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Max Boxing

The Australia boxing scene

By Anthony Cocks

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Boxing scene down under
Boxing scene down under



Demsey McKean 11-0 (5) was on a high.


The undefeated southpaw had just won the national heavyweight crown from dangerous puncher Willie ‘Wild Bill’ Nasio 11-3 (10), who was expected to provide a real test. McKean stopped him in six. Fight offers were flowing in from around the globe for good money and respected titles. The future for the ‘Tower of Terror’ looked bright.


But boxing is a cruel mistress.


“It’s been frustrating beyond belief having to sit on the sidelines for a year and not being able to punch with my left hand for six months after having a ligament replacement in my left knuckle,” said McKean in an interview with Maxboxing this week.


“We had a lot of offers for big fights and even a Commonwealth title in Canada which we had to turn down while sorting out the hand issues. But that’s the fight game and It’s just fuelled the fire to get back in there and to my winning ways.”


Before the Nasio fight the rangy boxer-puncher confided his game plan to this writer. And while the best laid plans of mice and men can oft go awry, this one was executed perfectly.


“I said I’d box him early and make him miss and drag him into the middle rounds where I’d pick up the pace from round three and use my fitness,” recalled McKean. “I said I’d get the KO in rounds either five or six, which I got him in round six.


“There was a sudden rush of adrenaline when the referee waved off the fight. It was close to a four-month training camp with the show being postponed a couple time.”


The 28-year-old Queenslander will get the chance to test out his rebuilt left hand on the head of Australian-based Russian knockout artist Victor Oganov 32-5 (30) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday October 13 in an eight-round bout on an Ace Boxing promotion.


“I’m expecting him to try and push hard and to try close the distance with me being a lot taller,” said McKean. “He’s got 30 KOs from 32 wins so he’s definitely a big puncher and power is always the last to leave you as you get older.


“But I’m confident in my chin and my evasive skills and ability to use my range without taking much damage, so I see myself taking this fight out within five rounds.”


At 6-foot-6 tall and weighing a trim and ready 240-pounds, McKean is surprisingly agile for his size. He knows how to use his range effectively, has a good kit of punches and possesses beguiling hand-speed for a big man.


These attributes promise to carry him a long way in a division largely populated by heavy-handed, plodding heavyweights.


“I think you pretty much said it right there Anthony, I’m tall and I know how to use my height and range well,” he said. “Plus, I’m a fast heavyweight with good footwork which is a huge advantage in the heavier weights against traditional heavyweight fighters.”


The Ipswich product, who has been getting quality sparring from world-class cruiserweight Mark ‘Bam Bam’ Flanagan ahead of his fight for the interim WBA title against Arsen Goulamirian in France next month, came to boxing in his mid-20s after a brief career as an MMA fighter.


“Twenty-eight is quite young for a heavyweight as they say we don’t peak until early-to-mid 30’s,” said McKean, who went 3-1 in professional and amateur MMA fights.


“But then again I did come to the party late and I’ve only been boxing for four years, which will help me develop as a boxer in years to come and not have to worry about ageing in the game too quickly.”


Despite his natural athleticism McKean knows he is a work-in-progress and is giving himself plenty of time to achieve his career ambitions.


“In two years I will look to hold a top 10 ranking in the world with regional titles and be continuing to work my way to a world title fight,” he said.




Leading WBO junior middleweight contender Dennis ‘Hurricane’ Hogan 27-1-1 (7) has welcomed the news that Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan 28-3 (20) is considering a move down in weight after being stopped in a single round by Canadian knockout artist David Lemieux 40-4 (34) in a middleweight clash on the Gennady Golovkin versus Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez undercard this month.


“That doesn’t bother me in the slightest, he’s trying to get back up and I understand that,” said Hogan in an exclusive interview with Maxboxing this week.


The 33-year-old Brisbane-based Irishman earned his shot at current WBO 154-pound champion Jaime Munguia 31-0 (26) with back-to-back victories over fellow contenders Yuki Nonaka and Jimmy Kilrain Kelly in the past 12 months.


“I’m next and that’s all there is to it,” continued Hogan. “His coach Pascal Collins, who I’m good friends with, tweeted me that they wouldn’t be ready till summer next year so either I’ll have won the world title by then or apparently Munguia will go up in weight. There is a great chance myself and Spike could have a huge all-Irish world title clash later next year.


“I’m not at all worried about outside obstacles. I’m doing everything right and that title is on its way to me.”


