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Articles of 2006

Not giving up on Women’s Boxing

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Liz Quevedo, one of the standout amateur boxers in the country, recently announced her entry to the world of professional prizefighting.

Can she be the answer to the rise of the sport?

The state of women’s boxing has declined the past few years, especially following the failure of several Las Vegas-like marquee proposed bouts and the unwillingness of television networks to showcase female fights.

Television is not the only problem. Though HBO refuses to spotlight female boxers, other television networks have dwindled showcasing female fighters on their boxing shows in the past year including ESPN, Telefutura and Telemundo. Showtime hasn’t telecast a female fight in years.

Quevedo, a statuesque woman who trains out of a gym in City of Commerce (an industrial city across the freeway from East Los Angeles), captured four U.S. National amateur titles as a junior welterweight and welterweight.

“I’ve done just about as much as I can do in the amateurs,” said Quevedo, 22, who began boxing more than seven years ago. “I’m ready to see what I can do in the pros. At least I can make some money.”

Many compare Quevedo to Lucia Rijker. Though their boxing styles are quite different, the polish and athleticism both possess is what separates them from other female pugilists.

“That’s great that some people compare me to her. We’re different. I’ve always looked up to Lucia Rijker as the best,” Quevedo says.

It was Rijker’s proposed fight against boxing icon Christy Martin that looked to be the spark for female boxing two years ago.But the sudden cancellation of that fight and the secrecy and silence following it seemed to send the entire sport spiraling down.

Top Rank, which was promoting the event, announced that Rijker suffered an injury to her leg but no further date was offered for the fight.

“I still don’t know what really happened,” said Martin who twice had proposed bouts with Rijker and twice had them slip from under her. “I’d like to speak to Lucia about it. I still want to fight her.”

Female boxing is quite different from men’s boxing. First, the rules are different with men fighting three-minute rounds and women two-minute rounds. Second, the world title fights are 12 rounds for men, compared to 10 rounds for women.

One woman is single-handedly attempting to change that.

“It’s not fair that different sets of standards for men and women,” said Layla McCarter, who recently fought in a three-minute world title fight on November 17. Now she’s set to fight a 12-round world title fight on Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. “We train just as hard as the men, sometimes harder. I spar with men.”

Recently Nevada State Athletic Commission allowed McCarter to fight Belinda Laracuente for the GBU lightweight title in three-minute rounds. It broke the ice for women world title bouts.

Now, McCarter is defending her GBU lightweight title and meeting Donna Biggers for the WBA lightweight title in a 12-round bout.

“I broke one barrier now I’m breaking another,” said McCarter, who has openly spoken of meeting Laila Ali in a contest. “If men can do it, so can women.”

The World Boxing Council, one of four leading sanctioning organizations for men’s boxing, recently started overseeing female bouts. But they declined to support three-minute rounds or 12 round title fights.

“I’m glad the GBU and WBA have come to support it,” McCarter said. “We have to get rid of these sexist rules.”

For newcomers like Quevedo, a change from two-minute rounds to three doesn’t make a difference.

“I spar for three minute rounds anyway,” said Quevedo, who is trained by Robert Luna at the same gym that produced Francisco “Panchito” Bojado. “Most of the time we train for five minute rounds.”

“She Bee Stingin”

Three years ago many were hailing the emergence of Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila “She Bee Stingin” Ali as the boost that female prizefighting needed. But though she remains undefeated, those marquee matchups against Ann Wolfe, Leatitia Robinson and Ijeome Egbunine haven’t materialized.

Since 1999 the talented and eye-catching Ali has risen to the top of the rankings, defeated several rock solid opponents, and captured world titles in two weight classes. But the public wants to know why she hasn’t fought Wolfe?

“That’s the fight that can make women’s boxing bigger,” said Rick Smith of Uppercut Magazine. “Laila Ali is the biggest name in boxing and that’s the biggest fight out there without a doubt.”
Ali has steadily improved her boxing skills from a ragged street fighting style to a polish prizefighter capable of beating any female boxer in the world.

“She’s the poster woman for female boxing whether she likes it or not,” said Smith who has seen several of her bouts. “And it’s not just because she’s the daughter of the most famous boxer of all time. She has the ability and looks to carry the sport if she fought more. Or if her fights were televised.”

Three years ago, when several television networks refused to carry Ali’s fight against Martin, her team obtained pay-per-view television. The statistical results proved that an audience would pay to see her fight with more than 100,000 buying the fight on Aug. 23, 2003.

“The Knockout”

Another female icon in boxing is Mia Rosales “The Knockout” St. John who has been fighting professionally since 1997. The IBA and IFBA lightweight titleholder has openly discussed her retirement in 2007.

“I don’t want to be fighting when I’m 40 years old,” said St. John who turns 40 on June 24, 2007. “But I’m just so used to making money from boxing. It’s hard to give it up.”

With 52 professional bouts on her resume, St. John has changed from a Playboy centerfold used on men’s bouts to garner attention to a full-fledged boxer capable of winning two world titles.

St. John and Ali are the two female prizefighters who regularly make more than $10,000 a fight. No one else comes near.

“You have to fight out of the country to make any money,” said St. John who fought in Beijing, China and Edmonton, Canada. “There is no money to be made here.”

St. John, who is scheduled to fight in Croatia on Feb. 5, has a variety of other options to choose including a health and fitness book, her memoirs, television appearances, and book signings.

“There aren’t a lot of known female boxers out there,” St. John said. “Plus, there aren’t many promoters willing to pay decent money.”

Promoters

Boxing promoters have avoided female prizefighting like the plague despite the fact that their bouts often provide the most excitement on many fight cards.
Patrick Ortiz of Ringside Ticket Promotions, Tachi Palace, San Manuel Casino and Morongo Casino have been a small number of boxing promoters willing to allow female bouts on their cards. One new promoter Frank Luca of Crown Promotions recently signed McCarter to a 10-fight deal. But compared to the total number of promoters in California alone, very few even consider staging female prizefights though many top fighters reside in California and Nevada.

Melinda Cooper, a very talented bantamweight out of Las Vegas, captured the flyweight world title and never defended it. It’s not that fighters like Cooper are unwilling to defend their titles, it’s more that promoters are unwilling to spend the money to stage female world title fights.

“You have to pay sanctioning fees, the fighters also get more money and of course you want to make your money back,” said Pete Hiranaka, matchmaker for All Star Promotions in California. They plan to stage a world title bout between flyweight titleholder Elena “Baby Doll” Reid and junior flyweight titleholder Wendy Rodriguez in 2007 if all goes well.

Then you have sanctioning organizations like the WBC who are requesting that fighters defend their titles within a specific time span. If a female world champion can’t find a promoter to spend the money, the organizations strip the fighter of their title. This goes for all sanctioning organizations not just the WBC.

So what can a champion do if no one cares to stage her world title fight?

New blood

Though several marquee matchups worthy of television are available, the money doesn’t compare to what men make.

“The money is just not there,” said St. John, who fought Christy Martin for $100,000 four years ago. “The same fight with Christy Martin [today], we’d be lucky to get $30,000.”

The dozens of amateur boxers like Quevedo coming to the pro ranks bring new blood and a coterie of youth, skill and motivation to fight each other. But sadly, many of these women will find that fighting as a professional doesn’t mean quit your day job.

“I’m going to give it a try for two or three years. If I can’t make any money from boxing than I’ll hang it up while I’m still young enough to make other choices,” said Quevedo. “I’ve already spent seven years boxing for free in the amateurs. I want to get something out of it.”

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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