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Articles of 2006

Broadway Boxing, RSS and the NYSAC

George Kimball



NEW YORK—The most preposterous thing at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom Thursday night wasn’t even that Balboa-esque hat promoter Lou DiBella was walking around in.

DiBella, after all, has a promotional tie-in with the new “Rocky’ movie, which has sponsored several of his recent boxing shows. At least he had an excuse for looking ridiculous.

The New York State Athletic Commission, on the other hand, ought to know better.

For reasons chairman Ron Scott Stevens has not been able to satisfactorily explain, the NYSAC agreed to sanction the co-featured bout between Staten Island’s Gary Stark and former Philippine junior bantamweight champion Vernie Torres as for the “New York State junior featherweight title.”

Now, this isn’t brain surgery. The requirements for fighting for the New York State junior featherweight title would seem to be fairly elementary in nature. A man needs only be two things: a junior featherweight, and from New York.

Torres qualified on the former count (although he’d never fought above bantamweight before) but clearly not on the second. He was born and raised (and spent much of his career fighting) in the Philippines, is domiciled in Florida, and currently trains in Los Angeles. Exactly one of his 34 previous fights even took place in the Empire State – a first-round round KO of Eduardo Manzano on the Roy Jones-David Telesco card at Radio City Music Hall half a dozen years ago.

On the other hand, the NYSAC can take some comfort in the knowledge that they’re not alone in this goofy practice. Torres once also fought for a WBC ‘Latin American’ title, even though the closest he’d ever been in his life to Latin America was Miami.

Hey, Sports illustrated once named a horse its “Sportsman of the Year,” an honor which would no doubt have met with the NYSAC’s approval.

If Laila Ali, say, lost to a man, would he become the WBC Women’s Champion?

In New York, perhaps.

(Nor does an example cited as a precedent by Ron Scott Stevens – the 1968 fight between Joe Frazier and Buster Mathis Sr. for the New York version of the World Heavyweight title – hold up to scrutiny. Although the NYSAC did sanction that fight in which neither boxer was from New York, it was in theory for a ‘world’ title, one which in New York’s eyes lay vacant because in fact the NYSAC itself had led the charge to strip Muhammad Ali of recognition the moment he refused to take that forward step at a Houston induction center.

By the same tortured logic through which Torres was allowed to compete for a New York title, Curtis Stevens can lay claim to the light-heavyweight championship of Wisconsin’s Menominee Tribe this morning after knocking out Jonathan (The Native Sensation) Corn in the main event of DiBella’s final Broadway Boxing card of 2006.

Stevens, a last-minute sub when scheduled headliner Sechew Powell fell out, took the bout on short notice, and with the victory wound up winning his third fight in a 30-day span.

Corn brought a 46-15-2 record to New York, but apart from a few trips to across the Atlantic to lose to Europeans, most of his fighting has been done in Midwestern tribal casinos, and he clearly wasn’t in Stevens’ league.

Stevens took it to him right from the opening bell, and confessed to being overanxious. Although he had Corn hurt several times in the first, the opponent made it through the round, but in the second, said Stevens, “I was able to settle down.”

A pair of left hooks put Corn down, and when he arose Stevens moved in to thud two more hard left hooks off his head. As Corn sagged against the ropes, Stevens teed off, landing at least four solid right hands before referee Eddie Claudio intervened to rescue the noble savage at 2:34 of the second.

“Three wins in 30 days,” said DiBella. “That’s a real old-school performance.”

Stevens had begun the one-month skein by avenging his only career loss by outpointing Marcos Primera (“Of course that loss bothers me,” said Stevens. “It’s always going to be on my record) and two weeks earlier had won the New York State light-heavyweight title with a win over Dhafir Smith (who is, incidentally, from Pennsylvania) on his way to the Manhattan Center.

“I didn’t mind taking the fight on such short notice,” said Stevens, now 16-1. “I’m always in shape and always training, so I was ready to go.”

Thursday night’s card also marked the Broadway Boxing debut of middleweight James McGirt Jr., who it turns out is not exactly a chip off the old block. McGirt fils took up boxing after a collegiate basketball career, and to this day is built more like a basketball player than a boxer. (Father/trainer Buddy, on the other hand, is built like, well, a basketball.)

McGirt’s opponent, New Jerseyite Dennis Sharpe, was fighting his second consecutive southpaw, having gone the distance in losing to Ireland’s Andy Lee on the Wladimir Klitschko-Calvin Brock card at Madison Square Garden last month, and proved more difficult than McGirt had anticipated.

Although McGirt won handily on the scorecards (80-72 on those of Frank Lombardi and Carlos Ortiz, 79-73 on Tony Paolillo’s; the Sweet Science had it somewhat closer at 77-75), it was clear that if DiBella hopes to turn young McGirt into a crowd-pleasing ticket-seller he’s going to have his work cut out for him.

McGirt acknowledged as much.

“I wasn’t expecting Sharpe to come in as tough as he did,” said McGirt after the pedestrian performance. “It was my fault. I was a little lackadaisical because I was expecting an easy fight.”

