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Articles of 2006

Hatton Decisions Collazo in Trickeration City

George Kimball



BOSTON – As the posses of both combatants milled about expectantly in the ring, Luis Collazo’s promoter Don King must have gotten a heads-up on the verdict. As Michael Buffer picked up his microphone to announce the result, The World’s Greatest Promoter was heard to mutter “Here we go. Here comes the trickery. John Quincy Adams is spinning in his grave.”

HBO might want to rethink its long-term financial arrangement with Ricky Hatton. On a night the British sensation was supposed to take America by storm, he squeaked out of the TD NorthBank Garden with a narrow but unanimous decision to lift Collazo’s WBA welterweight title.

Many had expected Hatton to wipe up the floor with the Brooklyn champion, and in the early going it appeared he might do just that. The bout wasn’t ten seconds old before Collazo was on the floor after Hatton caught him going backwards and nailed him with a left hook.

Hatton rode the early knockdown to pile up a big early lead, winning the first three rounds, but even then Collazo was doing his share of damage. Before the opening round was over, Hatton was sporting a welt on his right cheekbone.

Near the end of the second Hatton landed a right that lifted Collazo off the floor, and by the third referee John Zablocki had to lead Collazo over to be examined by Dr. Mark Durkin, the ringside physician, to have a cut high on his forehead examined.

By the third, though, Collazo was coming on, punching in combinations off his jab, and as the fight settled into a rhythm of its own it became increasingly apparent that Hatton was having trouble with Collazo’s southpaw attack.

Collazo had to pay another visit to the doctor in the fifth, but by the ninth Hatton was showing even more wear and tear. A nasty hematoma had sprung up on his left cheek, the result of all those Collazo right hands he couldn’t get away from, and his left eye appeared to be closing over the latter third of the fight.

Collazo inexplicably took the 11th round off, but then came on in to dominate the final stanza, a round in which he had Hatton reeling a couple of times.

It was an unexpectedly strong performance from the champion, and one that Collazo thought might have carried the day, but when the scorecards came back, Paul Driscoll and Don O’Neil both had it 115-112 and Leo Gerstel 114-113, all for Hatton.

The Sweet Science card also had it 114-113 Hatton, with the knockdown making the difference. Opinion was divided along press row, with most of the unofficial tallies favoring neither man by more than a point or two. (Ironically, most of the British writers felt Collazo had won.)

“I thought a guy had to do more than he did to take my title,” said a disappointed Collazo. “He was out on his feet in the 12th round.”

“He was stronger than I thought he’d be,” said an obviously relieved Hatton. “I felt stronger at this weight. He never wobbled me, but I took some heavy blows.”

Hatton, who said it had been “four or five years” since he had fought a southpaw, conceded that he was troubled by the style.

“This was my first fight at 147, and it was against a world champion,” said Hatton. “I’ll get better.”

Collazo claimed that the knockdown had come after Zablocki had ordered the fighters to break.

“I took a step backwards, and he threw a punch,” said Collazo. “I thought the referee should have done a better job controlling his holding.”

“They were both holding a lot,” Zablocki said later.

“The only thing you can do is pull them apart and let them keep fighting.”

Hatton was the winner on the scorecards, but his face looked like it had run into the business end of a meat tenderizer. As the SKY television crew from Britain prepared to interview the fighters in the ring, analyst Jim Watt suggested “ask them separately if they want a rematch.”

Collazo did. Hatton didn’t. Nuff said?

His new championship gave Hatton (41-0) a title in a second weight class. He had won the IBF 140-pound belt from Kostya Tszyu last year, and added Carlos Maussa’s WBA crown in November. (He had previously owned the all-but-irrelevant WBU title.)

But on Saturday night Hatton didn’t sound certain that he wanted to even remain a welterweight. Having given up his previous titles to take this fight, he might be considering returning to the more comfortable division.

“Whichever offers the most money,” was the way Hatton put it. “If it’s worth more to fight at 147, I’ll fight at 147. If it’s 140, I’ll fight at 140.”

Collazo (26-2) surrendered the championship he had captured 13 months earlier by winning a split decision over Jose Rivera in the latter’s Worcester hometown. It was the second pro loss for the former champ, who early in his career had been stopped by Edwin Cassiani in Las Vegas.

In the other title bout on the card, Ohioan Eric Aiken (16-4) won the IBF featherweight championship when Rhode Island referee Charlie Dwyer disqualified Brazilian champion Valdemir Pereira in the eighth round for repeated low blows.

Both fighters relied heavily on body attacks, and Aiken was given a respite (and Pereira a warning) after the Brazilian strayed low with a left to the body in the third.

Aiken came back to floor Pereira in each of the next two rounds (with a left hook in the fourth and a right to the body a round later), but Pereria battled back so ferociously over the final minute that he not only averted a two-point round on two judges’ cards (as well as ours) but may well have made it the leader in the clubhouse for Round of the Year.

Having already been cautioned, Pereira put himself in jeopardy with low blows in each of the next two rounds, and was penalized by Dwyer on both occasions. When the Brazilian went south of the border yet again in the eighth, Aiken (cleverly, we thought) reacted as if he’d taken a pitchfork to the scrotum, leading the referee, somewhat to the displeasure of the audience, to wave it off and send the Brazilian off the pitch in disgrace.

The punch was unquestionably below the beltline, but hardly in a lethal spot, and Pereira accused Dwyer of having been taken in by Aiken’s seemingly delayed swoon.

“It’s a shame the referee didn’t know what he was doing,” complained Pereira through an interpreter afterward. “(Aiken) was wearing his cup up high, and (the final low blow) was not intentional.

“Look at the crowd,” he nodded to the unhappy audience. “They know who the winner is.”

Pereira wasn’t exactly dominating, even absent the low blows. At the time of the stoppage, Don Fitzgerald had Aiken ahead 66-63, while judges Lawrence Leyton and Bob Kaprelian had it even at 65-all. (The Sweet Science had Aiken up 67-63.)

“We knew he was a dirty fighter,” said Aiken, who took the title fight on nine days’ notice after original challenger Esham Pickering withdrew with a rib injury. “I had to compose myself, because emotions can take over in a fight like this.”

The loss was the first of his career for Pereira, now 24-1.

Matthew Hatton (28-2-1), the new welterweight champion’s brother, was hard-pressed to win a split decision over Jose Medina (9-7) of Tilton, N.H. Judges Ken Volovek (77-74) and John Mafdis (78-73) favored the Englishman, while Ray DeLicio had Medina ahead 78-74.

There were no knockdowns, but Hatton landed a fourth-round left hook that nearly sent Medina’s mouthpiece into orbit. Once referee Mike Marvelle called ‘time,’ a search party had to be dispatched, and action was held up for over a minute until the missing accessory was located.

Despite knocking down Philadelphian Lamont Cooper in both the second and third rounds, Lowell cruiserweight Joe McCreedy was extended the distance for the first time as a pro. McCreedy (5-0) won 40-34 on all three scorecards. Cooper is now 5-2-1.

New Hampshire junior middleweight Jason LeHoullier stayed unbeaten at 20-0, carving out a unanimous decision over Philadelphia journeyman Michael Melvin (7-6-3). Although LeHoullier won by 60-54 on all three cards, he got a fright when the result was initially announced by Mike Williams as a shutout for Melvin.

Despite earlier predictions of a sellout for Hatton’s first-ever title fight in America, attendance was 7,915 – barely a third of a house.

Although the Boston Garden in its various incarnations has a long and storied boxing history, Saturday night’s was the first major show – and the first-ever world title fight – in the building formerly known as the FleetCenter, and that the hosts were on unfamiliar turf was evident throughout the week.

Several members of the press (along with a couple of undercard fighters desperately waving their paperwork) were denied access to Friday’s weigh-in by a heavy-handed Garden security goon, who threatened the interlopers with arrest on the grounds that the legally-public event was a “private” affair.

Moreover, Garden officials allowed themselves to be conned by the promoters into advertising an appearance by locally-based Irish heavyweight Kevin McBride – even though McBride had been injured in an April 1 fight and had never, ever been scheduled to be on the Boston card. (Had be been healthy and fit, the Clones Colossus would instead have fought on the previous weekend’s Jose Rivera-Terra Garcia card in Worcester.)

But McBride commands a substantial following in his adopted New England, and even though the Irishmen’s handlers had announced that he wouldn’t be fighting way back on April 10, a recording on the Garden switchboard continued to duplicitously proclaim his presence on the Hatton bill right up until the night of the fight.

Exactly how many McBride supporters paid their way in expecting to see Mike Tyson’s final conqueror remains unlearned, but it’s doubtful that the Irishman’s disappointed fans received refunds once the truth emerged. At best it was a shameful piece of false advertising deserving of condemnation from the Massachusetts Boxing Commission.

Although McBride wasn’t scheduled to fight on the Hatton-Collazo card, another Irish heavyweight, James Clancy, was. Clancy’s fight against Boston Police Officer (and former New England Golden Gloves heavyweight champion) Tyrone Smith was a casualty (along with three other undercard bouts) when four of the five fights that did take place went the distance.

A bit of foresight might have suggested that it might have been prudent to commence a nine-bout card a bit before 8 pm, but with midnight approaching and overtime about to kick in, it probably did make economic sense to pay the eight fighters off and send them home rather than pay the freight to keep the building open, but it was particularly disappointing to Clancy, whose fans had purchased nearly $17,000 worth of tickets for the show.

Pellulo claimed that the decision to cut and run had been the Commission’s, but a Commission official told The Sweet Science that it had been the promoter himself who pulled the plug.

* * *

MAY 13, 2006

WELTERWEIGHTS: Ricky Hatton, 147, Manchester, England dec. Luis Collazo, 147, Brooklyn, NY (12) (Wins WBA title)

FEATHERWEIGHTS: Eric Aiken, 125, Marysville, Ohio DQ over Valdemir Pereira, 126, Sao Caetano Du Bol, Brazil (8) (Wins IBF title)

CRUISERWEIGHTS: Joel McCreedy, 176, Lowell dec. Lamont Cooper, 180, Philadelphia (4)

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Jason LeHoullier, 153, W. Nottingham, NH dec. Michael Melvin, 157, Philadelphia (6)

Matthew Hilton, 150, Manchester, England dec. Jose Medina, 151, Tilton, NH (8)


Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch




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, 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




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


Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


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


Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


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



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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