hit them again

A boxing tragic's look at the world of boxing. No hidden agendas, no cash for comment, just my opinion, for what it's worth, of the greatest sport there is. Oh yeah, and i can't fight for shit!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


The Marrickville Mauler is back for one more round.

A street thug made good, he was an Aussie battler who’s catch cry “I Love You’se all.” is now part of our culture, he captured three world titles, he’s in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and when his bid for a fourth world title against Azumah Nelson went wrong, the whole of Australia was behind him. Now, at 44 Jeff Fenech is having one more blue against the 49 year old Nelson.

I talked to Jeff (via the phone) as he prepared himself for the fight asking him first why he was doing it.

I don’t know, I think I got rocks in my head. It just came about. Someone challenged me to fight in Thailand, first few days I said no no no then its all of a sudden, maybe and then a yes. Then he (Samart Payakarun) pulls out and we had to find someone else and old Azumah Nelson pops up. It goes from Payakarun which was something that was going to be relatively easy to something (Nelson) that’s going to be quite difficult. It’s gonna be a hard night.

Your hands always gave you trouble, how are they now?

Still sore, nothing’s changed but then everywhere is sore at the moment.

You had a pretty rough time with the law as a kid. How did you end up in a boxing gym with Johnny Lewis?

It was just by sheer coincidence, I didn’t go there to box. It was a youth club and I just went to see a friend. He (Johnny) was one of those men who was like a magnet and I was instantly… I don’t know, I instantly took a liking to him. And to be honest with you, it was like he was my dad. We’re very close still and it’s good to be back together.

Well, as an amateur you apparently only ever lost when Johnny wasn’t there.

Yeah, I know, pretty strange huh? It’s a pretty unique relationship.

Its always been portrayed as a good relationship too but there were times when he had to get tough with you weren’t there?

Yeah, many times. If I was a bighead or anything, he’d tell me to pull my head in or see the door you walked in son, walk back out again.

When you look back over your career now what were your toughest fights?

I fought the greatest fighters out there. Daniel Zaragoza, he’s in the Boxing Hall of Fame, Carlos Zarate, he’s in the Hall of Fame, Azumah Nelson, he’s in the Hall of Fame. (Marcos) Villasana, (Mario) Martinez, all these great fighters. Victor Callejas you know, he was a great fighter, a very difficult fight. I fought the Olympic Gold Medallist (Steve McCrory) and knocked him out. Jerome Coffee he was 26 and 0 when I fought him so I fought some great fighters and I was able to overcome them all. So I’m hoping I can overcome one last beat up at 44. (laughs)

What about fighting the great Carlos Zarate? Everyone said he was at the end of his career but he still had sixty six victories up his sleeve.

You know they say he was old but he was thirty odd and now I’m fighting again at forty four… he wasn’t really too old at all. (laughs)

In 1990 you were supposed to fight Juan La Porte for the WBC Super Featherweight title but you had to pull out with glandular fever. Is that a fight you regret not getting?

It’s funny I was just thinking about that a couple of days ago. I was on a plane with Azumah sitting on the other side and I thought about the La Porte fight. You know if that had happened, I wouldn’t have even had to think about anything else. That would have been my fourth title, but like you said I got sick. These things happen though you can’t change them.

Around the same time there seemed to be a bit of a feud between you and fellow Aussie world champ Jeff Harding. Was that anything to do with you both having the same trainer? Was there some jealousy perhaps?

No no no, Jeff’s not like that. (laughs) Jeff, he’s pretty well balanced, he’s got a chip on both shoulders. (laughs)

There seems to be a couple of ex boxers you don’t see eye to eye with. Barry Michaels is another one.

Mate, the only way he can get in the paper is by mentioning me. For years he’s said ‘I wanted to fight him for twenty years.’ But you know four or five years ago when he was talking about twenty years back I was at the Olympic Games! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

The Man, Anthony Mundine has been pretty vocal too. He’s even challenged you to a fight at middleweight.

What do you expect from an idiot’s mouth? Stupid things! He’s just jealous. As a league player he wanted to knock Brad Fittler and Laurie Daley but he could never do it, he wasn’t good enough and it’s the same in the fight game. He’s a talented kid no doubt about it. He’s done a great job but he’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, he’ll never fight fighters who can fight. He won’t step up. That’s the thing with me and Azumah Nelson. We both respect each other. Respect goes a long way in the world.

