The Aussie report: Boxing from the land down under

By Anthony Cocks

Aussie news
Aussie news



Melbourne middleweight Tej Pratap Singh 13-5-2 (7) is seething after what he believes was dubious refereeing that cost him an important victory over former IBF 160-pound champion Sam Soliman 46-16-1 (19) at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington on Friday night.


In an ugly fight marred by frequent clinches, hip-tosses and grappling tactics, the 44-year-old Soliman was able to hold on to eke out a majority decision win after 10 uninspiring rounds.


Singh, who was deducted two points and had what appeared to be a pair of knockdowns ruled slips in the final round, left the ring immediately after the fight anticipating a stitch-up on the scorecards.


He returned to hear the official verdict, with two of the three judges awarding the fight to Soliman by scores of 96-92 and an astonishingly wide 98-90 while the third judge had it even at 94 apiece.


In the aftermath Singh, who was defending the WBA Oceania title he won against Jake Carr in March, posted a short video clip of the fight to his Facebook page that showed Soliman coming in low and grabbing him by the left leg in the clinch, lifting him up to prevent him from punching.


“This is what happened in the whole fight and I got told off and got two points deducted for holding, great refereeing,” Singh lamented.


WBA Oceania have received multiple complaints about the fight, including an informal protest from the Singh camp about the result.


“Under highly controversial circumstances, former world champion Sam Soliman dethroned WBA Oceania middleweight champion Tej Prateep [SIC] Singh at the Melbourne Pavilion on Friday night,” the regional office of the Panamanian sanctioning body posted on their website.


“This office have received numerous complaints and comments. We have received an informal protest from Singh’s team and are awaiting for a formal petition so we can decide what the next steps are.”


This is not the first time referee Malcolm Bulner has found himself the centre of controversy. In April 2016 Bulner was the third man in the ring for the Randy Petalcorin versus Omari Kimweri fight for the WBC silver flyweight title at the same venue. The fight was ruled a split decision victory for Kimweri after as many as four knockdowns of the Australian-based Tanzanian boxer were missed by Bulner.


Singh’s trainer Gerry Murphy is evaluating his options with the WBA and the state-based sports administrative body the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board in Victoria.


“I have spoken to the WBA, they contacted me and expressed great disappointment at the way the fight was handled by the referee Malcolm Bulner, a WBC referee who was appointed to do the fight only minutes before the fight as a political argument that had nothing to do with either Singh or Soliman, made the Boxing Board of Control [the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board] decide to change the WBA referee,” said Murphy in correspondence with Maxboxing.


“The WBA have asked me to make an official complaint to their Board. It had been reported to the Board by the attending WBA supervisor that two points had unnecessarily been taken off Tej Singh and that two knockdowns in the last round were not awarded to Singh resulting in Sam Soliman winning the title.


“She also told them that the referee lost control of the bout from the outset in that the referee allowed Soliman to drop to the canvas on nearly 20 occasions during the bout to avoid an attack, then claim he had slipped on imaginary water, and did not deduct a point or warn him.


“[Bulner] allowed Soliman to get away with Abandonment (very strict rule due to the danger of being badly injured), by turning his back to Singh on numerous occasions, but not issue a point deduction or disqualification. Ducking so low that Soliman’s head was at the height of Singh’s knee, creating a danger of Singh badly injuring Soliman if he had moved forward with his knee.”


Whether the result can be addressed by a rematch remains to be seen, but Murphy isn’t holding his breath.


“I am in discussion with Tej as to whether or not it would be worthwhile doing a rematch as he is keen but I see no point, therefore we have not made the official complaint to the WBA as yet,” said Murphy. “Not to mention the $500 US fee to have the Board review it and enforce a rematch.


“I have also made an official complaint to the Victorian Boxing Board of Control requesting an inquiry into the actions of the referee and for them to overturn the decision and conclude it a no contest. They have officially emailed me and will notify me when the inquiry is done and its outcome, if any.”


If there is one positive to be taken out of this situation it’s the overwhelming support Singh has received in person and online from fight fans who witnessed the farce. The uproar has even drawn the attention of a major international management firm who have made an offer to help further Singh’s career.


