Punch Lines

(c) Fighter-Online.com


Punch Lines

Forum of the Fight Fraternity

Thoughts of a League thinker -- 1 September 2004

The Olympic Games boxing decisions in Athens roused lots of controversy, largely because computer judges have trouble scoring in-fighting strikes and multiple exchanges. Large bursts of action went unrecorded.

In my Association days, I used to teach my boys to punch on the way in and punch on the way out and don't get too involved.

The Australian Amateur Boxing League judges work by eye. They award marks to a possible 20 points per round. Three landed punches earn one point. Combination exchanges can be more easily recognised this way, justice is done.

It is a matter of choice. If you like Olympic style boxing, if you trust computer button pressing, then go to the Associations (Boxing Australia and its State associations).
If you prefer the Traditional Boxing judges, who trust their eyes, then the League is structured for you.

Quite often, League fighters cross over to the Association and struggle in their first couple of fights. I have witnessed this on a number of occasions - but they adjust to the Olympic system over time.

With the hope of Olympic or Commonwealth Games selection, a lot of League boxers transfer to the Association.
If you look to turn Professional, on the other hand, stay with the League as it lends itself to the pro style.

Despite the desire of amateur boxing's thousands of participants, there appears to be no reconciliation in sight, due to politics and on-going grudges. Ultimately our boxers lose. The dream of merging is far, far away, unless attitudes change.

Personally I hold little interest in the Olympic branch as I would like some of my fighters to turn professional. And I haven't even talked about Global yet. More fuel to the fire?

Bendigo, Vic


Grass roots coverage -- 30 August 2004

I liked Brian Schofield's piece on the Brisbane gym, Logan's. This is good grass roots stuff that others will ignore at their peril. Don't underestimate female involvement.

Illawong, NSW


See more than a judge -- 24 August 2004

Watching the Olympic boxing on television, Jamie Pittman against middleweight Lukas of Germany, I scored every round to Pittman.

But one remembers, judges only see the fight from one angle, we at home get coverage from a wider range. We are shown more than any one judge sees. Three judges have to hit the button together, for the computer to register that point.

What made me smile and respect Jamie even more was the way the Newcastle southpaw took the disappointment. He is a gentleman and a great sportsman and a role model for our younger ones. An inspiration to the sport of boxing and all who love it.

Maryborough, Qld


When the Odds are Stacked -- 10 August 2004

Mike Altamura's revelations in Fighter Online showed up the selection of boxing imports. Those coming here from Fiji, Indonesia, Thailand and Argentina were mathematically certain to lose.

If they brought the best boxers from those lands, instead of tried-and-found-losers, we might see some honest matching.

I quote from my bound volume of FIGHTERs, June 1970:

"Those in control should be examined from time to time, and those not up to the
mark, from inspectors down to seconds, should be weeded out of boxing."

The words were by the peerless NAT FLEISCHER in 1947. Nat, we need you now

Brooklyn Park, SA


Dark thoughts about boxers and drugs -- 9 August 2004

Simon Glanville (Punch Line, 2 Aug) raised the issue of drugs in boxing. People worry as they should about drugs in sport not just because it's dangerous but because it's cheating. If sport is no longer honest human endeavour, why would we want our kids to participate?

I've been worried about the conspicuous silence from the boxing world on the matter of performance enhancing drugs for a long time now. The game is so fragmented without a legitimate world governing body that it's easy to get away with.
No sport is more dangerous than boxing. If an honest fighter who achieves with the sweat of his brow, is badly beaten up by a man on steroids, it's not the same as being beaten in a hundred metre footrace. Someone could die.

If you need clues as to whether drugs abound in boxing, recall some of the proven adages of the sport that no longer seem to pertain: "They never come back" - I've seen fighters come back, after retiring, bigger and better than they were.
"A good big man always beats a good small man" - how many times in the last twenty years have we witnessed good small men BECOME good big men, putting on kilos of quality muscle and retaining it, in their MID-TWENTIES - going up numerous weight divisions and winning titles.

Fighters today break physiological rules that used to apply to any sportsmen and that still do in other sports when the athletes are clean. No amount of "modern training methods" can turn a man into something he is not. Performance-enhancing drugs can.

I actually believe that it's rife. No sport lends itself to drug use, especially steroids, more than boxing does, and many boxers show the obvious outward signs of steroids, THG and possibly growth hormone.

Unfortunately, the legal profession prevents mention of any names. A British sporting body paid a heavy price for trying to ban drug cheats. The USA, in particular, has a record of giving its public what they "want": drug-enhanced humanoids performing hyper-human feats.