You were always accompanied in the ring by your mate Con Spyropolous who was brain damaged at birth. It’s not often touched on but that friendship certainly helped bring a much wider understanding of the mentally disabled to the public didn’t it? It wasn’t a gimmick, it was a genuine friendship.

You’re a hundred percent right. Con was certainly teased and stuff you know when he was a kid and when I was young I teased him too but now to be able to help him, trust me, it makes you feel much, much better. He’s still a huge part of my life and I see him everyday when I’m in Sydney.

And how is he these days?

He’s great. He’ll be at the press conference (in Sydney), he’ll be at the fight. Like I said, he’s still a huge part of my life and will be until one of us is no longer here.



Screening on Main Event and Fox pubs and clubs

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


From School Boys through to Seniors you can expect some great boxing from South Australia’s up and coming amateur boxers this weekend at the SA Boxing Inc. Novice Titles. Held at the Cumberland United Soccer Club in Edith Street Clarence Gardens the bouts kick off Saturday night 31st May at 6.30 pm and continue through Sunday afternoon June 1st from 12 noon. With more than twenty fights scheduled over the two days there’s sure to be some great fistic action.

Of course there are plenty of bright prospects and future champs but here’s a couple of names to keep an eye on, Norwegian Exchange Student Hakon Halverson fighting out of the Glenelg Boxing Club, Ben Pham from the Aboriginal Sobriety Gym and from Mount Gambier Jacob Parham. Be there and see the next generation of South Aussie boxing talent.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mr. Business

JAMIE PITTMAN – He Means Business

Thirteenth ranked Aussie middleweight Jamie ‘Mr. Business’ Pittman takes on the WBA champ Felix Sturm in Germany on April 4th. Pittman might only have 16 pro fights under his belt but this former Olympian had over one hundred amateur blues. He got ripped off in Athens by a German boxer and Jamie wants to get some revenge.

This is a pretty big opportunity isn’t it? Are you ready for this?

Yeah I believe I am. I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been and I’m improving with every session, getting strong in every session, so yeah, I really believe I am.

Are you worried about fighting in Germany? It is notorious for its hometown decisions.

I believe I’ve got a different style to the guys that have been there and been ripped off. I’ve got a very European style and it’s something I think the Germans will like, including the judges. They like boxers, they don’t like brawlers or big hitters so I’m confident I can steal the judges away from him and steal his hometown crowd away from him.

Well Sturm did get a draw in his last fight against Otis Griffin so they don’t favour him all the time.

Yeah and that was to a guy who was flatfooted and didn’t have much of a workrate and he’s American. So, you know, if he can get a draw I believe I can beat Sturm.

Has he made a mistake then, picking you out, thinking he’d have an easy fight against a young bloke with not too much experience, not a big KO record.

He’s definitely picked the wrong bloke. He’s fought one left hander in his career and the guy was slow and flatfooted and he didn’t handle him very well. I’m fast, good on my feet, got a big work rate so I think he’s chosen the hungriest middleweight in the world at the moment. I’ve got a totally different style to all those guys he fought. A very awkward style, I throw a lot of punches. I think they’re crazy, our styles clash and he doesn’t have the style to face a southpaw. He’s definitely going to run into trouble.

You mentioned being a lefty. You southpaws always get a bad name because of your style. No one wants to fight a left hander. Does that ever worry you?

It doesn’t worry me how I win a fight or how I look, long as I win.

Fair call. You’ve had an extensive amateur career, well over a hundred bouts. Does that experience help you here in the pro ranks?

Well, I’ve already been to Germany four times as an amateur. And the Olympics was a big eye opener for me. You know, nothing’s bigger than the Olympics so I’m not over awed by this fight at all.

Speaking of the Olympics, you got ripped off in Athens against a German fighter didn’t you?

Yeah, Lukas Wilascheck, he’s ranked no. 12 in the world now (supermiddleweight) and he’s actually managed by the same guy as Felix Sturm. So I’m hoping he’s at ringside so I can say, “Where’s my rematch?”

I’ve got ripped off twice with him. I fought him in his hometown two years before the Olympics and got ripped off there as well so this one is to get even with all the Germans.

Now you’re related to one of Australia’s most famous fighting families, The Sands aren’t you? Does that add pressure do you think? Trying to live up to that bloodline?

Yeah, my cousins are Richies, which is Dave Sands grandson, so it’s definitely in my blood and it’s in my blood to be world class. I guess I’ve got to back up my ancestors and fight well. You know, there was Dave Sands and Tony Mundine, two aboriginals go for middleweight titles and two of em got beat, so hopefully I’m three times lucky.

