around forty to fifty Muay Thai fights. I never won any championships though.

TSS: What was your record?

Muangchai Kittikasem: It’s hard for me to remember but I lost around ten fights and won the rest.

TSS: Why did you switch to boxing and who got you to do so?

Muangchai Kittikasem: I was fighting in Muay Thai. A promoter called and told me one of the fighters had dropped out. He asked if I’d be willing to box him and I said yes. The next thing I knew I was boxing and no longer fighting in Muay Thai.

TSS: What was the most you made for one fight? Was it the Carbajal fight?

Muangchai Kittikasem: Yes. I made around 5 million baht for that fight. At the time the baht was 25 to the dollar so it was more money than I’d ever seen. But Carbajal, I think he made five times as much as I did – and I was the champion.

TSS: He was the bigger name though.

Muangchai Kittikasem: It would have been nice to make what he made! In fact, if he reads this, ask him if we can do some sort of tour. I’ve only been to America one time and that was for the fight against him. I’d like to go back; maybe do a little shopping and some sightseeing.

Also, say hello to Yuri Arbachakov in Japan and Tacy Macalos in the Philippines.

TSS: Tell me about the fight with Carbajal. What happened? How difficult was it to make the weight and did that make any difference in winning or losing the bout?

Muangchai Kittikasem: I went to the U.S. two weeks before the fight so it was plenty of time. At that point, it was very hard to make weight. By the day of the fight, I was drained and very weak. He was an excellent fighter though and I just did not have it in me to beat him at that time.

TSS: Who was your toughest fight against? Was it Carbajal or Arbachakov or someone else?

Muangchai Kittikasem: They were both very good fighters and I feel no shame in having lost to them. Carbajal was probably the bigger puncher though and it was difficult for me fighting in America – for the first time – in front of his crowd.

TSS: You came back after nearly three years only to lose to Shigeru Nakazato.
What made you come back?

Muangchai Kittikasem: I should not have come back but I missed boxing. Of course, the money helped too but the real reason was I missed fighting.

TSS: How did you do in boxing financially?

Muangchai Kittikasem: I did ok but in Thailand, fighters normally only receive 30% of their purse. The rest goes to the manager, trainer, matchmaker and promoter.

TSS: You’re thirty-eight now. What have you been up to after boxing?

Muangchai Kittikasem: Running my business, selling used cars.

TSS: How did you get into selling used cards? What made you say, “I think I’ll open a car dealership and start selling used cars.”

Muangchai Kittikasem: I got married at the end of my career. We have two children now, a boy and girl. But by the time my career was over, I really did not have any money left. My father-in-law owned a taxi business where he rented out taxis. He suggested we open a car dealership together. He had the money and I had the name so it worked well for both of us.

TSS: How’s business?

Muangchai Kittikasem: It’s good. We always have 15 or 20 cars on the lot and that’s plenty. Any more and I wouldn’t have any time left. Someone’s always calling me asking if I’ve got this car or that car, when will I get this model or that model. So we’re busy and it’s a good business for me to be in.

TSS: What’s your take on boxing in Thailand these days? Do you still watch it?

Muangchai Kittikasem: I don’t usually watch it much and if I do, it’s only for a few minutes.

TSS: Why is that?

Muangchai Kittikasem: Boxing isn’t the same as it used to be. Nowadays it’s all business. The truth is boxing in Thailand has gone downhill in the past 15 years. Before you had guys like Sot Chitlada, Khaosai Galaxy, Chartchai Chionoi, Pone Kingpetch and Samart Payakarun. Now there are so many titles available it’s just not the same. Look at the rankings. You’ve got guys ranked in the top spots who have never beaten anyone. They win one regional title and then they’re in the top ten.

TSS: What do you think about Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and what he’s accomplished?

Muangchai Kittikasem: He’s been marketed well. His people talk about the Hall of Fame and how many times he’s defended his title – but against who? They are the only ones who talk about the Hall of Fame.

TSS: Why won’t he fight in the U.S. or against some of the bigger name fighters?

Muangchai Kittikasem: He won’t fight in the U.S. because he’ll get beat.

TSS: He could do more with his title.

Muangchai Kittikasem: I’m proud to have fought Carbajal and Arbachakov. Even though I lost, I lost to two great boxers, fighters who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

TSS: You fought and defeated Sot Chitalada. You’re friends with him. Was it difficult for you to fight him?

Muangchai Kittikasem: Yes, I respect him very much and while I was happy I won, I was sad that I had to beat him.

TSS: Are there any Thai fighters you do like?

Muangchai Kittikasem: No, not really.

TSS: How about western fighters?

Muangchai Kitkasem: Oh, I don’t know. Muhammad Ali is someone I would like to meet. But really, I don’t watch boxing much so I don’t know a lot of the fighters.

Time to go eat. Are you hungry?

TSS: No, I ate lunch right before I came here.

Muangchai Kittikasem: Ok, we’re finished? I’m really hungry and need to get some lunch.

TSS: No problem. Thanks for meeting with me.

Muangchai Kittikasem: No problem. Call me anytime.

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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