Aussie boxing wrap-up

By Anthony Cocks

Boxing in Oz
Boxing in Oz



WBA number 15 ranked light heavyweight ‘President’ Reagan Dessaix 16-1 (11) staked his claim as the best 175-pound fighter in Australia with a devastating one-punch second-round knockout of Steve Lovett 17-3 (13) at Seagulls Rugby League Club in Tweed Heads, New South Wales on Saturday night.


The 22-year-old former amateur star disguised a savage right uppercut behind a blinding jab late in the second frame that caught the accomplished Canberran right on the button and crumpled him into the ropes.


Speaking to Maxboxing before the fight, Dessaix was confident he could get rid of the Lovett within the distance.     


“One hundred percent I do,” said the proud Queenslander, who was making the first defence of the WBA Oceania title he won against Ghana’s Peter Ato Ricketts in May in what was scheduled to be a 10-round fight. “This is boxing and anything is possible anytime.”


The 33-year-old Lovett, a highly-decorated amateur in his own right, has been based out of the United States for much of his pro career but returned to Australia after back-to-back knockout defeats to Craig Baker and Lionell Thompson in eight and four rounds respectively.


Now that Brisbane’s Dessaix has passed his toughest test to date he is expected to be matched with other world ranked fighters in 2019.


“At the moment I’m only focusing on the now and if everything goes to plan this Saturday night,” Dessaix told Maxboxing last week. “I’ll leave that up to my great management team of Tony Tolj and Angelo Hyder to decide.”




WBO number 12 ranked cruiserweight Jai Opetaia 16-0 (13) will head to Belgium next month to face IBF number nine Bilal Laggoune 24-1-2 (13) for the IBF Intercontinental title at the Spiroudome Arena in Charleroi, Hainaut on December 15.


The 23-year-old southpaw was originally scheduled to face Laggoune, 26, on October 20 before a hand injury derailed the fight.


The bout will be Opetaia’s first 12 round fight and fourth outside of Australia after having competed in Mexico, New Zealand and Samoa early in his career.


Promoter Alain Vanackere believes that Laggoune’s superior professional experience will be the difference against the Sydney wunderkind.


“Bilal is tough and has fought a better level of opponents than his challenger and while he has the one loss on his record, he hasn’t been stopped in 25 fights,” Vanackere said.


“When you look closely at Jai’s record you will see that this is his first 12 round fight and the longest he has gone in his career to date is nine rounds.


“On the other hand, this will be Bilal’s eighth 12 round fight and he has gone the distance in four of them. Bilal never underestimates his opponent and is confident his superior work rate and pressure he can apply will tire the young Aussie and that he can finish him off in the later rounds.”


The fight will be Opetaia’s toughest test to date, but one that he is more than ready for, according to Michael Francis of Xtreme Sports.


“Our team have been looking closely at Bilal Laggoune for some time now, and Jai is confident he can give a career best performance and cruise to victory,” said Francis.


“He knows he has his back against the wall travelling to the champion’s backyard and enters this fight the distinct underdog, however he is confident he has the skills to counter Laggoune’s style.


“Jai is a big puncher and while the plan is not to go head hunting, if the opportunity presents itself, he will be going for the knockout.”


Opetaia is arguably Australia’s best performed amateur boxer of the modern era. He won gold at the World Junior Championships in Kazakhstan in 2011 and became Australia’s youngest ever Olympic boxer when he competed at the 2012 London Games as a 16-year-old heavyweight.




Big-punching super middleweight contender Zac ‘Dynamo’ Dunn 26-1 (21) is looking to close the year on a high with a dominant performance against once-beaten Oklahoman Bo Gibbs Jr 20-1 (8) in a 10-round fight for the vacant WBA Oceania title at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington this Saturday, November 17.


Dunn, 27, has strung together three knockout wins since his shock loss to Scotland’s David Brophy while making the first defence of his Commonwealth 168-pound crown in March last year.


WBO number nine ranked Dunn has been sparring undefeated Polish middleweight contender Kamil Szeremeta 18-0 (4), who is rated WBA number three, WBC number four and IBF number five at 160-pounds.


The Big Time Boxing show will also feature heavyweight prospect Willis Meehan 6-0 (5) up against Richard Nemeth 3-0 (3) of Hungary in a six round contest. The talented 23-year-old is the son of former WBO world title challenger Kali Meehan, who came within a hair’s breadth of beating big-hitting American heavyweight Lamon Brewster in their 2004 world title clash.