You’ve been sparring with a couple of good fighters to prepare too.

Yeah, Sakio Bika is my main sparring partner, I probably do sixteen to twenty rounds a week with him. And I’ve been sparring with another aboriginal boxer, Edgar Wymarra too who’s very fast with his hands. By the time I’ve done eight rounds with Sakio I’m tired, you know so those last four rounds it’s good to get a fresh face in front of me.

What’s it like sparring with Sakio.

There’s no such thing as sparring for Sakio, he goes hard all the time. Even walking into the gym, it’s like you’re his enemy you know and it’s only a spar!

That’s got to be good preparation for the fight.

There’s no way in hell that Sturm’s going to be as strong as Sakio. If I can go ten rounds with Sakio Bika I’ll be able to go thirty rounds with Felix Sturm.

An edited interview appears in this week's People Magazine. buy it and keep the publisher happy! (and me in work)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Katsidis, Green and a real loss

Well the Katsidis/Casamayor fight was a corker wasn't it? Michael down twice in the first when he kept leading with his face, a great comeback and then Casamayor down and almost out in the sixth from that body shot and then that tenth round where Katsidis came out blazing, hurt the Cuban and then walked into a huge left hand and went down himself. It was definitely fight of the year material regardless of my disappointment at the Aussie losing. Katsidis certainly gave his all and he's sure to be offered more fights in the US based on that blue. And Casamayor was a surprise too considering how lack lustre his last bout was. He really came out firing himself and his jab in particular looked the strongest I've seen for a long time. He was obviously taking Katsidis seriously. A great bout and I'm sure Michael learnt more from this loss than any of the previous twenty three victories. He certainly hasn't lost any fans with the fight he put up.

Danny Green has retired! Where the hell did that come from? Seemingly in the midst of preparing himself for his first title defense and from all reports looking strong, he's suddenly upped and quit the game claiming he wants to spend time with his family and wants to go out on top. Something else has to be going on that we don't know about. You don't quit in the middle of preparations for a world title defense unless there's something seriously wrong somewhere - whether it's your own health, a family problem, illness... if he had been out of the game for a year ala Paul Briggs then I wouldn't be surprised at the announcement but this seems to have caught everyone (including his team) by surprise. We'll just have to wait and see. Until then I'd just like to say thanks Danny for giving us a true blue Aussie bloke to support, for the great bouts you put on (especially against Eric Lucas) and for never backing down from a fight. We can only wish you well in the future and hope everything is alright and that this is purely a man who just wants to be at home with his family.

RIP Joe Bridges - Amateur Boxing Icon and legend who passed away on Friday 22nd March aged 74 years old and just three days shy of his 75th birthday. I met Joe last year after a couple of phone calls to talk about boxing and the like and we discovered that he was from the same end of the world as me (only he'd been there thirty years longer) and in fact in my father's boxing collection we dug out the original Amateur Boxing mags that Joe and his wife Julie had put out back in 1978 from Millicent. The next time I saw Joe he dropped around some back issues of the new Amateur Boxing mag that he'd resurrected in 2003 and we talked a bit about a few of the old hands down in Millicent and what was happening around Adelaide. He then went off to the doc's to have a check up as he was in the midst of battling bowel cancer! A tough old bugger, he then organised to walk from Adelaide to Melbourne to raise money for cancer research. This he did last year and I was one of the few that showed up in Victoria Square to see him off. I'm not bragging here, I was there because well, I guess I was representing Millicent and my old man and Tony Campbell and the other friends that couldn't be there. Joe did that walk, though it took a lot out of him by all reports. That was the last time I actually talked to him, just before he headed off with a camera man following to get footage for the news. He was planning another walk this year from Melbourne to Sydney and i was meaning to catch up with him to see how the plans were going. i didn't get to it and now, well... anyway, it was good to know you Joe even if it was only briefly. One of my greatest writing moments was getting an article into The Fist a few years back about SA boxer Jamie Wallace. In the very next issue was a letter from Joe correcting a factual error! He also added that it was a great story. Mate, i don't think I told you but i was as proud as punch when you said that. I still am.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Michael Katsidis talks the talk.

While other fighters talk about facing the best Toowoomba boy and WBO Lightweight world champion Michael Katsidis is doing it. With a record of 23 wins, 20 kos and no losses, he was all set to take on WBO’s ‘other’ champ Juan Diaz when Don King scuttled the fight. Instead Michael, backed by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, now finds himself facing Lightweight legend and Olympic Gold Medallist Joel Casamayor for the prestigious Ring Championship belt.

