TO the critics who wondered how Jake Carr would respond when a hard hitting opponent was able to hit him or hurt him, he provided resounding answers to both questions overnight.
In the shape of ‘King’ Dane Mulivai (now 4-1, 4 KOs), the defending Australian super middleweight champion was facing an unbeaten, formidable and most notably a confident challenger who came to the picturesque Melbourne Pavilion with an upset on his mind.
However, after ten uniquely competitive but one-sided rounds, reigning champion Carr left centre ring with his perfect record intact (now 8-0, 3 KOs) and his national strap wrapped firmly around his waist.
Simply put, he had a far more diverse arsenal and significantly better athleticism than a robotic Dane Mulivai – who regularly alternates between boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts – as he took his challenger’s best weapon away from him, the ability to land heavy shots.
Despite his record saying the contrary, an equally heavy handed Carr, 23, turned in another virtuoso performance with a ten round unanimous decision that leaves many wondering as to where his next legitimate challenges lies after being crowned the victor by tallies of 100-91 and 100-90 twice.
By his own remarkably high standards, Carr, who was filled with nervous energy early on, raced out of the blocks as he clearly outscored Mulivai in the opening rounds. With that said, Carr was huffing and breathing quite heavy, but with his lead firmly intact by the midway point.
The highly regarded prospect showed his ability to box neatly behind a tight guard from the center of the ring – landing at will with head-snapping jabs and left-right combinations. Mulivai, 30, appeared to buzz Carr twice in the fight, once in the third round and lastly in the final round, but did not have the work rate or urgency to follow up on his handy work.
“I was really confident going into the fight,” said Carr post-fight in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “It was a tough fight, I had to be smart for the whole 10 rounds. Mulivai has got a lot of power behind his punches. I wasn’t there to be hit with those big shots and I think I executed that pretty well.”
“I did a pretty good job not standing there and just allowing him to throw those big shots. I moved pretty well and hit him with shots he wasn’t able to hit me with,” he continued. “I boxed smart, I wasn’t there to be hit. I made sure my defence was tight and my offence was fast.”
“I went out there did the job and got the win which I’m really happy about.”
It was announced earlier in the night by Carr’s manager Barry Michael that Carr, providing that he was successful, would next defend his title against promising Indigenous prospect Renold Quinlan – who like Carr sports an undefeated record.
“If Renold Quinlan wants to step up, that’s good. It’s another great fight for myself, Renold Quinlan and the Australian boxing fans,” he said. “There is still fighters to fight here in Australia and I still need to improve before I take that next step (internationally).”
“I’m really hoping to get a few more good fights in this year,”
Carr will now most likely head abroad next month as he is pencilled in to help fellow Australian Daniel Geale, who will challenge unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin next month at Madison Square Garden.
“Geale is fighting Gennady Golovkin on July 26th at Madison Square Garden. The Geale camp has asked if I can go over and be Daniels main sparring partner to help him prepare,” Carr explained. “I have taken that opportunity to help further my experience and help Daniel bring home another world title.”
In the semi-main event of the evening, undefeated Australian light welterweight champion Qamil ‘Golden Boy’ Balla (7-0-1, 3 KOs) scored a routine decision over two-time Victorian titlist Terry Tzouramanis (12-2-3, 3 KOs).
Balla, 24, who was returning from a forced lay-off due to an injury sustained late last year, was in cruise control as he dominated proceedings against a durable Tzouramanis, who gave a solid account of himself in defeat.
The judges unanimously favoured Balla, who floored Tzouramanis in the third round, by scores of 97-91, 98-90 and 99-89.
Jake Carr UD 10 Dane Mulivai
Qamil Balla UD 10 Terry Tzouramanis
Rivan Cesaire SD 10 Samuel Colomban
Kane Watts UD 8 James Emmerson
Sam Ah-See UD 6 Mike Esganderi
Ibrahim Balla KO 2 Thongthai Rajanondh
Czar Amonsot TKO 4 Thong Por Chokchai
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz