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Boxing downunder: Mundine plans to sit out anthem at Green fight, underdog Quinlan ready to break the leash, Altamura expands his empire

Mundine_H1.jpg
Mundine_H1.jpg

By Anthony Cocks


Anthony “The Man” Mundine 47-7 (27) announced this week his plan to sit down during the Australian national anthem before his high-profile rematch with Danny Green 35-5 (28) on Friday night at Adelaide Oval, North Adelaide.

 

Refusing to acknowledge the national anthem isn’t exactly new. The sit-in has become a popular form of protest of late with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking to his posterior when the US anthem is played ahead of his San Francisco 49ers games.

The 29-year-old African-American says that this action is his way of protesting against the treatment of black people and people of colour in the United States. Mundine holds a similar view on his country’s anthem and its symbolic relationship to Australian indigenous people.

 

“I’ll have no choice but to take a seat,” Mundine told the Herald-Sun on Monday. “It’s a racist anthem and doesn’t represent our people. It’s disrespectful to our people. And this is close to my heart.”

Mundine also took issue with popular indigenous singer Jessica Mauboy singing the anthem.

 

“I like Jessica but it’s not for our people,” he said. “They are just using her because she is black.”

 

It is being reported that that the promotor will arrange for the anthem to be sung prior to the fighters entering the ring to avert any pre-fight angst. But the 41-year-old Sydneysider insists this isn’t about stirring up controversy, but rather about taking a stand for what he believes in.

 

“I’m not trying to divide people or be controversial… It’s about respecting each other’s cultures,” he said.

 

“They need to respect our as much as we respect theirs.

 

“We’re not young and free,” he added, referring to a well-known line in Advance Australia Fair.

 

“My people are still being oppressed,” he said. “Nothing’s changed. It’s about educating the people. The anthem isn’t right. It’s not for all Australia.

 

“I just can’t stand up for something I don’t believe in.”

 

The 10 round fight is expected to draw a live gate of 30,000 people and a record Australia-wide TV audience via Foxtel’s pay-per-view arm, Main Event. Over 20,000 tickets have already been sold with a big walk-up crowd expected on the night.

 

43-year-old Green, from Perth, remains a firm favourite with the bookmakers largely due to the agreed-upon catchweight of 83kg (183 pounds).

 

Mundine has largely been campaigning as a junior middleweight since 2010.

 

Two days out from the fight Mundine insisted on reminding journalists and fans just what a special talent he is. “I believe I am the most flamboyant, charismatic, diverse, explosive athlete there has ever been in this country – ever,” he boasted.

 


Quinlan unfazed by underdog status ahead of Eubank Jr fight

 

He might be a virtual unknown in the northern hemisphere, but IBO super middleweight champion Renold “Dunghutti Warrior” Quinlan 11-1 (7) is taking zero notice of the English press and bookmakers who have him ranked a 12-1 outsider against the quick, slick and eminently more recognisable Chris Eubank Jr. 23-1 (18).

 

While the son of the famous British middleweight and super middleweight world champion has kept his mouth in perpetual motion throughout the lead-up to the bout, Quinlan has been quietly toiling away in a shed converted into a gym on the New South Wales northern coast in Australia, thousands of miles away from the bright lights of London where the fight will be held at the Olympia on Saturday night.

 

The soft-spoken titleholder is adamant that he has what it takes to take Eubank Jr out.

 

“I can’t wait to get in the ring and prove everyone wrong,” Quinlan was quoted in the Daily Telegraph. “I’m ready to do what I have to.”

 

The fight will be something of a step up for Quinlan, but hardly the huge leap in class some pundits would have you believe. A second-round KO of former unified IBF and WBA world middleweight champion Daniel Geale in Launceston in his last outing compares favourably to Eubank Jr’s best performance, a 12 round split decision loss to undefeated WBO middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders.

 

“I was confident before I went down to Tasmania and I’m confident again now,” said the 27- year-old from Kempsey, NSW. “The victory will open up a lot of big doors for me.”

 

If all things go to plan, a win over Eubank Jr. will just be the first step along a road that leads to a fight with Kazakhstani middleweight kingpin Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

 

“We just want to keep going up and up until we get to GGG,” he said. “We’re ready to rumble.”

 

In what can be seen as an omen of sort, Quinlan’s wife Lilly gave birth to the couple’s first son Quade on the Friday before his long flight to England. Quade will join Quinlan’s daughters Sarayah, 5, Sienna, 3, and Armani, 3.

 

“It was a real blessing that he came when he did so I could be there for that moment,” he said of the birth.

 

The fight marks ITV’s PPV debut and will be broadcast in Australia on Sunday, February 5 at 5:00am AEDT. (available Feb. 4 on ITVBOXOFFICE.CO.UK)

 

If Quinlan can upset the applecart, he’ll make those punters who took up the $12 odds very, very happy.

 

Altamura expands his empire into the East

 

Australia’s leading boxing manager Mike “John Wayne” Altamura shocked many in the boxing world recently with his signing of 2016 Olympic welterweight gold medallist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan.

 

The surprise wasn’t so much the dual Olympian’s signature itself, but rather the announcement that he was signing a promotional pact with Altamura rather than a managerial one.

 

Yes, the newly formed MJA Entertainment is a promotional outfit with plans to break into the burgeoning Chinese market. And southpaw superstar Yeleussinov is a central part of those plans.

