The Winners & Losers: Star of the Ring 2

WE’VE learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to Anthony Mundine.

Often revered for his polarizing personality and occasional left-of-center opinions, few athletes, if any, garner such differing views from the Australian sporting public. The ultimate heel, Mundine is more than happy to play the ‘bad guy’, with the second ‘Star of the Ring’ offering from No Limit Boxing proving to be no different.

We summarize an entertaining card, that was a welcome addition to our midweek schedule as domestic boxing made it’s return to live broadcasting.


Anthony Mundine:

Mundine’s days as a legitimate world title contender appeared to be over following his eye-opening loss to Charles Hatley in 2015.

Having lost his WBC Silver light middleweight title and subsequent world rating with the WBC, all signs pointed towards an inevitable retirement. However, Mundine made the surprise decision to fight long-time rival Danny Green in an unneeded rematch of their 2006 meeting at the Adelaide Oval.

Remarkably, Mundine climbed four divisions to meet Green at cruiserweight for his Australian title. Irrespective of scorecards, Mundine showed in their second meeting that he’s simply the better fighter, despite the laughable 98-90 and 96-94 scorecards offered by Hubert Minn and Steve Morrow. With nothing left to prove and with few (if any) viable options on the table, Mundine remained inactive for the remainder of 2017.

The minor setback paved the way for a major comeback with the Mundine of old emerging against former two-time world title challenger Tommy Browne (now 35-7-2, 13 KOs), who gave Mundine (now 48-8, 28 KOs) a major scare in the opening round of their regional title fight. In an exceptional thirty second sequence in the second stanza, the 42-year-old stunned Browne with a right-hand counter and closed the show with a highlight reel worthy left hook.

The short-term future looks bright for the enigmatic former three-division titleholder, who voiced his interest in meeting WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn in a non-title fight at light middleweight.

The Event:

There have been many unsuccessful collaborations between boxing and rugby league.

Given the long history of embarrassing cross-over fights, the Australian public is understandably sceptical whenever the subject arises. However, for the second consecutive event, Matt Rose’s No Limit Boxing has striked a healthy balance, as reflected in the support of Fox Sports, who withdrew funding from domestic boxing in 2014 following a string of poorly rated events and declining ratings.

And while former Melbourne Storm utility Richie Fa’aoso is far from a boxer – reflected in his unanimous decision loss to Ben Sila – the sport is better off with events such as the one that was staged at a picturesque event space at The Star Sydney.

From a promotional standpoint, boxing in Australia had become stale while being filled with archaic and old-fashioned concepts. As this latest hybrid has shown, Mundine’s first foray away from pay-per-view television proved to be a promotional masterstroke with several young prospects given the opportunity to perform in front of a large television audience.


Kye MacKenzie:

For all intents and purposes, MacKenzie’s regional title defence against Emiliano Martin Garcia was an unofficial audition to face George Kambosos Jr.

Although MacKenzie (now 19-1, 16 KOs) is in a mandatory position to face Kambosos for his WBA Oceania bauble, the public was given an opportunity to see what the Indigenous firebrand had to offer, given his impressive recent form and desire to face Kambosos (13-0, 7 KOs), with the unbeaten Sydney resident standing alone as the consensus number one lightweight in Australia.

The 25-year-old, who has held the Australian title at both super featherweight and light welterweight, bullied Garcia (now 16-2, 13 KOs) for the entirety of the fight’s four round duration. However, MacKenzie appeared to fight to the level of his opponent, allowing himself to be countered several times in the third and fourth rounds. And while MacKenzie did as he pleased with Garcia, the performance lacked a much-needed exclamation point.

Such opportunities will not go unpunished against Kambosos, who is known for his signature right uppercut. Although the performance was far from stellar, MacKenzie is still a frontrunner to face the self-assured Kambosos, with MacKenzie holding a WBO #15 world rating, placed only two spots behind Kambosos, who is rated WBO #13.

If MacKenzie secures a possible rating with the WBA, the likelihood of the pair meeting will increase substantially.


Anthony Mundine:

“Jeff Horn, we want you baby. I don’t know if you can handle this, it’s too much baby.”

“I think the boxing public and the whole of Australia would love that domestic fight showdown. He can fight Crawford after me. I think we all want that, let’s get it done.”

“Age ain’t nothing but a number. I had half a hip for ten years, now I got a full hip.”

Photo: Provided