Although he was never hurt, Sharpe was able to hit McGirt a lot more than he should have, and when McGirt did land he didn’t seem to pack much of a wallop. Neither man was ever remotely in trouble.

McGirt raised his record to 15-0 with the win, and has already been penciled in for a berth on the undercard of DiBella’s February Boxing After Dark card at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which will be headlined by Paulie Malignaggi-Edner Cherry and Powell vs. Ishe Smith.

Sharpe, in absorbing his third straight loss, dropped to 17-4-1.

The possibility that Vernie Torres might make things awkward for the NYSAC never reared its ugly head. Controlling the bout from start to finish, Stark won every round on the scorecards of Lombardi, Ortiz, and Paolillo. All three judges had it 100-89, as did the Sweet Science; referee Ricky Gonzalez docked Torres a point for hitting behind the head in the ninth.)

Although Stark thoroughly battered Torres, using mostly his right hand to score with a debilitating series of body shots and uppercuts, punctuated by the occasional crisp right to the jaw, he was never able to put him down, which could prove worrisome somewhere down the road. Torres is, to be sure, resilient and difficult to damage, but Stark repeatedly hit him with everything he had and never put a dent in him, leading to the inescapable conclusion that the Staten Island Kid can’t break an egg.

“He can’t,” conceded DiBella. “But Gary Stark became a contender tonight.”

The more Stark smacked Torres, a onetime Roy Jones protégé, the more he’d grin, even though he took some pretty severe punishment all night long.

Torres was nicked above the left eye in the first, and sported a big knotty welt around the eye by the sixth. He was bleeding from the nose by the seventh, but he just kept grinning – and losing.

It was the second loss in a row for Torres (27-8), who lost to Jose Navarro at the Mohegan Sun back in May, while Stark marched on at 16-0.

“I’d love to put him in with (IBF champion) Steve Molitor,” said DiBella.

Problem is, Stark isn’t ranked, and a win over what’s left of Vernie Torres probably isn’t going to change that.

“The quickest way to get him ranked (by the IBF),” said DiBella, would be a fight against Mike Oliver,the Hartford boxer who is the USBA champ at the weight.

“We’d fight Oliver – but in New York, not in New England,” the promoter quickly added.

Stark apparently had more pressing concerns. Moments after conquering Torres, he was asked before leaving the ring “What’s next?”

“I’m having sex,” replied Stark.

Once-beaten Brooklyn cruiserweight Shaun George made short work of Cleveland opponent Roosevelt Johnson (5-9-1), knocking him out 2:41 into the first round. George first decked Johnson with a painful left hook to the midsection, and when he arose landed a solid left hook to the jaw, a punch so devastating that referee Eddie Claudio had waved the fight off before Johnson even landed on the floor.  George, whose only loss came via a first-round TKO to Matt Godfrey Foxwoods back in May, improved to 13-1-2 with the win.

Bronx junior lightweight Maureen Shea won a third-round TKO over Mexican Rocio Vasquez, with referee Sparkle Lee stopping the action at 57 seconds of the round. Shea, who rejoined ranks of the undefeated after her May loss to Kim Colbert was changed to No Contest, improved, officially, to 8-0. It was the fifth consecutive loss for Vasquez (6-5), who weighed 106 when she posted her last win two years ago. (She weighed 126½ for Shea.)

In another early bout, Newark welterweight Tolan Tascoe climbed off the floor from a second-round knockdown to win a close but unanimous (38-37 on all three cards) decision over Eusebio Flores of Corona, Queens in a fight that represented the pro debut for both contestants.

Attended by a vocal rooting section, Brooklyn junior featherweight Robert Semidel recorded his second win in as many pro fights, outpointing debutante Harvey Phillips of Cleveland over four rounds, with all three judges scoring it 40-36 for the winner.

Atlantic City middleweight Patrick Majewski (2-0) knocked out Ken Dunham of Charlotte, NC in the curtain-raiser. Dunham (1-2) had battled split Jamelle Hamilton to a split decision in the same ring a month earlier.

DECEMBER 14, 2006

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Curtis Stevens, 172, Brownsville, NY TKO’d Jonathan Corn, 172, Keshena, Wisc. (2)

CRUISERWEIGHTS: Shaun George, 190, Brooklyn, NY KO’d Roosevelt Johnson, 190, Cleveland, Ohio (1)

MIDDLEWEIGHTS: James McGirt Jr., 160, Brentwood, NY dec. Dennis Sharpe, 159¾, Bayonne, NJ (8)

Patrick Majewski, 159, Atlantic City, NJ KO’d Ken Dunham, 158¾, Charlotte, NC (1)

WELTERWEIGHTS: Tolan Tascoe, 145¾, Newark, NJ dec. Eusebio Flores, 147, Queens, NY (4)

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Maureen Shea, 127½, Bronx, NY TKO’d Rocio Vazquez, 126 ½, Ciudad Acuna, Mex. (3)

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS: Gary Stark, 122, Staten Island dec. Vernie Torres, 121¾, Davao, Philippines (10) (Starks wins vacant New York State title)

Robert Semidei Jr., 120, Brooklyn, NY dec. Harvey Phillips, 116½, Cleveland, Ohio (4)


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

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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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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