Why would boxing be exempt? As long as boxing is viewed purely as entertainment for theatre goers who will care? The networks? The promoters? Managers? Not likely.
When have you heard anyone in the boxing game get on their soapbox about drugs?

Croydon North, Vic


A browser wonders -- 2 August 2004

As a sports fan I enjoy an occasional browse through your magazine (is that what they call on-liners? I am from the era of Fammo and Rose). Particularly I like the pictures. Keep up the hard work.

With all the talk at the moment about drugs in sport, it occurred to me that I have never heard of any boxer returning positive drug tests. I remembered having seen some incredible acts of aggression, outside the rules, acts suggestive of amphetamines, acts like ear biting, that would leave Ben Johnson standing at the blocks.

I wondered whether this blank spot was due to my limited knowledge of the boxing world. Or is it just that the sport is ‘really clean.’ I presume the boxing authorities do drug tests?
Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

Mornington, Vic


The stats that shocked -- 24 July 2004

Even I, a rabid fan, had not realised the statistics that Mike Altamura revealed ("Aussie fair go, not for imports"). Of course we knew the cable shows from Sydney often brought never-wasses to "The Lucky Country". But the tally from the four unlucky countries was staggering - a hundred and eleven losses to three wins. That's not luck, that's rigging the roulette wheel.

Langwarrin, Vic


200 at the woolshed spar -- 14 July 2004

I'm afraid my old mate, Bill Holland may be suffering the effects of our full-on sparring back in the 1950's. In his letter ('I Remember Joe') he states that I (Joe Bridges) fought an Italian boxer in my shearing shed. Actually the bout was in the Town Hall in Millicent.

My gym was in the woolshed. Bill may be confused, with the passage of time and countless head blows, to the time I arranged for Australian amateur light-heavyweight champion, Don Cross to travel 100 kilometres from Naracoorte to spar with my Mike Nixon, now deceased.

Word got around and over two hundred locals turned up to see the workout.
Oh for the old days.

Morphett Vale, SA


Young Victor is back -- 7 July 2004

I recently noticed that the FIGHTER magazine returned, if not in print form at least you are back on line. This is nice to see and I wish you all the luck.
Modern boxing people may not have been around when I fought as Young Victor, featherweight. You can recapture the times (1958-63) on my website www.daytraders.com.au/youngvictor

Ring name Young Victor
Preston, Vic


The past comes back -- 5 July 2004

Just stumbled on the new site. Can't help yourself, can you, Mike. Has all the flavour of the old FIGHTER mag, people who know what they are talking about.
Loved the article on Danny Green. I may get back into the promotion side when it is a little less crowded here.
Good Luck and don't become too Victoriacentric.

Sydney, NSW

Ed.- Rathborne wrote for FIGHTER 1986. He promoted boxing at Bankstown Sports Club and on Skychannel in the 1990s.


I remember Joe -- 28 June 2004

I read in Punch Lines a letter "In defence of Nader." Nader Hamden had been criticised for an untidy bout with a bigger man, and fair enough, too, to defend him. Nader is a decent bloke. However the letter writer denigrated the critic (without naming him), writing: "Get a light-heavyweight to lean on you and see how you feel."
The critic had been Joe Bridges, my mate for forty five years. Now I write in defence of Joe. Way back in 1958, I was in the dressing room and saw this with my own eyes. Joe was staging a boxing tournament in his shearing shed in Millicent, SA. I remember the size of this bloke, built like a tank, even his name, Giuseppe Manos. The fellow Joe had matched him with took one look and refused to fight.
Joe got a bit annoyed and said, I'll fight him myself.

Now Bridges was a welterweight. Manos weighed three stone heavier. When Giuseppe felt the punches raining, he tried to lean on - but Joe just belted him until the referee called an end.

Not trying to put down Nader Hamdan, and neither was Joe Bridges, I'm sure. Just want the boxing world to realise that the man who publishes Amateur Boxer magazine "knows how it feels."

Brooklyn Park, SA


In defence of Nader -- May 24, 2004

'Mundine-Siaca was not a great fight . . the bout before was one of the worst I have seen' - FOL, 15 May

One of your 'Aspects' critics chose to bag the main support, Nader Hamdan v John Wyborn. Hamdan is not a light-heavyweight and took the fight after other opponents pulled out. Wyborn was constantly leaning on Nader; get a light-heavyweight to lean on you for eight rounds and see how you feel. In the sixth and seventh rounds Nader almost dropped Wyborn with a straight right and devastating body shots. I was ringside, third row, I could see the redness on Wyborn's left ribs, it must have hurt him. Any less opponent would have tasted the canvas.

