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Reigning IBF World Middleweight Champion Daniel “The Real Deal” Geale successfully defended his belt at the Sydney Entertainment Centre against two-time WBA Super Middleweight title holder Anthony “The Man” Mundine on the 30th January. Geale, who was defending the title he won from Sebastian Sylvester in Germany nearly two years ago for the fourth time, put on a strong display in front of more than 9000 fans and a worldwide television that ran into the millions and was rightly awarded a clear verdict from all three judges (116–112, 117–111, 117–111). Predictably, Mundine protested that he was “robbed”, but he can have little to complain about as he beaten by a fighter at the peak of his game despite putting in a brave effort himself that will encourage calls for a third and final “decider” after Mundine took the honours in 2009.
Both fighters entered the ring just after 11pm after most of the undercard
bouts went the distance, with the exception being the Kimbo Slice vs Shane
Tilyard heavyweight slugfest. And both were keen to highlight their indigenous
heritage on their arrival to the ring as well as on their boxing trunks. This
was after the crowd was forced to sing the national anthem while both fighters
were still in their dressing rooms due to Mundine’s threat to stage a protest
on international television by boycotting the anthem to highlight his perceived
mistreatment of Aborigines throughout Australia.
Once the bout was underway, both fighters understandingly spent the opening couple of rounds finding their range and adapting to the pace of the fight. Early on it was Geale setting the pace as he tried to use his recent world title experiences to his advantage. Mundine was able to avoid most of the dangerous combinations with solid defence and slick footwork, ensuring that no real damage was done. In the middle to later rounds the 37 year old Mundine was expected to slow down and struggle, but he demonstrated excellent condition as he willingly traded with the champion.
Both fighters had their moments throughout the course of the 12 round tussle but Geale again showed why he has had so much success at this level over the past 3 years in contrast to Mundine whose last genuine world title fight victory came in 2008 at Super Middleweight level against Sam Soliman. Mundine, to his credit, stood his ground and fought strongly through to the final bell that concluded Round 12. A protracted period of time between the end of the fight and the announcement of the winner provided Mundine with the opportunity to circle the ring indicating that he was certain of the decision. But rightly the judges all scored the fight for the champion with Mundine demonstrating predictable unsportsmanship in leaving the ring before the final presentation. The question is where to know for both fighters? For Geale, as the champion, it looks likely that a mandatory home defence against Sam Soliman is on the cards after he defeated former Geale victim and WBA middleweight king Felix Sturm in Germany. For Mundine it is less clear but he showed that at 37 years of age that he is far from washed up and still has some gas left in the tank.
Earlier in the evening “Aussie” Joel Brunker defeated Mexican Ivan Hernandez in a Featherweight contest to further his world title ambitions while Australian Cruiserweight Champion Daniel Amman successfully defended his belt against Team Mundine fighter David Aloua. Lauryn Eagle won the female Australian Lightweight belt against Queenslander Nadine Brown and former world title contender Jamie Pittman scored a much-needed win over the tough Sydney fighter Zac Awad. Cult figure and internet street fighting legend Kimbo Slice overcame a first round scare to stop Queensland Heavyweight Champion Shane Tilyard with Grange fighter Steve Lovett scoring a close win over West Australian Jeremy Allan.
“Aussie” Joel Brunker Defeats Ivan Hernandez To Move Closer To A World Title Bout
By Sean Castle – Ringside
Sydney featherweight “Aussie” Joel Brunker proved he is a serious contender for the world featherweight with a solid win over former Mexican WBO World Champion Ivan Hernandez on the Mundine vs. Geale II undercard. The world-rated Richmond fighter has compiled an unbeaten record of 25–0 (14 KOs) as a professional and had recently returned from making his overseas debut in America with a first round knockout of Dominican Carlos Fulgencio.
The undefeated Brunker has moved another step closer to a world title bout courtesy of the clinical points win over the rugged Hernandez and consolidates his ranking across the major sanctioning bodies. Going into the bout the former Olympian was ranked with the WBO (No. 3), IBF (No. 10) and WBA (No. 11) and will be hoping to move up with all three organisations.
Hernandez (26–7–1, 17KO) was far from impressed with the result and visibly shook his head as the judges’ scores of; 80–72, 79–73 and 78–75, were read out but Brunker was the far more accurate throughout the eight-round featherweight contest.
Brunker suffered a cut above his right eye due to a head clash in the third round but that did not stop him applying pressure to his rival with his noted walk-forward style and crisp uppercuts and combinations.
The visitor fought gamely throughout the full eight rounds and had his moments in the fight where he troubled the former Athens Olympian but it was Brunker who was poised and busy, taking a deserved unanimous decision. For Brunker now is the time for him to sit patiently while his management team of trainer John Barber and manager Angelo Di Carlo plot the path ahead that hopefully results in a shot at the world title.
For Brunker this was a dangerous fight against a hungry opponent who was looking to reboot his career after falling short in his two previous world title showdowns, fully knowing that another slipup would send his career into a terminal decline.
