By Craig Watt/Photos: Craig Watt
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Former WBA light-heavyweight and WBC interim super-middleweight champion Danny Green held a press conference at the Subiaco Oval in Perth, Australia today to announce his much expected ring return. In dramatic style he landed in the centre circle of the impressive oval shaped AFL football ground in a helicopter to meet Australia’s waiting media. The 36 year old who retired in March 2008 will have two or three fights in 2008 with the aim to take on fellow Australian rival Anthony Mundine in a re-match of their 2006 fight for the WBA super-middleweight title which Mundine won on a clear and unanimous decision over twelve rounds.
Green, who retired with a 25-3 record with 22 KO wins outlined the reason and motivation for the ring return – a revenge victory over arch rival Anthony Mundine.
“I want everyone to know that I have only returned to the ring for one reason. It is not about the money but I have unfinished business with Mundine. He beat me fair and square in the first fight but I have pride and belief that I can defeat him in the re-match. I have a score to settle, I need to even up the ledger and show the boxing world that I have the heart, desire and ability to defeat Mr Mundine. The boxing public of Australia is demanding I defeat him – it is about revenge.”
He confirmed that discussions had already taken place with the management of Mundine and an agreement in principle was there. However, he was adamant that the fight would be in Perth. He stated, “I travelled to his backyard for the first fight and I showed courage and heart in that – now I want Mundine to come to Perth, in an arena like this that can hold 40,000 people and see how he performs. The boxing people of Perth have been very loyal to me and they and I deserve the fight to be in my city. This is non-negotiable from my point of view.”
In addition, he was adamant about the weight division the re-match would be in – 175 pounds. He confirmed, “This fight will also be at light-heavyweight. I cannot boil down to super-middleweight as I did for our first fight – the last 6 kilos I lost really took it out of me and this fight will be at 175 pounds. I am only a few kilos over that now and although Mundine is now fighting at middleweight, I am sure he will be able to take up the challenge at light-heavyweight. This is also on my terms – location and weight are two factors I am determined to hold to my advantage for this fight.”
” Mundine needs this fight,” he continued, “His career has not progressed since our first fight and he needs an opponent like me to bring out the best in him. We have a clash of styles that suit for an exciting fight. I like to break opponents down and he likes to counter-punch so that is made for an exciting re-match.”
Green has been sparring in the Belcatta Gym in Perth with Russian super-middleweight Victor Oganov and he confirmed that this preparation was critical to his decision to return. He added, “I needed to take a punch again and see how my body stood up to some heavy work inside the ring. These five sessions were critical for me to determine my suitability for the bout. I will still need 2-3 fights in 2008 to get my speed and timing back to championship levels and then I will be ready for Mundine.”
Green also confirmed from the get go that he would not be drawn into any verbal sparring or controversy with the outspoken Mundine. He stated, “This fight is not about race or religion and I will not be drawn down to the level of trash talking. This fight is about two athletes performing to the best of their abilities and entertaining the boxing public of Australia who is demanding this fight.”
It is widely expected that Green will take on 35 year old Nader Haman in his first comeback fight in 3 months time. The fellow Australian has campaigned recently at super-middleweight and has a record of 40-6 with 18 KO victories. He lost his last fight to Mundine in February 2008 in a challenge for the WBA 168 pound title by a wide margin of 120-108, 119-109 and 117-111.
Haman fights on the undercard of Mundine’s fight with Shannan Taylor in Wollongong on Wednesday against Kane McKay who is 8-4-2 in fourteen professional fights.
Overall, Green’s dramatic entrance was indicative of his style as one of Australia’s most popular sporting heroes. It is expected that a Perth venue will break the Australian boxing attendance record with a 40,000 outdoor crowd later in the summer and both Green and Mundine will earn over $3m in Australia’s biggest fight of 2009.
It is expected that the brash and controversial Mundine will respond to Green’s announcement which many felt was deliberate to steal some of the thunder from the currently ranked WBA#1 middleweight, prior to his fight with Shannan Taylor on Wednesday.
Whilst Danny Green engages in his warm up bouts for the planned re-match it is expected that Mundine will target WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm in the next few months, having secured the mandatory position and wishing to become a two weight world champion.
The Anthony Mundine V Shannan Taylor fight for the WBA Middleweight title is shown in Australia on PPV by Main Events and starts at 7pm AEDT on Wednesday.