“Since this debacle however we have had some very good offers I terms of management with an international company who has many great fighters on their books and many of the right connections in Europe and America, so we will be in discussions with them and make a decision that will be the best for Tej’s career,” said Murphy.


“So all is not lost. It just goes to show that sometimes good things come out of bad, so this and the fact that the whole Australian boxing community have rallied around Tej through social media and have supported and encouraged him to keep going and not give up, this has been uplifting for Tej and all that know Tej personally regard him in the highest level for his decent, loyal and genuine nature and have also gone out of their way to show support and protect his honour.”


Singh’s career has already been marred by what his team regards as bad decisions and Murphy remains concerned that the public will view his fighter as little more than a trail-horse.


“On a personal note, I feel for Tej, who has been on the end of other bad decisions which now leaves him with five losses, four of which were rip-offs,” said Murphy.


“The only true loss he had was with Faris Chevalier as he took that fight at very short notice coming off a broken hand. A loss he would love to avenge.


“The outcome of his now five losses leaves him looking like a journeyman when in fact he is capable of fighting for a world title in the next few years.”


Aussie news
Aussie news



Former triple world champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Jeff Fenech believes that super flyweight prospect Brock Jarvis 13-0 (12) has the talent to become the greatest boxer that Australia has ever produced.


It’s a big call when you put in context the antipodean nation’s storied fistic history, but one the “Marrickville Mauler” stands by.


Fenech, who will corner Billy Dib at Technology Park in Redfern this Friday night when he attempts to become a two-time IBF champion against American Tevin Farmer, has high hopes for the nephew of rugby league great Pat Jarvis, who he has trained since he was 16.


“Billy will do something great on August 3rd that will put him right up there, and a couple of years later a young guy that I started training at the age of 16, at the age of 24-25 might be one of the greatest Australian fighters in history,” Fenech told Sporting News Australia this week. “Because I believe that Brock Jarvis has the potential to be that person.”


Jarvis recalls being nervous when he was brought around to Fenech’s house by his father for what was effectively a trial in front of the former world champion who he had looked up to for years.


“I remember I was pretty nervous on the way here, and I was excited,” said Jarvis. “Jeff was my idol, I watched all of his fights. To meet him and then to train with him, I was very excited, I thought it was a one-off.”


That was four years ago and the pair have been inseparable ever since.


“At this stage of his career, this kid can do things that I couldn’t dream of doing,” said Fenech. “This kid punches to the body, hooks, uses his core better than I could even dream of. Nobody taught me how to do it.


“This kid hasn’t got a trainer, he’s got a teacher. Someone who can show him. And when you show somebody how to do something properly and they know it’s working, then they do it.”


At just 20-years-old Jarvis is still being brought along slowly, but Fenech already has the Marrickville product fighting on the road, with five of his 12 pro bouts taking place in Thailand and Mexico, while he has been in training camps in Japan, the USA and Thailand.


At this stage it’s all about putting the pieces of the puzzle together so that they have a complete fighter on hand when the opportunity to fight for a world title arises.


There is a sense of coming full circle in the pairing of Jarvis and Fenech. It was Brock’s uncle Pat who, as an inner-city copper in the early ’80s, encouraged a young Maltese street tough to seek out the guidance of boxing trainer Johnny Lewis at the Newtown PCYC if he wanted to fight. Without the intervention of Pat Jarvis the Jeff Fenech story is, very likely, a very different one.


It is something that Fenech, loyal to a fault, would never forget.


Fenech sees a lot of himself in the super-fit Jarvis, who has impressed him by never missing a training session or failing to give his all when asked.


“He’s a carbon copy of Jeff Fenech,” said the former bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight world champion, who finished his pro career with a record of 29-3-1 (21).


“He was exactly like me. I remember when we lost an amateur fight, the tears, the disappointment. That was me. If I lost a game of football, I’d cry.


“I just wanted to win and he’s a winner in every sense of the word.”


Former IBF featherweight champion Dib, who started training with Fenech last year, is similarly inspired by Jarvis’s work commitment.


“Having Brock Jarvis around as well has added that extra motivation,” said Dib. “To see a young guy like him doing what he does and push the way that he does, that makes me push just as hard as he does. I don’t want him to show me up… I need a young guy like him to reenergise me.”


