|Boxing Down Under: Australia’s Rich Pugilistic History Part 4
By Ken Hissner (May 15, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Vic Darchinyan was born in Armenia having an amateur record of 158-18 with 105 knockouts with all but 20 fights in his homeland. He represented his country in the 2000 Olympics flyweight division winning 2 out of 3 matches. He moved to Australia turning pro in November of 2000. He became an Australian citizen on July 7, 2004.
Known as the ‘Raging Bull’, this hard punching southpaw took the Australian title in his 7th fight, in the 7th round over Sande Kizito. In his 11th fight he won the OBA bantamweight title when he stopped Junior Farzan Ali (12-1) of
Fiji in the 6th. He won the IBF Pan Pacific fly title stopping Thailand’s Wandee Singwancha (38-6) by 5th round knockout in December of 2003. They would fight 6 months later in an IBF title eliminator and he would again stop Singwancha in the 5th.
In his 22nd fight he would win the IBF fly title stopping previously unbeaten Columbian Irene Pacheco (30-1) in the 11th, in Hollywood, Florida. It was on December 16th, 2004 and his first fight as a pro out of Australia. He would return to Australia and score knockouts over the IBO champion, South Africa’s Mzukisi Sikali (29-6) in the 8th and Columbian Jair Jimenez (23-3-1) in the 5th. Going back to the USA in 2006 he would stop Filipino Diosdado Gabi (26-2-1) who had won 13 straight, and Mexico’s previously unbeaten Luis Maldonado (33-1-1), both in the 8th.
In his 3rd defense in 2006 he won every round before winning by technical decision over Filipino Glenn Donaire (16-2-1) in the 6th. In 2007 he dropped Mexico’s Victor Burgos (39-14-3) in the 2nd round and finally stopped him in the
12th. A defense in July against the brother of Glenn Donaire, Nonito (17-1), ended in the 5th round but with Darchinyan the loser for the first time in 29 fights. Two of the judges had the fight even at the time. The fight took place in Connecticut. He would move up to super fly in his next fight in Sydney winning the vacant IBO title stopping Filipino Federico Catubay (20-13-3) in the 12th. In February of 2008 he would travel to the Philippines to take on Z Gorres (27-2-1) and battle to a 12 round draw. Darchinyan's record is 29-1-1 with 23 knockouts.
Anthony Mundine, born in Newtown, living in Sydney, son of Tony, turned pro in July of 2000 giving up a rugby career. He took the Australian super middle title in his 5th fight stopping Marc Bargero (23-7-2) in the 6th. Next he won the PABA title stopping Timo Masua (13-3) in the 3rd. He won the vacant IBF Pan Pacific title with a split decision over the former Commonwealth champion Sam Soliman (12-6).
He knocked out Guy Waters (25-6-1) the former 3 time world title challenger in 2 for his 10th straight win. With limited experience but a large ego he accepted the challenge of IBF super middleweight champion Sven Ottke (24-0, 4 KOs), the former amateur star of Germany in Dortmund. Claiming that Ottke had no punch to beat him he aggressively went after the counter punching champion for 9 rounds. It looked like Mundine was on the verge of winning the title when suddenly in the 10th Ottke scored a knockout!
After 8 straight wins he would get another shot at the vacant WBA title in Sydney winning a decision over American Antwun Echols (29-4-1) in September of 2003. At the beginning of 2004 Mundine would defend against the OPBF champion, Japan’s Yoshinori Nishizawa (24-13-5). Mundine found himself on the canvas in the 2nd. He would come back to drop Nishizawa in the 4th and again in the 5th to retain his title.
Puerto Rico’s 3 time world challenger Manny Siaca would drop Mundine in the 2nd. This seemed to be the difference on 2 of the 3 judge’s scores in taking the title from Mundine by split decision in May of 2004. He challenged the unbeaten Dane Mikkel Kessler, conqueror of Siaca, for his WBA title. The match was in Sydney and Kessler seemed to have no problem retaining his title by decision.
In May of 2006 Mundine took on fellow Australian and current WBA light heavyweight champion Danny Green (21-2) in a WBA title eliminator. They broke the attendance record of 37,000 held by Fenech and Nelson. There was a lot of name calling between these 2 rivalries. The fighters pocketed a combine 10 million dollars (Mundine 6.25). Mundine’s power seemed to wear down Green by the 7th. He won the decision.