 

“Absolutely,” agreed Altamura. “It’s an impact signing and something that has caught the attention of industry folk the world over. It reflects that we’re entering the real boxing market, and dedicated to building stars from scratch.”

 

Altamura isn’t one to do things by halves and true to form he is going all in with the China expansion. The plan is to establish the company and develop a slick, professional product that provides elite-level fights featuring high level athletes that entertain boxing fans the world over. The short-term goal is to have a minimum of two world title contests each promotion this year, a lofty goal for any novice promotor.

 

It is the sort of lofty ambition that wouldn’t succeed without a good level of strategy behind it, not to mention sacrifice and self-belief.

 

“It’s been in the works a long time and definitely the next necessary step in the industry,” said the 33-year-old from Greensburough, Victoria. “I’ve turned down a lot of high profile matchmaker and secondary executive positions internationally because I had faith in something blossoming that fit in line with what I have envisioned for my future. This opportunity in China with my investment partners is it!”

 

Setting up shop in China meant that Altamura needed to start a roster of emerging talent and 25-year-old Rio Olympic welterweight gold medallist Yeleussinov seemed as good a place as any to start. The Kazakhstani mollydooker compiled a stellar amateur record of 246-14 and along with his Olympic gold, Yeleussinov can also boast a gold medal at the 2013 World Championships, silver at the 2015 World Championships and an earlier trip to the Olympics in 2012. Already a star in his native Kazakhstan, Altamura is hoping to parlay that popularity into professional success both in and out of the ring.

 

Not satisfied with one blue-chip signing, Altamura doubled down on Kazakhstani superstars and signed 26-year-old two-time Olympic bronze medallist Ivan Dychko. At 6’9” the towering heavyweight accrued an outstanding 181-18 ledger as an amateur, losing a controversial decision to current IBF world heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua by scores of 13-11 at the 2012 London Olympics.

Dychko still believes he defeated Joshua and is looking forward to the opportunity to exact his revenge in the pro ranks.

 

“Daniyar Yeleussinov, his brother Dauren, and Ivan Dychko are just the beginning,” he said. “China is the fastest growing economy globally, and the interest and resources available along with sponsorship support allow us to bring world-class athletes to showcase in that market.

“My goal is to make Beijing the epicentre of world boxing. People talk about Vegas-style events. In 3-4 years, fans globally we hope will be desiring to see ‘Beijing-style’ events.”

But the Far East isn’t the only new market being targeted by the ambitious Altamura.

 

“Our major base will be Beijing and Shanghai and that won’t change,” he said, “but within 12 months I’ll be looking to break into other markets and build the presence in select locations around the globe.”

 

Parker vs Fury in the works

 

The promotor of the WBO world title fight between Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker 22-0 (18) and undefeated Brit Hughie Fury 20-0 (10) will be determined this week when the Puerto Rican sanctioning body hosts a purse bid for the bout at their head office on Wednesday 1st February.

 

The minimum bid is US $1 million with the purse split 60-40 in favour of the champion.

If Parker’s promotor Duco Events wins the bid the fight could take place as soon as early April. It is unknown when Fury’s promotor Frank Warren would look to host the event if he secures the rights to the fight.

 

Word is that Duco Events fancy their chances against Fury and are looking forward to other big name opponents later in the year: the winner of the IBF world title bout between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, WBC kingpin Deontay Wilder, and former unified cruiserweight champion and WBA heavyweight champ David Haye amongst the names topping their wishlist.

 

Aussie boxing heats up in March

 

Everywhere you look in Australia in March there seems to be a fight on. Whether you are in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland or the Northern Territory, you can catch a live fight card next month with no less than 11 events scheduled to take place.

 

According to BoxRec.com, that’s eight different promoters with over 90 fights pencilled in. Boxing in Australia hasn’t looked this healthy in a long time.

 

The two Commonwealth title fights look the goods. All action fighter Anthony Buttigieg 12-0 (3) will clash with the talented Rocky Jerkic 15-0 (12) for the vacant 154 pound strap on 3rd March, while world ranked super middleweight contender Zac Dunn 23-0 (18) will make the maiden defence of his 168 pound Commonwealth bauble against Scotsman David Brophy 18-1-1 (2) on 17th March. Both fights are headlining Brian Amatruda cards at the home of boxing, The Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington, Victoria.

 

Mark Ericksen of Pacific Promotions is bringing boxing back to Darwin with a five fight all heavyweight card at the Convention Centre on 27th March. Former world ranked puncher Solomon Haumono 24-3-2 (21) will fight for the interim WBA Oceania title against 7’1” Julius Long 18-20 (14) over 12, while Australian heavyweight champion Willie Nasio 10-2 (9) will defend his crown against Demsey McKean 9-0 (3) over 10.

 

In Melbourne on 25th March KO artist Mitch Middleton Clark 11-2 (11) will be looking for revenge against Clint Alderton 7-1 (5) when they clash for the vacant IBF Pan Pacific light heavyweight strap over 12.

 

Their first clash for the Victorian state title at 175 pounds was a barnburner despite “Big Country” injuring his right knee in the 4th and losing a hard-fought split decision. The rematch tops what promises to be another stacked Team Ellis card at The Melbourne Pavilion.

 

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Abuse? Email: AnthonyC1974@gmail.com



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