You shouldn't post remarks that bash Australian boxers. Nader Hamdan hasn't a bad word to say about anyone. He is trying to feed his family, so he took whatever fight he could get. His management warned him about fighting a light-heavyweight as Nader is a middleweight. But Nader wanted to fight. I'm sure Nader has learnt a valuable lesson.

At least Nader Hamdan v John Wyborn was a real fight. The other lead-ups, Ben Cruz, Mick Katsidis, Jason Arena, were all given 'selected' opponents. Little skinny blokes. All of them stopped, because they were either hand-picked or cheap imports from Asia.
At least Nader had the guts to fight a real opponent. John Wyborn is no easy opponent and was a dangerous fight for Nader to take; he should be commended for his efforts, not bagged.

If you ever get a chance to meet Nader Hamden, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. I had the pleasure of meeting him after his bout with Wyborn, we went back to his trainer's house and watched the videotape of the fight. It wasn't until 2am that Nader left to go home to his wife and children. This guy is so dedicated to boxing he took on a light-heavyweight for a payday. Few boxers would take the risk he took that night. I doubt any of those people criticising him realise just how hard that fight would have been for Nader.

Albury NSW


SA's SP Jester -- May 24, 2004

You were right in 'KitBag' - Len Dittmar
was born in Largs Bay, South Australia, not South Africa. ('SA' misled BoxRec). The future Australian welterweight champion began his career in Adelaide in the 1940s when boxing was popular here.

When I lived on the Queensland Gold Coast, the retired Australian
welterweight champion Len Dittmar was a milkman also an SP bookie there.
Giving evidence at the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption, he was asked the phone number he took bets on. Len gave it to the bench, then turned to the body of the courtroom and said to the public: ' Did you all write that down?' Mr Fitzgerald gave him a rap over the knuckles.

Brooklyn Park, SA


Rated, but Inflated

Thank you for the great coverage of the Aussie titles in Adelaide, but again you missed the youngsters.
You said they were covered in full in Amateur Boxer print magazine, but where in the West can we get this mag?

In the Amateur Rankings, I was most impressesd to see my son, Ben Sicuso ranked in the 54kg division. It will be many sleeps before my lithe, 43.8 kg mosquitoweight, aged 16 1/2 years, is tipping the scales at bantamweight. A presage of things to come?
His alternate ranking in the 48 kg division was more hopeful, and the weight he is working towards attaining.

It would still be great to see a section devoted to the kids as they work hard at their sport but miss out on acknowledgement because of their youth. Keep up the good work, though. The mainstream press couldn't even be bothered covering the National Titles.

Spearwood W.A.

+ The "Honorary" Class for "midges," attached to light-flyweight (48 kg) in our Ratings, is for outstanding boys tapering down in weights to 35 kg. Trainers all States, send the evidence with the names. Room for a couple of dozen more! Boxers overlooked in other weight divisions, stake your claims, with evidence. The banner advert for Amateur Boxer Magazine appears in this edition.


Kicking on

I am just home from the Adelaide kick boxing, a ripper of a show.
Crowd about 1000, place jam packed at prices $35 standing, $50, and $100 with food and drink.
Promoter told me they sold $25,000 worth of $100 places. Unheard of in Adelaide.
Will kick boxing replace the Marquess of Queensberry in the new
millennium? Will FIGHTER start covering that sport?

Brooklyn Park, SA

+ How many readers want kick boxing from FOL?


Doomsayer knells again

In a punch line last December I wrote that Lovemore Ndou was "remarkably lucky” not to go through with his scheduled fight against Puerto Rican killer, Miguel Angel Cotto. Now I see he’s again set to fight Cotto, on a HBO show, 8 May.
As I first wrote, Lovemore is going to his DOOM!
Cotto will destroy him!

Thomastown Vic


His hero, Wocky

The reminiscence of Denis Buchanan about Rocky Marciano touched fond memory. I was working in Macleay Street back then and I used to lunch at the Chevron Hilton. I remember Serge, his strong San Remo accent. He couldn't stop talking about Rocky Marciano. As I recall so well, he always called him "Wocky."
Those were the days!