“For me it’s all about winning and moving forward to a shot at the title. I took this bloke very seriously and knew that I couldn’t afford a slip up or it can set me right back. But in saying that I wasn’t that pleased with my performance and know that I need to keep getting better” Brunker commented.
For Brunker it is important not to get frustrated and lose his focus as he waits for his shot at a world champion. Ideally Brunker is looking at getting a shot at the very beatable WBO and former IBF Champion Orlando Salido.
“I am craving a shot at Salido. I reckon his style is made for me and his record shows he is vulnerable to a pressure fighter like me. But I need to stay ring sharp and keep busy so that I’m ready when the time comes. But I also need to make sure that I focus on only the fight and opponent in front of me” Brunker added.
The ultimate scenario for Brunker in 2013 would be winning the WBO title against Salido later in the year and setting up a unification bout against fellow Australian, IBF title holder Billy Dib.
“Everyone knows I want a shot at Dib and I called him out last year. I respect him as a world champ but believe he wouldn’t be able to withstand my style of fighting. The best chance to get him in the ring is to get the WBO belt and dangle the carrot of the WBO title in front of him knowing his only loss came fighting for this belt against Steve Luevano”.
Brunker and his team are grateful they were given the chance to fight on the card of arguably the biggest All-Australian boxing promotion of all time in Mundine Vs. Geale II.
“Garrie Francisco and the Grange team have had me on a couple of their promotions including Gealey’s world title card down in Tassie in 2011. To get the chance to fight on another world title card after my recent New York fight gave me the opportunity to show what I can do to a world-wide audience” Brunker said.
All of his raucous fans are eagerly looking forward to the time when it will be Brunker headlining a world title bout in Sydney.
“I’ll go anywhere and fight anyone for a shot at the world title. But it would be my ultimate dream to bring a world title fight to Sydney one day but first thing is first” Brunker wisely noted,
“Mr Business Is Back In Business After Convincing Win Over Zac Awad
By Sean Castle – Ringside
Former world-title contender Jamie Pittman successfully returned to the ring against former IBF Pan Pacific champion Zac “Shaker” Awad with a shutout victory over eight rounds at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Fighting on the Mundine vs. Geale II undercard, Pittman entered the ring knowing that another loss might draw the curtain on what was a once promising career. Fighting for the first time since a controversial second round TKO loss in a PABA Super Middleweight title bout against Serge Yannick on the Geale vs. Albert world title promotion in August 2011, Pittman knew he couldn’t afford another slip up against the tough Awad and entered the ring clearly as a man on a mission.
Known in the fight game as “Mr Business”, Pittman was smarting over a decision to stop his previous fight over against Yannick over a cut that he regarded as minor.
“I’d just one the first round against Yannick and was feeling good and starting to get my range. He got me with a clean shot but it didn’t do much damage. The cut was only small and I couldn’t believe it when the referee stopped it. It was only a scratch but ended up putting a big dent in my career but that’s the way it goes” said Pittman.
That loss forced the proud indigenous fighter from the Central Coast of NSW to seriously reassess the direction of his career.
“I took a little time out to think things through. I wanted to make sure everything was spot on before getting back in the ring. I never intended it to be 18 months between fights but a couple of fights fell through which was frustrating” Pittman added.
And it was clear that everything that everything was spot on as Pittman’s punches were sharp and his defence was tight. His footwork and combinations had the durable Awad on the back foot throughout the fight and he never really got into rhythm.
It has been three years since Pittman decided to make the switch to the Grange team and he is pleased with the changes that trainer Graham Shaw has made.
“Graham has remodelled my fighting from top to bottom, working on my footwork and tightening up my defence. I felt really confident going into this fight and needed some good rounds under my belt. Awad is a tough bloke and he beat Junior Talipeau for the IBF regional belt so I’m very pleased to beat him so convincingly” Pittman noted
Fighting out of the Grange Old School Boxing gym has given Pittman the chance to train alongside good friend and world champion Daniel Geale and Pittman is the first to sing his praises.
“Daniel is one of the best fighters this country has ever produced. He has done things no other fighters have. He has won two of the biggest titles going and did it the hard way by going to Germany and dethroning two German world champions. I know how hard that is after losing a world title fight there against Sturm in 2008. Training alongside Gealey inspires me to get back to that level and I feel a better fighter after each workout”.
Pittman, who has spent time working for the Department of Community Services helping abused children rebuild their lives, had had a distinguished amateur career, winning 136 of 167 fights and collecting numerous state and national titles as well as 4 Oceania Gold Medals. Obvious highlights include winning Gold at the Commonwealth titles, representing Australia at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and holding the prestigious honour of captaining the Australian team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Along the way Pittman got to take on the best of the best including Lucian Bute, teammate Geale and Jean Pascal. He knows that now is the time to turn all of that promise and potential into fulfilment and is convinced that the Grange team has him primed to deliver.
“The Grange setup is world class. It’s all about team. I fought Sturm for the WBA world title back in 2008 but I feel a much more complete fighter today and know that with this team behind me I can build on this victory and step up in the world rankings” Pittman added.
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