By Anthony Cocks
Perth-based Welshman Jamie Weetch 10-2 (4) knows he has to turn in an impressive performance when he takes on Sydney’s Yao Yi Ma 15-2-1 (10) for the vacant IBF Pan Pacific junior middleweight title at Thunderdome 23 at Metro City in Northbridge, WA, this Friday if he wants to get the big fights he covets in 2018.
The 28-year-old, who cut his teeth fighting on the British underground circuit in his late teenage years, has fought his entire pro career out of Australia. After going 2-2 in his first four bouts Weetch has strung together eight straight wins against some solid domestic fighters but says that his record could easily be much better.
“I never doubted myself,” said Weetch of his early years in the game. “I didn’t deserve to lose that [against Renato Oliveira], you know. Sam Hogan could’ve beaten me, I just couldn’t find my rhythm with him. He was a southpaw, he was awkward, but it is what it is. You can’t cry over spilt milk. But I won that fight [against Oliveira], I won that fight.
“I guess it’s a blessing in disguise those two losses. People see me now and say ‘he’s already lost’, but really, I haven’t lost. So I learn from every fight I have. The ones I win convincingly, I still learn from it. I believe that I will be world champion, there’s no doubt about it. This is just another stepping stone for me to become champion. And this next fight is going to prove that it doesn’t matter how tough the guy is, I’ll break him down anyway.”
Two years ago Weetch travelled across the country to face Wade Ryan in Gunnedah, New South Wales over eight rounds. He took a unanimous decision over the then-8-2 fighter who would go on to give Tim Tszyu his toughest fight over ten rounds last month.
“I think that’s what happened with Wade Ryan,” continued Weetch. “They got me over there and thought they were in for an easy night, you know. He was not in there for any easy night at all. Like I said, the losses on my record are a blessing in disguise. It doesn’t bother me and it means nothing to me. I just go out there now to fight, to make statements and to do the business, basically.”
Ma looks to be a tough out. The 33-year-old, who was born in Taiwan but now makes his home in Sydney, is coming off a hard-fought draw against the vastly improved Joel Camilleri 14-4-1 (7) for the Victorian junior middleweight state title in the Melbournian’s hometown in October.
“[Sparring] has been pretty limited,” admitted Weetch. “We’ve been trying to matchup someone similar to Yao Yi Ma and when I’m sparring I kind of work with the mindset that I’m not going out there to make friends. But also I’m happy to let my hands go with power and speed, so it’s been totally different. I don’t hurt the boys I’m sparring because I’m friends with them, but I’ve been digging into them.”
The junior middleweight division is one of the most competitive in the country, with world ranked Dennis Hogan, Commonwealth champion Anthony Buttigieg, once-beaten Rocky Jerkic and son of a legend Tim Tszyu all competing in the talented 154-pound division.
“In my weight class there’s plenty of boys around,” said Weetch. “But I’ve got nothing to offer them. I can’t sell enough tickets to bring them here to Perth. That’s why I’m fighting for this title now so that I’ve got a little bit of leverage. For example, I’ve got no interest in fighting Rocky because he’s got nothing I want.”
In February last year Weetch scored an eight round majority decision over fellow West Australian Albert “Go Loco” Howell. As part of his victory celebration Weetch took to the mic in centre ring and got down on bended knee to propose to his now-fiancée Mary. Luckily she said yes.
While the wedding is scheduled for Ireland in June, Weetch isn’t taking his eye of the boxing prize just yet.
“I’d like to fight Tim Tszyu,” said Weetch. “I could fight him next February, something like that. Start of May I could fight Buttigieg for his Commonwealth title and take that off him. Then enjoy my wedding, get fat and come back and defend the Commonwealth title and WBC [Asian Boxing Council Continental] title that Tim Tszyu’s got.
“I’d like to get those two on my resume with big, fat wins. They’re two things I want to get next year. In their back garden or mine, it doesn’t bother me. We can do it over there, it puts less stress on me for ticket sales, so I would definitely fight them in their back garden just to prove that I’m the best light middleweight [in the country].
“I don’t want to be slagging anyone off, I just want to be a respectable boxer, call people out, and hopefully they will want to fight me as well.”
A victory over Ma this Friday night will go a long way in making those fights a reality.
BUSY BROCK JARVIS BACK IN ACTION SATURDAY
Rampaging bantamweight prospect Brock Jarvis 11-0 (10) climbs back through the ropes for the sixth time this year when he takes on Thailand’s Wichet Sengprakhon 8-0 (3) for the WBC Asian Continental title at Mediterranean House in Five Dock, Sydney, NSW on Saturday night.
Jarvis is very familiar with the Thai people having fought four times in Thailand already in his short professional career. The well-travelled 20-year-old has also fought in Mexico, while back in Australia he has had bouts in Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and of course his home city of Sydney.
The Jeff Fenech-trained punching machine cuts no corners in the gym and prepares with the same type of intensity his mentor was notorious for.
“There are no shortcuts,” Jarvis told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper this week. “I’m absolutely ready to go. Training with Jeff [Fenech], I know everything is always done properly.