Potts Point, NSW


R I P, Bill Mordey

Sad to hear of the passing of boxing promoter, Bill Mordey. He revitalized boxing in this country in the 80's.
Today's boxing needs a Bill Mordey to come along and team with the likes of Stuart Duncan, for a revival to the mainstream Australian public to take place. Perhaps Glen Wheatley, Tony Carradonna, Roy Alexander and Stuart Duncan will be the next force in our sport.
Rest in Peace, "Break-Even Bill" Mordey.

"e-mail Sydney"


Bangkok calling: Please propose

How is everything? Your friendly Bangkok boxing promoter, Songchai, greets Australia. My promotions go monthly in Thailand, the next is 18 May. We need opponents for:

*Pongsith Wiangwiset for PABA Super-Featherweight title, 12 rounds at 130 lbs.
*Pichit Chor Siriwat, #2 WBA Light-Flyweight VS. a boxer, 10 rounds at
112-116 lbs.
*Yoddamrong Singwangcha, #2 WBA Super-Bantamweight VS. a boxer, 10 rounds at 126-128 lbs.

Moreover, in June-July we will have Yodsanan 3 K Battery, WBA Super Featherweight Champion, defend his title in Thailand.

Managers and supporters in Australia. For future programs throughout the year, send me your boxers' photos and fight by fight record. If you have boxers in the categories, 114 lb, 122, 126, 130, 135, 147 and 151 lb, please propose me. Thank you very much in advance. I look forward to your reply.

71/23 Soi Setsiri Samsennai Payathai
Bangkok,Thailand 10400


The long re-read

A good report on Adelaide 2004. Would be the best ever round-up of Amateur Titles. I hurried through first reading, as I have to leave for gym. Will study at leisure later.

Brooklyn Park, SA


Hatwell's hold over Heath

I was disappointed in your reporting of the Michael Hatwell/Heath Ellis fight from the national titles in Adelaide.You seem to have fostered an agenda of pumping up Heath Ellis. Fighters should earn their stripes in the ring, not via a publicity machine.

By your account, the referee penalising Ellis for holding, stopped him from getting going. Don't you see, it prevented Hatwell from inflicting more punishment!

I was informed that at the end the score was 23 - 5 to Michael. It was clear to everyone but yourselves that Heath was completely outboxed. As Hatwell has now won gold at the nationals for three years running (two years over Ellis) I look forward to your updated rankings.

Forrestfield Bulls Boxing Club,
Forrstfield, WA 6058


Good news for Thornberry


That Weidler story on Mundine and Fenech contained one of the most embarrassing faux pas I've seen by any journalist who ever mangled the truth. He states that the father of Noel and Ricky Thornberry, Trevor Thornberry, died in the ring in 1971.

He didn't. He collapsed during a bout with Jackson McQuade and wound up disabled. However, he's made a great recovery and is now as fit as he ever was in the 33 years since the bout.

Weidler then quotes young Thornberry: "I saw what happened to my father and how he died. He had a brain haemorrhage after losing 11 pounds to make the fight." Obviously, Thornberry could not have said those words.
Considering the fact that the rest of us know his dad lived, I assume he also was told.

If not, I'm happy to be the first to give him the good news.

Balmain, NSW

Perth Strandja Don't miss Bulgaria!

Liked your coverage of the amateur tourney in Adelaide, can't recall
reading better. But lest the Adelaide press cop all the scorn for aloofness towards the big competition, Perth's metropolitan media also ignored it.
Remarkably, a week after the All-Australians packed up and went home, the Perth daily nerwspaper for two days ran detailed results of the Strandja Cup, a zonal Olympic trials event in Plovdi, Bulgaria, for eastern Europeans.
An Aussie mustn't-miss, eh?

Claremont WA

Open Letter from Naoufel

Lovemore No-will-do - that's what I call Ndou !
My name is Naoufel Ben Rabah and I say next to Kostya I am the best light-welterweight in Australia. I have been trying to fight Mr "No-will-do" but his
management refuse to let him fight me.
How can you say you're African, Lovemore Ndou, when you hide behind your management?
A true African would accept the challenge or he would be cast out by his people.
Show us your pride, Mr Ndou - or be the African outcast! Don't say 'I No Will Do' any longer!


A true African warrior
Perth, WA


Give the kids space

Yes, I believe you should give the kids their own ratings, as well as rating the senior amateurs. The kids are the future of boxing. I'm not Joe Levisi (as you assumed in 'Upsets' 3 March), I'm a West Aussie mum who passionately believes that no sport is worth salt if they don't recognize their" babies".
Seniors or professionals didn't just wake up one day as elite sportsmen. Everyone started as a kid slogging it day in day out at the local club, in between school and part time jobs. Give the kids some kudos and they will be stirred to the next level and not lost to the other interests of youth.
We may have been so busy focusing attention on the big names, that the kids felt of no worth in this sport, so moved on to other things.
PS. Why not have a "Local Clubs" section dedicated to the kids and coaches doing the hard slog, cause they love what they do?