Let’s start with a two part question. (1) Is this fight for any of the belts? Since I know there were threats of Casamayor’s WBC belt being taken away and your WBO interim belt maybe being upgraded.

The WBO and The Ring Magazine Belt

And (2) do you think all the sanctioning and different bodies helps or hinders the sport sometimes. Do you sometimes just want to fight the best and say bugger the titles and belts.

I don't believe I am one to say what is or isn't best for the sport. I think it is my position to demonstrate what is best for the sport and that is to fight the best and be the best. This can only be measured in time and by my performance. Come 22nd of March I would have prepared a lot of my life just for this one day in the office to prove my self. The A, B, C's in belts and titles will soon be unified, there will be one champion. Until then every fight is the fight of my life regardless of what its for. I cannot treat any battle any different to another.

A lot of fighters talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. By taking on Casamayor you’ve really stepped up. I mean he has fought some of the best. I know this sounds daft but are you ready for him? And vice versa I guess, do you think he realizes what he’s got himself in to?

We are not measured in this life by what we say but by what we do. I can only promise to give my very best and do myself my family and heritage proud. I can't remember when an Australian has ever beaten a Gold medalist at the Olympic games. Casamayor is one of Cuba's finest and an all time great. What he says doesn't mean anything. He has done enough in his career to prove where he stands in the sport. He now holds what is regarded as the supremacy of al belts. The Ring Belt.

Diaz has once again avoided you, this time it appears to be Don King who’s crashed the party. Will you get a chance to take him on? Is that fight still on your agenda?

Whilst all the papers and press were rolling with the highs and lows of the Don King saga Christmas time drew near. Brendon Smith and myself sacrificed our time to be with our families to do the work that needed to be done. There can only be so many moves a fighters management can make and although it appears Don King has more moves then a rattle snake, time will soon answer your questions. Either way my job is to fight and not involve in the political side of the sport.

Having Golden Boy on your side, obviously will raise your profile in America but do you think that it adds pressure? Everyone expecting you (and Billy Dib too) to perform, to win and win well because De La Hoya and co are backing you.

I carry no exra weight on shoulders aside from the weight I put on my self (; The rest doesn't matter.

And what is it like to have the likes of Oscar and Bernard around? Are they friendly or is it all business? Do you even see them?

I don't see Bernard that often though occasionally at the fights. I had a great time in Puerto Rico with Oscar at the WBO convention. Knowing Oscar on a personal level from fighter to fighter is a great boost. Each time we do business the whole Golden Boy team treat Brendon and I like family. I would love to bring the whole Golden Boy team to Australia some day for a Super-Fight. I believe the Australian public would take very kindly to the likes of Oscar De La Hoya making a visit

Lets talk about the fight itself. Where do you see you winning this bout? What have you got that others have lacked when facing Casamayor? Obviously power has to be a factor but do you worry about his experience, the fact that he’s faced stronger opponents perhaps than you have?

I like to keep all cards close to my chest on these issues. You'll be able to find out for yourself in your own home come Easter Sunday 23rd march. (Main Event) All I can tell you is that I'll be very weary of the Rabbit punch.

You’ve put in a couple of real fight of the year type bouts – do you see this being one of those battles or will Joel try and outbox you rather than brawl?

The plot has certainly thickened. It is renown I'm never in a dull fight. I bring out the bet in every opponent as like me they are fighting for their lives. Each fight is the fight of my life. My fight records suggests this.

I read that you got Sportsperson of the Year in your home town Toowoomba. That must have been a buzz, knowing that they’ve recognised you and your sporting achievements.

I never forget where I come from and what made me who I am today. I have my family and Australia, Toowoomba to thank for that. It's been a great honour coming from where I'm from and making a statement to the world. I've shown anyone can become a warrior if it's alive inside of them. I'm a very proud person and getting that award has meant more then just any title. Since I was a little kid I've wanted to win that award.

The Katsidis Vs Casamayor fight is being screened on Main Event on Sunday 23rd March - check guides for details. Billy Dib is on the undercard.

An edited interview is in this week's People magazine. buy it and keep me in a job!

Monday, February 25, 2008


On February 27th Nader “Lionheart” Hamdan takes on Anthony “The Man” Mundine for Mundine’s WBA supermiddlewieght belt. Both Sydney boys, many see this as another easy fight for Mundine but after talking to Nader Hamdan I wouldn’t be so sure. A 10 year, 45 fight veteran, Hamdan is really fired up. The Man better be on his game and not just pissing about or we could just see an upset.

