By Craig Watt
Former WBA light-heavyweight champion Danny Green (25-3, 23KO’s) made an impressive ring return on Sunday in Perth, Western Australia after stopping experienced South African Anthony Van Niekirk (21-7-2, 13 KO’s) at 2.42 of the second round. The 36 year old Australian, known as the “Green Machine” was making his ring return after 16 months out of the ring, retiring as reigning WBA light-heavyweight champion in 2008. Green entered the ring to a vociferous hometown crowd on his return and the playing of the last post by army bugle added to the electric atmosphere on ANZAC war memorial weekend in Australia. In front of a sold out crowd of 4,500 fans at the Challenge Stadium in Perth, Green impressed to keep on track for a lucrative re-match with fellow Australian Anthony Mundine in what could be the richest fight in Australian boxing history.
Green looked relaxed in the opening round and wobbled the 35 year old South African with a short left hook in the opening minute, holding the centre of the ring and using his jab to keep Van Niekirk at distance. Green built on the positive start by using his effective jab at distance in the second and then an effective combination dropped Van Niekirk, starting with a left hook and then landing with an overhand right and although the South African rose to beat the count he was on wobbly legs and Green advanced to finish the bout with another final overhand right hand that forced referee Gary Ingram to stop the fight at 2.42 of the second round.
After the fight, the former WBA 175 pound champion expressed his joy to return to the ring by saying to the crowd on the microphone after the fight, “I’m back guys – it was great to be in the ring and my right hand was a potent weapon in there tonight. It would have been better to go further and add a few rounds but when my right hand lands, then its good night. In a message to Anthony Mundine – you caught me out last time but when we meet again, its lights out.”
Green is expected to return to the ring against fellow Australian Shannon Taylor in Sydney in August in the second of his comeback fights, before the Mundine rematch, pencilled for early 2010 in Perth.
Perth Undercard Results:
In the chief supporting bout, Jackson Asiku (24-3, 13KO’s) from Uganda defeated former IBF Super-featherweight title champion Gairy St. Clair (41-10-2, 18 KO’s) to win the IBF super-featherweight Australasian title with a ninth round stoppage at 2.02 minutes of the round. Asiku dropped St.Clair initially in the second round with a big right hand and was on wobbly legs for the remainder of the round. The 30 year old Ugandan was always in control and his right hand landed at regular intervals throughout the fight. He wobbled St. Clair further in the seventh round with a series of short right hands that had the former champion falling forward and holding on. In the ninth round another right hand dropped him in the corner and although St. Clair rose to beat the count of referee Garry Ingram, Asiku walked forward to land another combination that pushed St.Clair to the ropes and forced the stoppage. The Ugandan is now on a winning streak of thirteen fights and is looking to break into the world rankings in 2009.
Top Australian lightweight prospect Willie Kickett (14-1, 5 KO’s) returned to winning ways with a unanimous six round points victory over Moses Seran (20-13, 10 KO’s) from Indonesia. He won by scores of 59-54 and 60-54 (twice). Trained by Craig Christian, alongside stable mate WBA featherweight champion Chris John, he impressed with his slick boxing and movement throughout the fight. This was Kickett’s first fight since his first round stoppage by Ahmed Elomar in November 2008 in his only loss to date. After some stylish boxing in the first three rounds, Kickett used his superior movement and speed in the second half of the fight to earn a clear points victory.
Previously undefeated junior-middleweight Robbie Bryant (7-1-1, 4KO’s) from Perth suffered his first professional defeat when he was narrowly out pointed over six rounds by Frank Loporto (11-3-2, 5 KO’s) from Victoria. The scores at the end of six rounds were 57-56 (twice) for Loporto and 57-56 for Bryant. LoPorto dominated the opening round and wobbled Bryant on several occasions in a toe to toe exchange in the centre of the ring. In the second round, defence went out the window as both fighters stood in front of each other, trading bombs to the excitement of the crowd. Loporto outworked Bryant in round three but was dropped in the fifth with a right hook in the first minute which gave Bryant the impetus to advance and he impressed in the last two rounds, but Loporto did enough to win by decision.
In a surprise defeat, Australian ranked lightweight Adam Wills from New South Wales (10-4, 2KO’s) was out pointed over six rounds by Eric Anaba from Cameroon who came into the bout with just two wins in his ten professional fights. He lost 59-54, 58-55 and 60-53 in a unanimous decision to give Anaba just his third pro win and now moves to 3-5-3 in the lightweight division. The win was deserved as Anaba outworked the 27 year old Wills for most of the rounds and always seemed to have the greater energy and work rate.