MUM LEVISI, by e mail

Mrs Levisi is a gymnastics coach.
Other club scribes, write in . . .Show if there's a demand.


Can't spell.

fighter online your magazine is really bad and boaring what is wrong with your people?
Joe Blow anonymous.

Two should avoid Briggs

I just watched the cable fight of British light-heavyweight Clinton Woods, and Jamaican born American, Glencoffe Johnson engaging in a rematch of their November draw, for the IBF light-heavyweight title in Woods' home town, Sheffield. This time it was mostly an 'I hit you and you hit me back' kind of fight. But eventually Johnson edged to a win by two points, on the three cards.

For the past year Woods had been avoiding our Paul Briggs when offered an eliminator for the Roy Jones' throne. Both Glencoffe and Clinton should avoid Briggs.

Brunswick, Vic


'Get your boy outa there!'

Tony Barber's tribute in Punchlines to his former charge, Barry Michael rings a resounding bell with me. Barry was one hell of a fighter who would have matched it with the best of the lightweights in the 1950s and if he was still punching for pay today would easily pick up one of those supermarket-shelf "world titles" now up for

The Sale of the Century celebrity was spot-on in saying Barry carried 1980s boxing along ...yet as fate decreed it was Lester Ellis who scored the headlines and won the fans. Sure the Master Blaster could whack -- as I found out when I sparred with him in his home gym at Sunshine --and he did win an IBF world title, but it was the oddly-unpopular Barry Michael (and Paul Ferreri, who held three Australian titles and always accounted for himself manfully) who were the class pugilists of Australia two decades ago.

Any fan who was there on that night in 1981 will never forget Barry Michael's encounter with Earthquake Carter. It was a Mike C. Ryan promotion (with Tony Barber, the Aussie-Pom's mentor) at the Dallas Brooks building in East Melbourne.

First, a little-known tale. Frank Quill, who was Australia's representative on the World Boxing Council, told me later he was at a WBC meeting in Seoul, South Korea, on the night of the bout. He mentioned the clash to the New York boxing identity, Bobby Goodman, who responded: "For God's sake, ring Melbourne and get your boy out of there. This Earthquake guy's a killer -- 24 KOs on the trot. No lightweight in the States will go near this assassin."

These days Goodman is Don King's right hand man. Back then his warning came too late. Carter attacked at the first bell and gave Michael a fearsome pasting. I had seen numerous bouts at Sydney Stadium since I was aged 10 in 1950 and never had I seen a man take such a battering without going down. Yet Barry survived. He took the game to the cocky American and round after round set the pace. In the eighth, I think it was, Earthquake struck again as in the first stanza; once more Michael weathered the battering.

The best fight I have ever seen was Russell Sands' 12 -round points win, at Sydney Stadium on 22 July 1957, over Ray Riojas, the Mexican-Texan who had KOd George Bracken. Barry Michael's effort in Melbourne runs a hairline second.

So if you ever meet Barry, shake his hand for me and ask him about Earthquake Carter. And if he boasts a little, turn a tolerant ear, because few fighters in the history of the game can have experienced a sweeter moment than when Barry Michael
Swettenham's arm was raised in victory that night.

Warrnambool, Vic


A bold British boxer

I invite promoters to consider a bold British boxer for Anthony Mundine's next opponent. I refer to Robin Reid. In December he took the universal champion, Sven Ottke, to a close decision in the German's hometown, Nuernberg. Reid also lost a split decision to the WBO champ Joe Calzaghe. Close? one judge had Reid winning by five points!
Robin Reid was WBC super-middleweight champ through four defences. He was WBF super-middleweight champ through six defences. Reid beat Soon Botes in four rounds, the same time Mundine took to stop Botes. Robin Reid would be excellent opposition for Anthony. The Australian public could really trust this matching - it would fill a football ground. If Anthony won, all doubts about him would evaporate. Brits don't lie down!

Darlinghurst, NSW


Meet while you can

Lionel Rose and Johnny Famechon were bantam and feather world kings when there was talk of matching the rival champions. They were spring chickens compared to Anthony Mundine and Danny Green. Our two super-middleweights are approaching 30, they are running out of time unless they fight now.