The seven-fight card will also showcase promising female middleweight Tayla Harris 4-0 against Sarah Dwyer 3-4-1 (1) for the vacant national crown over eight two-minute rounds. Southpaw Kris Terzievski 5-0-1 (4) will clash with Hunter Sam 11-12-2 (4) for the vacant Victorian heavyweight title in an eight rounder.




Super middleweight contender Rohan ‘No Mercy’ Murdock 23-1 (17) has been matched with WBO number 11 Rolando Mansilla 14-5-1 (6) of Argentina over 10 rounds on the undercard of the Dennis Hogan versus Jamie Weetch fight at the Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane on December 15.


The 26-year-old Gold Coast puncher, who is ranked WBO number six and IBF number 15 at 168-pounds, is looking for a dominant showing on the DDP Sports promoted card.


“Mansilla is the current South American champ and ranked number eleven in the world,” said Murdock, who will be contesting the vacant WBO Oriental title. “A win on December 15 will boost myself into the top five. These are the fights my team and I have been chasing since day one.”


Promoter Paul Keegan of DDP Sports says a win will put Murdock in the picture for a world title fight in the new year.


“This is what stepping up is all about, a win here puts Murdock into the top five in the world and very close to a world title shot in 2019,” said Keegan.




The supporting bouts for the highly-anticipated catchweight clash between former world titleholders Jeff Horn 18-1-1 (12) and Anthony Mundine 48-8- (28) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on November 30 have been announced.


Along with the Australian super featherweight title fight between Brent Rice 8-0 (2) and Liam Wilson 2-0 (2) revealed here last week, another eight fights have been added to the card.


Once-beaten welterweight Cameron Hammond 17-1 (9) has been matched with Venezuelan knockout artist Frank Rojas 23-1 (22) over 10.


WBO number three ranked lightweight Kye MacKenzie 20-1 (17) has been paired with undefeated but untested West Australian southpaw Francis Chua 5-0-1 (2) in a six rounder.


In what promises to be one of the fights of the night, Ben Mahoney 5-0 (2) clashes with Adrian Rodriguez 11-1-2 (5) over five rounds at middleweight.


Cruiserweight David Aloua 12-2 (8) returns from an 18-month layoff to face Ipswich boxer Kurtis Pegoraro 11-4 (1) over four.


Junior welterweight Youssef Dib 9-0 (4) will face Blake Minto 11-1-2 (2) over four.


Meanwhile in a female bout at featherweight Brisbane’s Kori Farr 2-4-2 will face Tasmanian Krystina ‘Mousey’ Jacobs 1-0 over four rounds.


Ben Horn – brother of Jeff – will make his professional debut at junior middleweight against fellow first-timer Lachlan O’Shea over four.


Talented heavyweight Joseph Goodall 4-0 (4) will also fight a four rounder against an opponent to be named.




Recurrent injuries have forced former Australian super middleweight champion Jake Carr 16-2 (6) to hang up the gloves.


“As most know, I have suffered multiple perforations of my eardrums (eight) and after numerous appointments with specialists there isn’t a procedure to strengthen my eardrum,” Carr, 27, revealed on social media.


“With there currently being no permanent damage to my eardrum, I run the risk of this injury continuing and potentially having my hearing permanently affected. Boxing doesn’t last forever and my health after boxing is important.

“Absolutely gutted to announce I won’t be fighting anymore and after the last 20 months or so I thought perhaps I was due for a break but that’s life. I busted my ass every day and love boxing but you can’t change certain circumstances in your life.

“I’m still young and have some amazing people in my life.”


Maxboxing wishes Carr all the very best for his future away from the ring.




Australian boxing mourns the passing of one of the stalwarts of the sport with the death of Ern McQuillan Jr OAM.


Born in 1926, McQuillan was the son of famed Sydney trainer Ern McQuillan Sr who worked with some of Australia’s best, including Ron Richards, Vic Patrick, Jack Hassen, Clive Stewart, Bobby Dunlop and Tony Mundine. It is no surprise then that McQullan Jr took up the gloves, fighting under the name Ernie Mack.


But it was with the camera and not the mitts that McQuillan Jr really made his name. He photographed many sports and had a knack for capturing those rare moments that tell a thousand words, even serving as a war photographer during the Vietnam war. McQuillan was by all accounts generous with his time and shared his vast knowledge with young reporters in the notoriously tough publishing trade.


McQuillan’s iconic shots of Melbourne Cup winners, sports, celebrities, political events and wars will live on in perpetuity.    


Maxboxing passes on our condolences to McQuillan’s many family and friends.


Boxing in Oz
Boxing in Oz

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