Hogan availed himself of the opportunity to face Munguia on the Golovkin-Alvarez undercard but promoter Golden Boy Promotions opted for WBO number three Brandon Cook 20-2 (13) of Canada instead.

“Yeah we offered to fight them then in September and we got no reply and then they announced Cook,” said Hogan. “I can see why they did it as they had a tough fight in [Liam] Smith and wanted a lighter fight with Cook before talking myself on. That’s okay but now it’s time to fight me, I’m number one for a reason so anything else other than me is a cop out.”


The 21-year-old Munguia shocked many in the boxing world with his four round blowout of Sadam Ali in May, who had himself upset the odds with his underdog victory over veteran world champion Miguel Cotto last December to lift the WBO crown.


The six-foot tall Tijuana native is rumoured to be considering a move up in weight to the lucrative middleweight division.

“It’s unknown what Munguia will do,” said Hogan. “He’s big so he may want to move to middleweight to make life a bit easier with making weight, but as a champion at light middleweight I can’t see why he would want to leave that title behind after working so hard to get it.


“But time will tell and I have heard he’s wanting that, but lots of rumours in boxing that you just don’t know.”

Hogan, who is scheduled to return to the ring in Brisbane on DDP Sports Management’s upcoming ‘All or Nothing’ show on December 15 alongside stablemate Rohan Murdock, could be forgiven for taking a tune-up fight ahead of his mandate clash with Munguia for the WBO world title.


But he insists he wants nothing but challenging fights from here on in.

“Only opponent I’m wanting is one that can progress me in some way towards being world champion in the WBO where I’m ranked number one or the IBF where I’m ranked third,” said Hogan. “So with that in mind we will make a decision in the next week or two but I’m training and will be more than ready for a performance on December 15th.”

Boxing in Oz
Boxing in Oz



Aussie veteran Susie ‘Q’ Ramadan 27-2 (12) will get the chance to become a three-time world champion when she takes on wildly popular Mexican world champion Mariana ‘Barbie’ Juarez 50-9-4 (18) for the WBC bantamweight title in Mexico on October 27.


It will be the sixth defence of the WBC 118-pound crown for the 38-year-old Juarez, who has previously held world titles at flyweight and super flyweight. 


“I’m humbled, this is a big opportunity and when opportunities like this come, you take it. I have a lot of respect for Mariana she is a top fighter who has done really well in her career,” said Ramadan to Maxboxing this week.


It won’t be the first time the 39-year-old from Preston in Melbourne’s northern suburbs has fought in Mexico. In October 2011 she lost a fight for the IBF bantamweight title to Yazmin Rivas by split decision in Chetumal, Quintana Roo. Three years later she returned to face Rivas in a rematch for the WBC bantamweight title in Gomez Palacio, Durango, losing by decision for the second time.


Rivas remains the only boxer to have defeated Ramadan.


“I’m not thinking about the last two occasions in Mexico, that was against a different fighter on a different promotion,” said Ramadan. “I do believe the WBC sanctioning body will be fair as I am a former WBC world champion.”


Ramadan was scheduled to fight on the Sam Labruna-promoted show in Melbourne on 31 August but her Thai opponent failed her medical tests leaving the Australian boxer frustrated and without an opponent for the card.


By the time she faces Juarez, Ramadan will have been out of the ring for a year.


“I have travelled to Mexico after being out of the ring for two years and preformed really well considering all the odds against me,” said Ramadan, the current IBF #1, WBC #6 and WBA #7 ranked super flyweight.


“I’m known for my hard work and as for fitness, I’m a freak. If we reversed the role – there will be no way she would come here to fight me, therefore I’m already ahead.


“I have a saying: The Aussie female triple-S, Sharon Anyos, Shannon O’Connell and SusieQ Ramadan, all reside in Australia and have the utmost courage to fight abroad. Yeah, lack of ring time can be challenging, but my trainer Sam Labruna has a great game plan so it’s up to me to stick to the game plan to get that win.


“It’s going to be an extremely hard fight but our styles will match well. It’s going to be a very exciting fight, one not to be missed.”




The tumultuous relationship between Australian heavyweight contender Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne 25-1 (22) and his British promoter Ricky Hatton is about to expire and the Perth banger couldn’t be happier.


The 39-year-old Browne, who was on the receiving end of a one-sided six round beating from Briton Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte 24-1 (17) in London last March, insists he still has plenty to offer at the top level.


“My deal with Hatton ends in January,’’ said Browne in an interview this week with Courier Mail journalist Grantlee Kieza.


“It has always been a thorn in my side. It started as a three-year deal and it became seven years. I want to do my own thing now.