Brock Slade maintains that if Green and Mundine met the loser would no longer be a drawcard.  They do not have all that much championship fighting time left. Whereas Rose and Fammo were in their young prime.

Browns Plains, QLD


The great Rose-Fam 'shouldabeen'

Brock Slade's objection to a Danny Green-Anthony Mundine clash -- that it would destroy the loser as a drawcard --is the same creaky argument that undermined a contest between Lionel Rose and Johnny Famechon.

That was a match made in heaven --the world featherweight champion Fammo and the lad from Drouin, whose growing frame was turning him into a natural feather. Lionel's career was harmed by debilitating efforts to stay at bantamweight.

A Rose-Fammo bout at featherweight, far from setting back either career, could have been the first of a series. They would have been huge sellouts and could have been held outdoors, in the warm months at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or the Sydney Cricket Ground. The boys would have had memorable pay days, especially if television deals had been done to show the bouts overseas and in Australian states outside the one it was held in.

Instead, fans and the two potential antagonists themselves are growing old in another century, wondering what would have happened if they had squared off and regretting that timorous managements and tut-tutting about career ruination prevented the confrontations. As poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote:

For of all sad words of tongue or pen/The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

Warrnambool VIC


The wrong Pat

This name-calling must cease!  First we had the two Gonzos of Queensland scrapping over confused identities and now Mick Croucher, the WBF world president, has me--author of a recent gloomy prognostication on pugilism in Punch Lines --as the bloke he shared a cabin with at the AABL titles in Tassie some years ago.

Wrong fella, Mick. I've been to the Apple Isle only once, in the late 1970s--not to look after boxers but to help set up the John Batman Festival at Launceston. My only claim to boxing fame was as a regular contributor to Fighter magazine in its glory days. Your Pat Connelly was a heavyweight boxer later trainer, from Bendigo..

Mick, I stick by my assertion that the game is not what it was in the 1950s when we had so many good pugs that Aussie fight fans were spoiled. By golly I saw some encounters at Sydney Stadium when I was a teenager! and I couldn't wait to grab the Saturday afternoon tabloids the Sun and Mirror to find out what the likes of Frankie Flannery and George Bracken had wrought at West Melbourne and later Festival Hall on the previous night.

I can suggest quite a few pugs of that era who would have cleaned up Anthony Mundine-- for example, welters such as George Barnes and Darby Brown, who would have spotted The Man nine kilograms and sent him smartly to dreamland. Even in less distant times, the early seventies, Charkey Ramon--who impressed straight away after he lobbed from the Bush at Bernie Hall's gym--would have perpetrated unseemly incursions on the welfare of Mr Mundine's little boy Anthony.

But I must admit I was put in my place one night last October. I had dropped in to the Manhattan Hotel, in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs for a couple of quiet ones when, blow me down, I was surrounded by the Fight Factory push including a few young blokes weighing for contests the following night.

Among the fistic fraternity were old media mates, Bryan Membrey (with son Damien) and Howard Leigh. In conversation I slandered Mundine, only to be corrected by Membrey senior, who insisted that the super-middle was a worthy champ. It's hard to defend your case against a onetime national amateur and pro contender and referee who sees action up close. So I'll retire in silence to the neutral corner on that subject and let Danny Green speak on my behalf through actions one day.

Warrnambool, VIC


Take it easy, Champ

I find myself agreeing with Jack Sharkey. The 'Sharkey bites' man says Mundine is right to take an easy voluntary defence. Look at the defences by Fenech, Michaels, Ellis for example. They took the easy money first up. Or what they thought would be easy money. In the Ellis case it ended up a war, 13 rounds with Rod Sequenan.

Palm Beach, Qld

+ Fenech return with Shingaki, easy perhaps. Michael voluntaries with Choi and Fernandez, easy perhaps. Ellis choosing Sequenan, not easy. Ellis camp knew Sequenan fought the inaugural IBF title, 15 rounds split with Hwan-kil Yuh.


Gonzo NOT Hooper

I would like to make it completely clear that I have nothing to do with the letter previously published on this site regarding Anthony Mundine and his change to Muslim religion amongst other things.
The name attached to that letter was 'Gonzo X' of Queensland. This was not myself, Gerard 'Gonzo' Hooper of Flatenem Boxing Club, Townsville.

Townsville, Qld


Gonzo X is me!

