Aussie wrap-up for May
Anthony Cocks rounds up all the latest Aussie action...
The biggest fight in May featuring two Aussie fighters took place across the ditch at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand on the undercard of Joseph Parker’s WBO heavyweight world title defence against Romanian Razvan Cojanu on 6 May when WBA number 9 lightweight ‘Ferocious’ George Kambosos Jr 12-0 (6) from Sydney, NSW locked horns with Qamil ‘Golden Boy’ Balla 11-1-1 (5) of Altona North in Melbourne, Victoria.
The 23-year-old Kambosos was coming off a career-best win last December when he outpointed domestic rival Brandon Ogilvie of Perth over 12 rounds to annex the WBA Oceania lightweight title. Balla, whose only blemish on his record was a draw on debut, claimed the interim WBA Oceania title with a dominant first round TKO of Colombian Rodolfo Puente 18-3-2 (14) in Melbourne in March after dropping him twice.
The Kambosos-Balla fight was widely viewed as a 50-50 proposition on paper and most pundits had trouble giving either fighter a clear-cut advantage over the other.
Balla started fast, rushing to centre ring and beginning the contest in a southpaw stance. His decision to change from orthodox to southpaw gave him an early advantage as he landed some quality straight lefts while Kambosos adjusted to the angles.
In the second round Kambosos took control of the fight and never let it go. The clever counter-puncher showed off his sharpshooting and ring generalship, drilling Balla with a laser-like right crosses and snapping his head back with uppercuts. Kambosos used his jab to control the distance and no matter how many times Balla switched stances, he was met with an attack that he struggled to defend against.
The 27-year-old Balla, who holds a win over Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent Jeff Horn in the amateurs but lost in a rematch at the Arafura Games in Darwin and again at the 2012 Olympic trials, tried everything in his arsenal but came up short. After an accidental clash of heads in the sixth opened up a cut over the right eye of Kambosos, the undefeated Sydneysider ramped up his offense and took the fight to Balla for the remaining four rounds of the fight. Kambosos launched rips to the body and hard shots to the head from either hand, culminating in a knockdown in the tenth and final round. It was a fitting finish to a dominant performance.
“I’m the most disciplined fighter in the world,” said Kambosos, who won by scores of 99-90, 98-93 and 98-91. “I’m the hungriest fighter in the world. I stay focused no matter what I do. Tomorrow I’m going to go run.”
The outspoken Kambosos, who will turn 24 next month, has well and truly outgrown the domestic scene. He would benefit from basing himself in the United States to get better sparring and raise his profile as he hones in on a shot at WBA world lightweight champion Jorge Linares 42-3 (27) of Venezuela.
Novice middleweight Tim Tszyu stayed busy with two knockouts in May across two countries. The 22-year-old son of former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu needed just two rounds to get rid of New Zealand-based Samoan Ivana Siau 3-7-1 (3) on the undercard of Parker vs Cojanu at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand on 6 May. Despite giving up almost 5lbs to Siau, Tszyu was able to hit his much shorter opponent at will, snapping his head back with jabs and right crosses. Midway through the second Tszyu stunned Siau with a right hand and finished proceedings with the same punch.
“Simple punches win the fights and that’s what I showed tonight with my straight right,” Tszyu said in the ring after the fight.
Tszyu was back in action three weeks later when he faced Adam Fitzsimmons 2-2 from Taree on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. This time the venue was the QT Gold Coast Hotel in Surfers Paradise, Queensland on a Jamie Myer promoted card. Tszyu, from Rockdale in Sydney, was methodical in his attack, dropping Fitzsimmons in the third before his corner retired him on his stool at the end of the round citing an eye injury. At the time of the stoppage Tszyu was leading by scores of 30-26 across the board. He moves his record to 5-0 (4).
Heavyweight hotshot Jai Opetaia 11-0 (8) claimed the NSW state heavyweight title with a dominant TKO 2 over Moses Havea 4-11 (1) in a scheduled eight round bout at the North Sydney Rugby League Club in Cammeray, New South Wales on May 12. Opetaia was already up 10-8 across all three cards at the time of the stoppage. The promoter was Astrid van der Sluys.