Several fights later came the rematch between Mundine and Soliman (33-8). The latter had won 21 of his last 22 fights and that one loss a close decision to former world champion Winky Wright. Since Kessler now held both WBA and WBC titles, the WBA considered a dual champ a super champ. This meant a portion of the WBA title was vacant. Mundine was too strong scoring knockdowns in the 2nd and 3 in the 9th winning the title in March of 2007. Mundine has made 3 successful title defenses over some of the lower ranked contenders to increase his win streak to 8. Mundine now has a 31-3 record with 23 knockouts.
This brings us to the current WBA light heavyweight champion, Danny Green, the “Green Machine” from Perth. Green qualified for the 2000 Olympic team and stopped current 5th ranked IBF super middle, Laudelino Barros of Brazil, in the 4th round. In the next round he was ahead after 2 rounds while nursing a broken hand and nose. “With a crowd of 8,000 roaring so loudly it sounded like 100,000, I kept on going on raw emotion - it was overwhelming” he said. The fight was stopped in the 4th against the eventual gold medalist Alexander Lebziak of Russia. Strange, but Lebziak only had one pro fight, winning by knockout in Uzbekistan in September of 2001.
Green turned pro in June of 1961 stopping his first 16 opponents. He won the vacant IBF Pan Pacific super middle title in the 8th over Paul Smallman (20-15-1) in his 9th fight. He followed up with his only fight out of the continent going to Las Vegas and stopping Rhon Roberts (9-5) of Guyana in the 3rd. In his 16th fight he fought Jason DeLisle (11-1-2) whom he lost to as an amateur in 2000. This time Green would be the victor in 5. Like Mundine before him, he would travel to Germany to fight for the world title. He would meet WBC champion Markus Beyer (27-1). He had Beyer down in rounds 1 and 2. Green incurred a point deduction for an accidental headbutt (WBC rules) in the 2nd. Green worsens Beyer's cut with intentional headbutt per the referee. Beyer cannot continue (doctor’s ruling) and therefore wins by foul. This fight caused quite a stir. Seems Green was well on his way to winning when the controversy happened.
In his next match Green won in the 6th for the Interim title over Canada’s former WBC super middle champ Eric Lucas (36-5-3) in Montreal in December of 2003. It would take 19 months for the rematch with Beyer. In the mean time in 2004 against Argentine’s Omar Gonzalez (27-5) he found himself on the canvas in the 2nd only to come back and win by stoppage in the 5th.
In March 2005 came the rematch in Germany. Green tried to pull out all the stops in the 12th and final round dropping Beyer, but couldn’t finish him off. It was not enough as he lost a majority decision. Later in 2005 Green won 2 fights before signing to fight Mundine, with both fighters taking 5 months off meeting in a WBA title eliminator in May of 2006. There was bad blood between the two. As stated earlier, they would break all attendance and gross receipt records.
Mundine was too strong for Green by the halfway point and won going away. Green would move up to light heavyweight and meet DeLisle (18-5-2) again scoring a 9th round knockout. He started 2007 off by stopping Paul Murdoch (26-6-1) in the 2nd having scored knockdowns in each round winning the IBF Pan Pacific and PABA titles.
American Otis Griffin (18-1-2) was brought in 6 months later. Griffin hadn’t lost since his debut. Green would score a knockout in 3. The Green camp had been negotiating for a fight with former champion Antonio Tarver. When Tarver didn’t agree with the terms it set the stage for a December title fight with Croatia’s 6:05 southpaw Stipe Drews (32-1), the WBA champion, fighting out of Germany. His only loss was a 12 round decision in August 2004 against Paul Briggs in a title eliminator. Green beat the back pedaling Drews easily over 12 rounds to become the first light heavy champion from Australia since Harding in 1994. His first defense would be April 27th against the Argentine Hugo Garay (30-3), the #2 contender, who failed in 2 previous title bouts losing to Zsolt Erdei by majority (2004) and split (2005) decisions.
On March 25th Green shocked the boxing world by announcing his retirement. “Boxing is always going to be part of my life, but instead of dealing with the sharks of the sport out there, I will be dealing with any prospective boyfriends (of daughter, Chloe)” said Green. “I am getting out on my terms with my dignity and respect in tact”, said Green.
Green has decided to retire while at the top of his game a feat few fighters before him have managed.
The mystique about Australia from outsiders will continue. Of the visitors, some have stayed, and others returned several times. There is something that draws people towards and back to the people and the continent itself from down under.
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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