“People think I should be a multi-millionaire considering the big fights I’ve had but that is so far from the truth it’s not funny.


“In Australia the most I have ever made from a fight is $25,000 which isn’t much for a guy who has done what I have. I’m 39 now so there’s no time to waste. I just want to win some big fights and retire happy.’’


Browne will return to the ring for the first time since the Whyte loss when he rematches American giant Julius Long 18-20 (14) at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Queensland’s Gold Coast this Friday night.


The 7-foot-1 Long, who goes by the nickname the ‘Towering Inferno’, proved a handful for Browne when they met in the Melbourne Pavilion ring three years ago. Browne said he broke his thumb on Long’s head with the first right hand he threw in the fight before stopping him in the ninth.


In the aftermath of the Whyte loss Browne split from Sydney trainer Rodney Williams and will now be cornered by Perth’s Jay Gray.


“I was training with Rodney in Sydney and he’s a good trainer but I’ve decided to stay in Perth for my fight preparations now because it allows me to stay home with my family rather than spend weeks away,’’ said Browne.


“It’s a much better situation.’’


Browne was widely criticised for coming into the Whyte fight in less than optimum shape. Photos posted to his social media accounts this week show a much leaner looking Browne than the 264-pound behemoth who was largely ineffective against the sharp-punching Brixton bomber, who punished him before knocking him out cold with a left hook midway through their fight.




Warrnambool bantamweight Cherneka ‘Sugar Neekz’ Johnson 10-0 (5) admits she knows little about her next opponent, the mysterious and mononymous Kirti 4-1 (2), who she will face at the Tau Devi Lal Sport Complex in Gurgaon, India on Saturday October 20.


The fight was originally scheduled to take place on September 15, was rescheduled to October 6 and has now been pushed back to October 20.


“I believe she is new to the pro game but has a strong amateur background and still has that amateur style but she will be tough,” Johnson told Maxboxing this week. “There’s a few dirty moves we have seen in one of her bouts, but she’s quick and knows how to use the ring well.”


The fight will be the New Zealand born 22-year-old’s first professional bout outside of her adopted home of Australia, but the former amateur standout is confident that her international experience in the unpaid ranks will help her overcome any difficulties.


“I have travelled to many countries in my amateur career, competing at world championships and international competitions, so I am well aware of the difficulties and changes to adapt to in another country,” said the WBA number five ranked super flyweight.


Johnson is expected to fight once more this year when she returns to the Melbourne Pavilion on November 17 for an eight-round bout against an opponent to be named.


“I can’t be 100 percent sure [who I will be facing] but would like to have a bit of a challenge,” she said.




WBO number six ranked lightweight Kye ‘Mr Frenzy’ MacKenzie 19-1 (16) returns to the ring at Metro City in Northbridge, Perth to defend his interim WBO Asia Pacific title against Filipino Mark ‘Machete’ Bernaldez 17-1 (12) on Friday October 5. The 10-round bout will headline a 10-fight show promoted by Tony Tolj. The card will also feature an eight-round cruiserweight clash between Glen Austin 6-0 (1) and Rob Powdrill 6-3 (1) and the return of talented lightweight ‘Brilliant’ Brandon Ogilvie 20-2-1 (10) in a six rounder.


At the Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne on the same night Team Ellis is promoting a 10-round super bantamweight special attraction between Mark Schleibs 9-0 (6) and Robert Trigg 3-2-1 (1). The 24-year-old Trigg from Mt Gambier in South Australia is the reigning national champion at 118-pounds. Also on the card is the long-awaited return of the ‘Fighting Farmer’ Mitchell Middleton Clark 12-2 (12). The homerun-hitting light heavyweight is back from the bush for the first time in over 18 months to face the experienced Steven Ma 7-11-1 (2) over six rounds.


Skilled middleweight Rocky Jerkic 16-1 (13) will have his second fight in two months when he takes on country tough Wade Ryan 15-7 (4) for the vacant OPBF Silver 160-pound title over 10 rounds at the Gunnedah Town Hall in regional New South Wales on Saturday October 6. The 30-year-old Newcastle six-footer was regarded as one of the hottest prospects in the country until he suffered a minor setback when he dropped a razor-thin split decision to Anthony Buttigieg 13-0 (3) for the vacant Commonwealth 154-pound title at the Melbourne Pavilion in March last year. After almost 18 months out of the ring Jerkic bounced back with a confidence-building third round KO of Thai journeyman Komgrit Nanakorn 2-27 (2) last month.

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