Opetaia will face the first real test of his short professional career when he faces veteran Daniel ‘The Doberman’ Ammann 32-9-1 (7) at Wests City Club in Newcastle on 15 July. Ammann is a two-time Australian cruiserweight champion. He unsuccessfully challenged Britain’s Tony ‘Conqueror’ Conquest for the Commonwealth 200lbs title in 2014, losing by decision.
On the undercard Kiwi lefty Nort Beauchamp 14-1 (2) made a successful trip across the Tasman to claim the vacant IBO Oceania lightweight title from Australian-based Irishman Gearoid Clancy 7-5 (2) by wide unanimous decision over ten rounds with scores of 100-90 and 98-92 twice.
At Metro City in Northbridge, Western Australia on 5 May, Angelo Hyder’s Dragonfire Promotions featured the comeback of Steven ‘The Surgeon’ Wills 19-2-2 (9) after a two-year hiatus from the ring. Wills, a former 140-pounder, faced fellow southpaw Alex ‘The Hammer’ Ah Tong 9-38-5 (5) from Balgownie in New South Wales over six rounds at the junior middleweight limit.
The 33-year-old from Copacabana was leading the fight when an accidental headclash brought a premature end to proceedings. Under the Western Australian Boxing Commission’s rules, as one-third of the scheduled rounds were completed the bout was sent to the scorecards. The scores were 20-18 twice with one card even 19-19, giving Wills the victory by technical decision. Wills’ only losses have come to former world title challengers Kaizer Mabuza from South Africa and current WBA number 4 junior welterweight Czar Amonsot, a Filipino based in Melbourne, Australia.
Tamworth super featherweight Michael Hamilton made the trip south to Ben Dencio’s backyard to fight for the vacant New South Wales state 130lbs title at the Hellenic Club in Woden, Australian Capital Territory on 13 May. The fight was marred by an accidental headclash that ended the bout early in the fourth round of a scheduled eight. According to the judges’ cards, Hamilton was ahead 29-28, 29-27 and 30-29, moving his record to 4-0 (1), while Dencio acquires his first loss, dropping to 3-1 (2).
On the same card Canberra super middleweight Felipe Ferreira 6-2 (2) won the vacant New South Wales state title with a comprehensive points win over southpaw journeyman Aswin Cabuy 19-61-4 (7) by scores of 80-73 twice and 80-74. The show was promoted by Nick Boutzos.
In Melbourne on 19 May the first co-promotion between local powerhouses Big Time Boxing (Brian Amatruda) and Team Ellis Boxing (Jake Ellis) took place at the Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington, Victoria. The 13-fight card featured 12 four round bouts and a six rounder to headline. The idea is to provide fast-paced fistic entertainment that gives novice boxers a place to start their career and build a following.
In the headline bout Sivan Hermez 5-8 (4) of Papatoetoe, New Zealand scored a fourth round TKO over Epping southpaw Korobo Etto 5-1-2 in a six-round super-middleweight clash. Etto, who was born in South Sudan, was given an eight count in the third round before being stopped at 1:08 into the following round.
Popular women’s boxer Sylvia Scharper 7-1-2 (1) outworked Khwunchit Khunya 2-11-1 over four fast-paced two minute rounds. Scharper, who weighed just north of 121lbs, simply had too much firepower for the 23-year-old Thai, who weighed in at the bantamweight limit of 118lbs.
At junior welterweight Shadey Souied 7-9-1 (3) scored a split draw against River Daz 2-0-1 (1) in a four rounder by scores of 39-37, 36-40 and 38-38.
Mark Schleibs, 123lbs, kept his unbeaten record intact with a first round TKO of Thailand’s Pakpoom Hammarach, 120lbs, in a scheduled four-round bout. Hammarach, who was coming off a first-round KO to former 112 and 115lbs world champion Vic Darchinyan, drops to 14-16 (8), while Schleibs ups his ledger to 6-0 (3).
Meanwhile in Queensland Ben Kite, 147¼ pounds, scored a wide UD over Eddie Dos Santos, 146¼ pounds, over six rounds at The Famous Fortitude Gym in Newstead on a three-fight card promoted by Steve Deller on 20 May. Despite the judges scoring the bout widley in favour of Kite by scores of 60-53 twice and 59-54, those at ringside report that the bout was a terrific contest and not as one-sided as the scorecards would indicate. With the victory Kite moves to 8-4-1 (3) and Dos Santos drops to 4-4-2.