The 5-foot-7 Jarvis, who has only been extended past the third round once in his professional debut, will take on Thailand’s Yotchanchai Yakaeo 26-11 (21) on the undercard of the world title fight between Dib and Farmer this weekend.


“I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody who can give me what Brock gives me in 12 rounds,” said Fenech. “It’s an amazing achievement for a kid so young.”




August is shaping up as a busy month for boxing manager Mike Altamura with three boxers from his MJA Boxing stable competing for world titles at various venues around the globe this month.


Veteran Billy “The Kid” Dib 43-4 (24) kicks off proceedings on Friday night when he faces the “American Dream” Tevin Farmer 25-4-1 (5) for the vacant IBF super featherweight title at Redfern’s Technology Park in Sydney.


“It’s a very, very challenging fight,” admitted Altamura. “Billy has had a great preparation, a very long camp, because essentially he knew this fight was in the pipeline for the last 4-5 months roughly, we knew that Billy’s shot was coming.”


At 32 it is likely the last roll of the dice for Dib at this level, with victory crowning him a two-time, dual-weight world champion.


“He’s had a great camp, quality sparring, quality preparation and he knows how significant this fight is,” said Altamura. “It really is a make or break fight in his career. I couldn’t see him pressing on if he was to lose soundly to Farmer, so he’s very up for the challenge.


“It’s extremely high stakes, he’s prepared extremely well with Jeff Fenech and there’s going to be no excuses on Friday night.


“I think he’s going to look for a very strong home crowd to uplift him and inspire him to become a legitimate two-division world champion.”


Undefeated Sydney-based Irishman TJ “The Power” Doheny 19-0 (14) travels to Tokyo, Japan to challenge IBF super bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa 25-2 (16) at the legendary Korakuen Hall on August 16.


“TJ has had fantastic prep,” said Altamura. “Very under-the-radar, very focused, very cerebral. He knows that Iwasa’s Achilles heel is against left-handers and I think that gives us a lot of confidence. His two career losses via KO were both to lefties, so he might have a bit of a lefty curse we hope.


“But we expect the champion to be very strong. TJ is preparing for his absolute A-game and we’ll come well prepared on fight night to give it absolutely everything.


“Obviously going to a country like Japan, into the lion’s den against the reigning world champion, it’s always a very tough ask. But TJ is going to get there nice and early, acclimatise accordingly, and we will definitely be well prepared for anything come fight night.”


The biggest fight this month for an MJA boxer is undoubtedly Luke “Action” Jackson 16-0 (7) taking on reigning WBO interim featherweight champion Luke “The Jackal” Frampton 25-1 (14) at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland on August 18.


“What an atmosphere, what an opportunity for Luke Jackson, absolutely zero pressure on him,” said Altamura. “Frampton is going to have 25,000 of his own countrymen screaming and cheering, so he’s going to absorb all the pressure.


“Luke is going to go into this fight very much under the radar. He’s also had a pretty good preparation, he’s very focused. We know he’s going to have to box absolutely out of his skin in order to unseat Carl Frampton, but Luke is a very smart, very ring-clever fighter. He has got a high ring IQ and I know that he will be prepared to make whatever adjustment necessary to give Frampton the fight of his life.”




The rapidly improving Joel “CamaKO” Camilleri 15-4-1 (7) takes on his toughest test to date when he squares up against once-beaten Shepparton boxer Dwight “The Fighting Cowboy” Ritchie 17-1 (2) at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington, Victoria this Friday night in the headline fight on a Team Ellis-promoted show.


“I’m not going in there with a plan, I’m going in with plans,” said Camilleri, who is coming off a majority decision victory over Yao Yi Ma over eight rounds in June. “Dwight’s an experienced fighter so I’m not expecting him to be one-dimensional. This is my 21st pro fight and I believe I have the experience to adapt to whatever Dwight brings on the night.”


Ritchie has won three on the trot since dropping a competitive 12-round decision to Koki Tyson for the OPBF middleweight title in Osaka, Japan in November 2016. It will be the 26-year-old Ritchie’s seventh bout scheduled for 10 rounds or more.


“Ritchie does have the experience when it comes to longer fights,” admitted Camilleri, who will be contesting the vacant IBF Australasia junior middleweight title in his first 10-round bout. “Though my last two fights have been eight hard rounds with Yao Yi Ma, who is one of, if not the, toughest pressure fighter in Australia. Two extra rounds aren’t going to faze me at all.


