By Craig Watt
Former two time WBA super-middleweight and IBO middleweight champion Anthony “The Man” Mundine (37-3, 23 KOs) is having a sparse Xmas in Australia this year as he prepares to drop to Jr-middleweight and take on Rob Medley (27-2, 17 KOs) for the vacant IBO 154 pound title at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on January 11th. In boxing history it is well recognised that fighters tend to move up in weight as they get older, mainly as a consequence of a slowing metabolism but the 34 year old from Sydney is attempting to do the opposite by moving down in weight having won versions of the world title at 168, 160 and now 154 pounds. Very few fighters in history have achieved this feat and the fight with Medley is seen by many boxing experts in Australia as a potential hazard to open the year for the most controversial of Aussie boxers. Already a non-smoker and a non-drinker Mundine, known as “Choc” for his daily intake of chocolate bars has cut out his favourite vice for his final two weeks of training. He stated, “I had my last bar this morning before training but that has gone now. It’s now strictly water and food like lettuce and chicken.”
“It is going to be tough but it all part of the boxing challenge – no fighter in Australia has ever won a world title going down in weight from super-middleweight to middleweight and now to light-middleweight.
“I think the weight loss will be more of a challenge that my opponent. I know I can beat Rob Medley but this weight factor makes the fight more dangerous for me.
“I have 2.7kg to lose in the last two weeks but that is what I am in the business for- to make history.”
He continued, “I am really a middleweight but what I am going to do has never been done in the history of boxing as a sport. How many great champions have there been, and legends, and I’m the first ever to do this – so, yes, the weight is a big issue, and, yes, it is going to take a lot to get there, but that is what is motivating me to push harder and work harder and diet to get my weight right. Just to know that I will be the first man to do it is momentous to me.”
In taking the new challenge at 154 pounds Mundine has opted not to take up an ordered re-match for the IBO 160 pound title with Daniel Geale in what was one of the best fights in Australia in 2009 which has disappointed many boxing fans “Down Under”.
He was asked to face the talented fighter from Tasmania in a re-match after the IBO mandated a return match by the 28th February. Their first fight was a close split decision win for Mundine and Team Geale complained about the scoring which was upheld in the demand for a mandated re-match, which the IBO upheld.
Geale will box for the vacant IBO 160 pound title in 2010 in addition to targeting the IBF Middleweight title where he currently enjoys a IBF#8 ranking.
The former NRL player Mundine is already contracted to face the winner of the Australian Contender which has the final featured on the under card of the night of boxing at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on January 11th and featured on PPV on Main Events.
The 28 year old Medley from Campsie in New South Wales is on an unbeaten run of eight fights since he was stopped in ten rounds in April 2008 in a challenge for the IBO 147 pound title against Isaac Hlatschwayo in Sydney, the fight itself a rematch of their October 2007 fight when Medley lost over the distance for the same title.
Medley has enjoyed 17 stoppage wins in his career and many boxing experts in Australia are predicting a possible upset.
In a busy year planned for Mundine many Australian fans are hoping that there will be a re-match with Danny Green, who recently destroyed Roy Jones Jr in just 122 seconds in February but with Green at Cruiserweight (200 pounds) and Mundine at Jr-middleweight 154 pounds currently this may be a difficult bout to ink.