“There is only one way to box and that’s doing the hard work. But I’ve worked hard and I’m confident he can’t beat me. I will work off my jab and make this guy miss. I don’t want to give him any confidence.”
Jarvis, who hails from the same inner western Sydney suburb of Marrickville as his trainer, will be competing in his first 10 rounder against the undefeated Sengprakhon. After going six rounds on debut two years ago, Jarvis hasn’t heard the bell to end the third round in any fight since.
Fenech cites Jarvis’s professionalism away from the gym as one of the key factors in his success in the ring.
“What’s important is what you do in those other 20-odd hours [when not training], how professional you are after you train,” Fenech said. “Everyone can think they’re tough but it’s about using your head. He’s in the right frame of mind.
“He’s the best trainer I’ve seen since Jeff Fenech.”
The faith triple world champion Fenech has in Jarvis is reflected back at him.
“Jeff has changed my life,” he said of the Hall of Fame fighter. “Seeing what he achieved, it inspires me to follow in his footsteps.”
JACK “THE ASSASSIN” ASIS WINS WELTERWEIGHT SUPER 8 IN TOOWOOMBA
Toowoomba-based Filipino Jack "The Assassin" Asis 38-20-5 (19) was the winner of the Super 8 welterweight knockout tournament at Rumours International in Toowoomba, Queensland on Saturday night.
The Brendon Smith-promoted show pitted eight 147-pounders against in other in three by 3-minute round fights.
In the quarter finals Asis defeated Luke Woods 4-1 (1) by majority decision, Jason Kanofski 21-8-4 (3) won by unanimous decision over Mick Shaw 27-18-4 (8), former interim WBO lightweight champion Michael Katsidis 33-8 (24) won a split decision over Robert "Gummy" Toomey 14-10 (6), and Jamie Hilt 8-3-1 decisioned Ya Jie Ding 3-3-1 of China.
In the semi-finals Asis scored another MD against Kanofski 30-27, 29-29 and 29-28, while Hilt got over Katsidis by split decision 29-28, 30-27 and 28-29.
In the final Asis dominated Hilt, dropping him twice and stopping him on a cut in the opening round.
Coming off a five-fight losing streak in 2011 that included losses to Ryan Langham, Billy Dib and William Kickett, Asis has turned his career around. In his last 20 fights he has gone 17-2-1 (9) including wins over former world title challenger Nestor Rocha and current lightweight contender Kye MacKenzie for the IBO super featherweight title.
The 34-year-old’s victory in the Super 8 contest is all the more impressive considering he is a natural 130-pounder.
“BIG” BOB MIROVIC READY TO SIGN-OFF AT 51
Popular Central Coast heavyweight “Big” Bob Mirovic 31-25-2 (21) will step into the ring for the very last time as a prizefighter when he takes on New Zealand’s Lui “K9” Te’o this weekend.
The 51-year-old three-time Australian heavyweight champion began his professional career way back in 1987. Rumours that he rode his penny-farthing to the training back then are greatly exaggerated.
What is bonafide truth is that in his 30 year professional career Mirovic has shared the square circle with some excellent boxers, including Shane Cameron, Frans Botha, Alex Leapai, Sinan Samil Sam, Timo Hoffman, Matt Skelton, Nikolay Valuev, Danny Williams Okello Peter, Kali Meehan, Joe Bugner and Justin Fortune.
To list all his notable victories would take too long, but some of Mirovic’s more memorable wins include his quintet of victories over Colin Wilson including three for the national title, his first clash with Roger Izonritei and his sixth round knockout of Nathan Briggs. A close, competitive loss to Rob Calloway over 12 rounds on the Gold Coast in 2005 remains another fan favourite.
One of the highlights of Mirovic’s career came in 2005 when he travelled to the USA with Jeff Fenech to spar 70-80 rounds with Mike Tyson as the former “Baddest Man on the Planet” prepared for what turned out to be his own final fight against Kevin McBride.
“We sparred hard,” Mirovic told SecondsOut.com at the time. “Mike Tyson may have been past his best, but he still punched like a mule. He punched as hard as when he knocked out all those top heavyweights. Mike told me I punched like a mule and we had some great sparring.”
Maxboxing extends their thanks to the Big Bear for entertaining us over the years and wish him all the best health and happiness in retirement.
CLUB SHOWS THIS WEEKEND
This weekend super middleweight Mark Kassab 8-0 (5) looks to keep his unbeaten record intact when he takes on Chase Haley 5-1-1 (2) over eight rounds at the Springvale Town Hall in Springvale, Melbourne on Friday night. Also on the card middleweight Emmanuel Carlos 5-0 (3) is up against Ehsan Shakeri 0-6 in a four rounder and debutants Kenny Tse and Hunter Ionane are also paired up, also over four.
Up in Sydney at the Dee Why RSL on Friday night super middleweight Isaac Buckley 3-0-1 (1) will fight Aswin Cabuy 19-65-4 (7) in an eight rounder, middleweight John Hutchinson 10-2-2 (3) meets Paitoon Jaikom 7-36 (2) over six and heavyweight Ben Sila 1-0 clashes with Filipo Fonoti Masoe 3-13 (1) over four.