Gonzo is the pseudonym of a prolific writer up North, and not Gerard (Gonzo) Hooper. Tell Hooper I'm lookin' for him for stealing my name which I stole from Hunter S Thompson. If Hunter has got a gripe I'll kick his ass too. Hooper couldn't rite dis good anyhow no way!

Becomes our new columnist


The future I see

I reply to Pat Connelly's letter, "Can't see a Future for Boxing." It's good to know Pat is still kicking, the last I was with him we shared a cabin at the AABL Australian Titles in Tasmania many years ago; that's when he had the Hosking Brothers boxing. Pat, I can't say that I agree with your view: I am looking at some very good happenings in boxing in Victoria. And the other states, Queensland, NSW, West Australia, have a lot of promising amateurs as well as pros coming along and the future looks bright for them. Sydney is going well with amateur and pro shows happening all the time.

Boxing is a tough, hard game, as you wrote, but there are still plenty of tough, hard young men and women looking to fight. The pro scene in Melbourne is looking better for next year - there are 10 bouts lined up with the Professional Boxing and Martial Arts Board. The VABA promote monthly top quality shows at the Reggio Calabria Club in Melbourne and the VABL have just been recognized by the state government after 18 years; VABL president, Jim Nomikos was telling me that he has already been approached by promoters wanting to do pro/am shows. This will lift the boxing job a lot, one aspect of boxing that our great state of Victoria lacked over the years.

Pro/Ams in my opinion have always been the way to go. They give the young amateur boxer a chance to appear alongside professionals, to watch and learn. Easier on the pocket for promoters, and bring the boxing fraternity together. True, Pat, there are not many Roses or Famechons out there at present but with this activity going let's hope it won't be long before another one bobs up and sets Melbourne on fire again

Public officer VABL
WBF World president
Glen Waverley, Vic


Boxer on the move

A keen follower of the amateurs I have occasionally seen a boxer compete twice in one tourney. But Fighter Online led me to something never before encountered. In Adelaide on Saturday, 6 December I watched Kaine Wescombe lose a points decision to Steve Rudd. Browsing the Online backwards I now read that on Sunday, 7 December Kaine boxes again in Melbourne again losing on points. How is this so? Did Kaine drive all night, perhaps a mad dash to the airport? Is he boxing around Australia in seven days?

Brooklyn Park, SA


Don't snuff a light

Already the newspapers talk of a showdown between Green and Mundine. This would be a terrific match except for one thing : a drawcard will be killed off. Better to match both against foreign opponents. We need to keep our head lights shining - not snuff one. Don't be short sighted.

Mermaid Waters, Qld


'Backed a few losers'

I would like to thank you for the coverage you have given the Victorian Amateur Boxing League and the World Boxing Foundation in Fighter Online. Although you have backed a few losers in your time I would say this time you have backed the winning double. The League and Foundation will work together in 2004 to promote boxing positively and to enhance the Sport of Boxing in the great state of Victoria.

Burwood East, Vic


As to credibility

Researching the record and history of Anthony Mundine's next opponent, Yoshinori Nishizawa, I came to the conclusion that the Mundine camp would acquire the same amount of credibility by defeating the remains of Stanley Ketchel, deceased 1910. The new WBA champion is worthy of a better challenger.

Sleepy Hollow, Northern NSW
(Real name & address supplied)


'Anthony X' ?

Anthony Mundine is a courageous and sensational athlete. To put himself on the line in his title fight with Echols was an incredible display of character. How many of his knockers would have that courage?

However, I find it hard to accept Anthony's criticism of fellow indigenous athletes. He says that the likes of Cathy Freeman fail to do enough for the Indigenous people. Yet Australia's Indigenous people have a deeply spiritual culture of their own and in light of this I wonder why Anthony had to fall back on Islam? Will the next step be to dub himself 'Anthony X' ?

(name and address supplied) Qld


Bigger cut for Chuck

See where Chuck Wepner - who gave Sonny Liston his last ten rounds - is sueing Sylvester Stallone for twenty million big ones. It was long known that Stallone used Wepner as the source for his Rocky Balboa character, particularly Chuck's 1975 tilt at the big time taking Ali full 15.

It seems originally Stallone approached Wepner telling him he was doing a flick to be called "Rocky." Did Wepner want to be cut into the action? Wepner figured that Stallone had no Hollywood profile at all, he would never get a movie off the ground. So Chuck took a nominal one-off payment.

It seems that when "Rocky:1" became "Rocky 2," and stretched reel after reel, Chuck came to feel he deserved some more of the cuts. Wepner was "The Bayonne Bleeder," he carried two hundred stitches on his brows.