Thanks for talking to us Nader, how’s the training been going?

I know this sounds weird because I’ve been boxing for ten years but I’ll be coming in in the best condition of my life. I’ve never trained so hard in my life.

You’ve been chasing Mundine for a long time, even before he became champ, so did you see something there that made you think “I can beat this guy.”

Well, him being who he is, you know, love him or hate him he’s one of the biggest athletes to come out of this country so you know, when you beat him you go from an unknown to being well known.

So do you have a plan to beat him?

Yeah, the plan is basically… well, they know and everyone knows I ain’t gonna out box him so I’ve just got to be right on him. Basically that’s the only way to beat him. I can’t beat him on points or try and outbox him. He’s quicker, a better boxer but I’m a streetfighter you know… I’m gonna put a lot of pressure on him and make it rough and ugly for him.

Well he can be beat can’t he? We tend to forget he has lost a couple of fights.

He can be beat, it’s been done before. Everyone can be beat.

You’re probably one of his toughest opponents – 45 fights and you’ve only lost to the very best. Do you think perhaps people are underestimating you?

I don’t mind being the under dog, it’s the story of my life mate.

Do you think Mundine himself has underestimated you? I mean, bringing the chicken out at the press conference, talking about Green. Maybe he’s already looking past you?

No I don’t think so. He’s a professional, I know he’s training hard. Obviously he’s got people out there looking at what I’m doing and I’ve heard that he’s in full training. He’s not taking me lightly, he’d be foolish to.

Is this your big Cinderella Man moment?

A lot of people have said that you know and that’s exactly what it is because I should have had my shot six or seven years ago but due to the politics and bullshit in the sport I didn’t get that chance. So I’ve got to thank the man for giving me the opportunity. Hopefully it’ll have the same ending too.

So do you think maybe it was supposed to happen this way that you missed those opportunities where you maybe weren’t at your fittest anyway but now you get this chance when you’re ready for it?

I think it was destiny man. I was pretty much done with my career and the only thing that kept me hanging on was a title fight. I was no. 2 in the world for 2 ½ years and I could never get the opportunity. Nothing came, nothing and now here I am, towards the end of my career and this chance has been given to me and I ain’t gonna let it go. I’m gonna take him out. I told him straight out “if I don’t knock you out, you better knock me out.” That’s my plan, I’ve got to knock this guy out. He’s been knocked out before, he might have to revisit that. It’s not like it’s a secret. In the overall scheme he’s going to come forward and I’m going to bash him. I’m not going to try and outbox him, too many tried that and they got their heads boxed in. I’ll be in there trying to take him out you know, rough him up and make it ugly. It’s the only way to beat a boxer like that.

Everyone knows I come to fight. I’m a fighter that’s what I do. It’s all about heart man, that’s why they call me lionheart.

the fight's on main event/foxtel and in pubs and clubs... i know Mundine's last couple of fights have been foregone conclusions but I wouldn't be surprised if Hamdan pulled off the biggest upset of the year here. he's got the heart and the endurance, it just remains to be seen if he has the power to maybe just rattle The Man's cage.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

This weekend's fights

Ok so here’s where I pretend I know somethin’ about this sport. Two Aussies (actually both transplanted but let’s not go there) fighting this weekend. Gairy St. Clair is taking on Amir Khan over in old blighty. Gairy is stepping up in weight and is a last minute replacement but I wonder if Khan’s handlers have maybe made a mistake? Granted, St. Clair has lost a couple recently but he’s far more experienced than anyone Khan has faced yet and he doesn’t fall down. It wouldn’t surprise me if Gairy can pull off an upset here but being Khan’s home turf it’ll probably go to the ref and Amir will keep his record intact.

Vic Darchinyan meanwhile is in the Philipines facing Z Gorres in an elimination bout to get a shot at the super fly title. This one is hard to pick. Vic has said he ain’t gonna wait for the judges decision so expect him to go in hard and try and knock Gorres out (but then that’s always Vic’s gameplan anyway) Having found out that he’s not invincible is probably not a bad thing for Vic because he might actually remember to bring some defensive skills to this fight. I think he might need them but in a tight contest I think Vic’s power could be the difference. There, that sounds impressive doesn’t it?

Oh and by the way, I’m “officially” People magazine’s boxing expert now! I prefer boxing tragic but expert sounds much more impressive on the CV don’t it?