“I’m a fighter with a big heart and I’ll throw until the final bell.”


The 27-year-old Camilleri, a substitute secondary school teacher by trade, is expertly trained by Sam Labruna and hasn’t lost a fight in three years.


“All I can say is I’m ready to fight and I’m bringing my best on the night. If he wants to go to war, I’m all for it,” said Camilleri.




Big-punching lightweight Deedee “The Silencer” Hobbs 7-0 (5) claimed the national crown at junior middleweight with a first round TKO over previously unbeaten Aimee Addis 4-1 at the Famous Fortitude Gym in Newstead, Brisbane, Queensland on Saturday night.


Despite giving away size and weight to the naturally bigger Addis it was Hobbs who was the bully in the fight, sending Addis to the canvas early in the first round courtesy of a right hand. Addis beat the count but the follow-up salvo from Hobbs forced referee Steve Marshall to step in and wave off the fight at 0:34 of the opening frame.


“Deedee Hobbs could be the next Aussie world champion,” said her trainer Russell Finn before the fight. “Her last amateur fights were wins against the current Aussie Commonwealth Games gold medallist Skye Nicholson and [Commonwealth Games representative] Anja Stridsman.”


Brisbane-based Hobbs, a former Australian amateur champ and now national champion as a pro, has struggled to find girls her own weight to fight.


“Undefeated and world-rated since her second pro fight at lightweight,” continued Finn. “She then stepped up to light welterweight just to get fights and won the Australian title [against Sarah Dwyer]. Then [she] stepped up to welterweight again just to get a fight and beat Arlene Blencowe.


“Now stepping up again to fight at super welterweight for the Australian title against another undefeated fighter. Not many men would do that.”


In her bout against Blencowe on the undercard of the world title eliminator between Dennis Hogan and Jimmy Kilrain Kelly in April, Hobbs put on one of the performances of the night, showing huge heart to outbox and outbrawl the naturally stronger Blencowe to win by split decision over six.


It was the type of showing that wins fans.


“She is the real deal, can box, counter, has power and will fight anyone,” said Finn. “A true Aussie battler.”




Negotiations for the Jeff Horn 18-1-1 (12) versus Anthony Mundine 48-8 (28) fight are moving forward apace with November the target month for their big domestic showdown. Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, where the 30-year-old “Fighting Schoolteacher” scored his breakthrough win against Manny Pacquiao last year, is again looking the likely venue. The big sticking point remains the weight, with the Horn camp refusing to budge on 154-pounds while Mundine, who won the WBA world title at 168-pounds some 15 years ago but had his last bout at middleweight, is reluctant to head any further south than 157-pounds.


Former heavyweight title challenger Alex “The Lionheart” Leapai 31-7-1 (25) is back in action this weekend when he rematches Roger Izonritei 12-6-1 (11) art Rumours International in Toowoomba, Queensland this Friday night. The 38-year-old clashed with the Perth-based Nigerian last December in a fight that was ruled a technical draw after Izonritei suffered a large cut over his left eye that forced a premature end to the bout in round three. “Roger Izonritei quit, end of story,” Leapai, who was leading on all cards 20-17 at the time of the stoppage, told the Courier Mail. “The doctor didn’t rule that the cut was too bad, Roger just didn’t want to fight anymore.” Trainer Noel Thornberry revealed to the Brisbane daily paper this week that there was interest from the camps of leading heavyweight contenders Dereck Chisora and Luis Ortiz in making a fight with the 38-year-old veteran from Logan. Also on the Brendon Smith-promoted show will be Steve Sparks 5-1 (5) up against Gearoid Clancy 9-5 (2) in a clash for the vacant Australian 140-pound crown.


Former light heavyweight title challenger Blake “Il Capo” Caparello 27-3-1 (11) steps up to the cruiserweight division to take on New Zealand’s Lance “Busta” Bryant 12-3 (5) at the Croatian Club in Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria on August 31. The Peter Maniatis/Sam Labruna show will also feature Michael Zerafa 24-2 (13) defending his WBA Oceania title and the return of former WBC bantamweight champion Susie “Q” Ramadan 27-2 (12) against opponents to be named.




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