For the record Wepner made a cameo appearance in the late-1980's flick "The Gig." He plays minder to an Al Martino crooner who crashes into a Catskills resort replacing the jazz combo the elderly Jewish residents love. Nice flick. See Chuck.

West Melbourne, Vic


Colorful Keith

Sir: Surfing the Internet, I came across ye olde FIGHTER. Still good reading. Especially the Keith Ellis interview. Keith has always been a colorful and controversial character, with the occasional witticism thrown in. More good interviews please - that would be like old times.

Brisbane Qld


Lucky man, Lovemore

Lovemore Ndou is remarkably lucky that the television network withdrew approval for him to fight future great Puerto Rican, Miguel Angel Cotto on 6 December in Puerto Rico. Instead they brought in the formidable South American, Carlos Maussa, and Cotto destroyed this better replacement in eight rounds. Lovemore would never have lasted that long. To fight Cotto would have been a career-ending fight. He should be thanking his lucky stars.

Thomaston Vic


Tony Barber's boys

It was great to see "our boys" in print. So much for the "too many fights" image of the washed up pug who didn't know when to quit. "Schoey" has really done great things with his study and degree. He may yet write the great Australian fight novel. Barry has become a top broadcaster and fight commentator. One day Melbourne fight fans may forgive him for knocking over all their other idols of his generation, and recognise that he single handedly kept the game alive in the early 80's in this town.

Melbourne, Vic

Barry Michael ...

Met by Barber


Can't see a future for boxing

So FIGHTER is making yet another comeback but is it a courageous move or a rash one at a time when boxing is tottering, eyeing the cornermen in a silent plea to sky the towel?

To this Punch Lines correspondent the scene is akin to what it was 40 years ago when, according to my fading memory, the only shining light in Australian boxing was Rocky Gattellari, who was almost as brash as Anthony Mundine is today.

I suspected then that the widespread affluence of the early 1960s heralded the doleful decimal for the game--yet only a few years later Lionel Rose and Johnny Famechon won world titles, FIGHTER hit the news stands and Channel 7 began years of TV Ringside.

I should have learned my lesson but I reckon my pessimism is more soundly grounded this time around. Resulting from a softening of life there is a deep disdain in society, almost a revulsion, for the blood and sweat inseparable from boxing.

We have all heard and seen the scientific reports of childhood obesity among Australian children and teenagers. Physical exertion is just not "cool"; peer pressure demands that leisure time be spent at the keyboard. How often these days do you see kids kicking the footy in a park or batting and bowling in the street?

And what boxing champs have we got to set the blood racing? OK, Kostya Tzsyu is of undoubted class but our other world champ Mundine is dubiously so. My age has probably given me away as a "you shoulda been here yesterday" grump but how many older FIGHTER readers would disagree that any number of 1950s welters--George Barnes and Darby Brown spring to mind--could have spotted a stone to `The Man' and put him away in a couple of rounds?

Maybe I'm wrong again but I can't see another Silver Age of boxing coming again, let alone a Golden Age. Aluminium, more like it.

former FIGHTER writer
Warrnambool, Vic


How could they leave out Carroll?

Congratulations to Johnny Famechon on being named the Victorian Fighter of the Century by the Victorian branch of the ABF. They get little argument there. I do, however, take issue with the criteria they developed to choose the contenders for this prestigious award. These were based on purely quantitative measures such as number of world championships won, KO/KO loss ratio etc. However, if such criteria exclude consideration of a fighter of the calibre of Jack Carroll, they are faulty in the extreme. Explaining their method, they commented that Famechon's title had true credibility in an era of fewer sanctioning bodies. Jack Carroll was no:1 contender for the world welterweight title when there were fewer still, and that must amount to something. In fact, those were the days when there was one world champion per division, and, though boxing may not have been squeaky clean, at least it was free of the money-driven idea of multiple champions.
In his last few years of fighting, Carroll was unbeatable at his weight, and made monkeys out of a succession world ranked challengers such as Leto, Van Klaveren and Janazzo. While two greats, McLarnin and Ross, played tag with the championship, neither was willing to face the number one contender. With all respect to Barry Michael, Lester Ellis and co, I think Carroll should have been rated at least their equal, possibly their superior in terms of achievement.

Croydon, Vic


The semis went on-line late

Love the coverage of the League Titles. But what happened to day two? It's all part of the big picture.

Bendigo Martial Arts, Vic

+ Better late than never, Greg!


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