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Articles of 2006

Eddie Sanchez Returns at Fantasy Springs Casino

David A. Avila

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Bad things happen to Eddie Sanchez so why is he always smiling?

When a man stabbed him in a fit of road rage a few years back he simply moved away from that area. Or when a hurricane ravaged his New Orleans digs while he was training he moved from that area too. Yet, he still smiles.

Sanchez, a 6-2 in height welterweight/middleweight, faces Abdias Castillo (9-14-1)of Texas in a middleweight bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, on Saturday, March 25. The fight card is promoted by Ringside Ticket.

“If Eddie is in shape he can fight with anybody,” said Patrick Ortiz, the promoter who has inserted Sanchez in several of his fight cards. “He’s a good fighter.”

With his long arms and good boxing ability, Sanchez has been able to fight from 147 pounds to 165 pounds. But he knows where he belongs.

“I’m really a welterweight,” Sanchez (14-5-2, 9 KOs) admits. “But usually they call me to fight middleweights or super middleweights.”

Though very lean and tall, the Mazatlan-born prizefighter packs a wallop in either fist and has that uncanny ability to enter the ring with little preparation.

“Sometimes I only get a few days,” Sanchez, 30, said.

Against junior middleweight contender J.C.Candelo a couple of years ago, it was only a few hours.

It was a smoldering hot summer day on August 13, 2004 when Sanchez traveled with his manager Lou Messina to Temecula to check out some boxing and grab a bite to eat.

“The food was free and I was hungry,” Sanchez remembers.

Casually picking up sandwich bread from a luncheon spread, a promoter asked him if he could possibly accept a fight if necessary. He never took a bite of that sandwich he was making.

Instead Sanchez made a meal out of Candelo in a 12-round title fight for the vacant GBU light middleweight title. Using his reach and movement, the Mexican middleweight confused the Colombian and rattled jabs off his face throughout the fight. It was one of the biggest upsets of the year and was seen by many on ESPN. It’s still being shown on the cable sports network.

“People always tell me they saw my fight on television,” he said. “I’ve never seen it.”

Sanchez beguiled Candelo with a steady jab that worked like one of those electric cattle prongs. And when Candelo became too aggressive, big right hands thundered off his head.

The win proved a pivotal revelation.

“It did help me…It told me Candelo is one of the best fighter in the world and I beat him. I guess people make it seem they are unbeatable,” Sanchez said of his win by unanimous decision. “But after that fight, it opened my mind a lot more to let me know I can really do this. I just have to find a good trainer.”

Sanchez has never seen a tape of that fight where a hungry and tired fighter use his inner fire to outbox a fighter who had given Winky Wright a dozen rounds of hell.

Boxing experts know that Sanchez can beat anybody including a world champion.

“He’s got an awkward style that can give even a champion problems,” said Paul Hernandez, a boxing publisher and former boxing promoter. “With those long arms of his he causes a lot of problems.”

When Sanchez faced number one WBO contender Jose Celaya a couple of years back, it was a shock to many when it ended in a knockout victory.

But losses to Teddy Reid and Archak “Shark Attack” TerMeliksetian proved he needs something more to stay in the upper echelon of boxing.

“I moved to Orange County so I can focus for my fights,” said Sanchez, who is married and has two children. “I don’t have a trainer, I’m training myself.”

When his wife was stuck in the middle of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that followed, the father of two found it difficult to prepare for his September 30 fight while his family was stuck in New Orleans.

But he pulled through.

A few years earlier, after a motorist stabbed him on the side of a freeway following an argument, he survived the attempted murder too.

Now, after surviving numerous setbacks, altercations and disasters, Sanchez still has a shot at cracking the upper echelon of welterweights or middleweights despite several losses on his record.

“You never know about Eddie Sanchez. He can look ordinary against and ordinary fighter or great against a great fighter,” said Ortiz who has promoted several of his bouts. “But he has the talent.”

After enduring tragedies and near death one would expect a morose and sullen man instead of the cheek-to-cheek smiles.

“I’m a happy guy,” Sanchez says.

Kaliesha West Returns Too

On the same fight card as Sanchez’s bout, Moreno Valley’s Kaliesha West makes her second appearance as a professional when she meets Tonia Craven at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino.

West, who also ran track at Moreno Valley, a track home paradise suburb east of Riverside, has been fighting for about seven years as an amateur where she entered just about any tournament that would take her.

She just plain loves to fight.

At 5-5 and quick as a wisp, West follows every word of advice offered by her father Juan West, a former boxer who now devotes every ounce of energy to his energetic daughter.

“Oh Kaliesha comes to fight,” says the father, who gave up a pro career to raise his daughter and son. “Are they ready for Kaliesha.”

With her nimble footwork and flashing hand-speed the former amateur standout and a junior Golden Gloves National champion arrived in the pro scene with an over-exuberant showing against Great Britain’s Suszannah Warner (3-2) who recently defeated Noriko Kariya (3-1), the sister of NHL Hockey star Paul Kariya. That win put more credibility on West’s ability.

In the bout between Warner and the young supercharged West, it was speed versus a long jab that seemed to land from across a room. Warner’s long pole of a jab kept West a little off-balance until she adjusted and began landing left hooks. It was a left hook that dropped Warner. After that, West was in control and rampaged to victory with combination punching rarely seen from a boxer in her pro debut.

“Kaliesha has fought all kinds of fighters as an amateur,” says her father Juan. “She can fight any style of fighter.”

If that’s not enough, she also spars with world-class fighters like Melissa Cooper, Mariana Juarez and Heather Percival.

“She’s picking up real fast,” said Larry Ramirez of Fontana, who let’s his charge Heather Percival work with the teenager. “Pretty soon she’s going to be too much to handle.”

West seems oblivious to all of the hoopla surrounding her pro arrival.

“I was made for this,” she said after her first prizefight. “I love the attention.”

Facing her will be Tonia Craven, a hard-hitting bantamweight from New Mexico who fought to a draw against Yvonne Chavez in a match that was televised. In that bout, it appeared that Craven came within a punch of stopping Chavez but just ran out of time.

Female bouts are two-minute rounds.

Craven is a gutsy fighter with solid boxing skills who poses a danger against an over-excited fighter like West.

“I think Kaliesha can handle any kind of fighter,” says Juan West. “Not many people can box like Kaliesha.”

For tickets and information call (800) 827-2946. The doors open at 6 p.m.

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

David A. Avila

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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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