Photos and report by Craig Watt
Australian Heavyweight Mark de Mori (16-1-2, 14 KOs) returns to action on Sunday in Perth, Western Australia when he takes on Ghanaian Ibrahim Marshall (10-3, 8 KOs) at the Cockburn Basketball Centre. The 29 year old Perth heavyweight is keen to put on an impressive display to try and entice some of the world ranked heavyweights into action. Under a promotional deal with Don King he is targeting some major fights in 2011, with fellow Australian and WBA#9 and IBF #9 Kali Meehan in his sights. But first he aims to dispatch the rugged Marshall who has a punching reputation with eight inside the distance victories in his ten wins. The Perth fighter spoke to Fightnews at his final training session tonight in Freemantle, Western Australia.
He stated,“This is a make or break fight for me against a respected puncher and if I have any ambition to break into the world rankings then I must look impressive in this bout — there are no backward steps now if I am to deliver in the global heavyweight division. I have trained well and know that my speed will be a defining factor in this fight. Marshall will come to fight and I am sure the fans will see an exciting bout. I am hungrier than ever to fulfil my dream and become the first ever Australian Heavyweight Champion of the World.”
After a ring absence of nearly two years De Mori has spent much of his time in the USA training in Oxnard, California – an experience he believes has served him well.
He continued, “When you are training every day with the calibre of fighter such as Sergio Martinez then you realise what is required to be at the top of your game and be world class. Even though I had 19 fights under my belt when I went to the USA I was a relative novice as I was generally self trained. The guidance and help I received when I was in the Oxnard camp was worth, I believe ten fights in itself. Some people think I am quite small for a heavyweight but the speed and movement I have added to by game will stand me in good stead when I take on some of the world ranked heavyweights. Some of them are just too big and too slow whilst I have speed and movement that is an added dimension when compared against the current contenders. My plan is to have three fights in 2011 an keep active after a few injuries and with the help of Don King try and ink a major fight with a world ranked contender.”
One fight Australian fans are eager to see is with Kali Meehan, who is also a Don King based fighter and De Mori is also keen to make this happen.
He added, “It makes sense for me and Kali to get it on in the ring – he has been for a number of years Australia’s leading heavyweight fighter and has an excellent pedigree. We were due to fight in a WBA elimination fight back in 2010 but unfortunately the fight never came off. Australia has never had a heavyweight champion of the world and it would be good for us to test ourselves for the watching Australian public. With Don King guiding us both then this fight makes sense for both of us in the future. I am sure the Australian boxing fans would love to see us big guys get it on for the public–I am keen to make this happen.”
Many people believe a domestic fight with Alex Leapai, who is ranked WBO#15 would be a good fight in 2011. This fight indeed would be a rematch after they both fought to a draw in 2004 in Leapai’s first professional fight with De Mori only a novice at 5-0.
De Mori confirmed, “I think this fight must happen somewhere down the track – we were both young guns in the first fight and it was an exciting bout. I believe this fight could make sense when we both have a title to offer. We both need a few more fights under our belt to climb the world rankings but it is definitely on my radar.”
After an absence from the ring many people are expecting the likeable De Mori to deliver am impressive knockout performance and provide a platform for further meaningful fights in the heavyweight division, both here in Australia and on the global heavyweight scene.