By Jake Donovan
Daniel Geale avenged the lone loss of his career, scoring a lopsided decision win over Anthony Mundine in their all-Aussie title fight Wednesday evening in Sydney, Australia.
Scores were 117-111 (twice) and 116-112 in a rematch to their tightly contested first bout in 2009.
Geale came out as the aggressor early in the fight, taking advantage of Mundine’s surprising reluctance to trade. A left hook from the defending titlist found its way behind the challenger’s earmuff defense midway through the opening round. Geale enjoyed an even bigger second round, dominating the frame with combination punching without fear of return fire.
The fun was just beginning for the crowd favorite, who enjoyed a huge third round. Mundine was rocked early on before finally deciding to fight back. His reflexes no longer what they once were, the former 168 lb. titlist only had his bag of dirty tricks to fall back on. Geale would have none of it and continued to plow forward.
While the left hook provided the most damage early on, it was Geale’s right hand that produced several anxious moments for his challenger in round four. Mundine continued to fall further behind, bearing the look of a fighter realizing he no longer has it. An effort was made to fight back, only to leave himself open for further punishment.
Referee Robert Byrd was forced to make himself part of the fight in round five, warning Mundine for an elbow thrown when the two were on the inside. Mundine continued with the dirty tactics in round six, at which point the third man issued a “final” warning.
The threat didn’t take, as Mundine managed yet another elbow in round seven, which drew jeers from the crowd. What it didn’t draw was a point deduction from the referee, who continued to just deliver hard stares and demands to “keep it clean.”
The action slowed considerably as the fight wore on. Geale was in virtual cruise control, while Mundine was in search of a home run shot. Round eight saw more fouls and more warnings with no deductions, though Geale was also guilty as he landed a right hand square on the base of the challenger’s skull. Mundine enjoyed his best moments of the fight with body shots that got his opponent’s attention, though not enough to win the round.
Geale regrouped and picked up the pace in round nine, scoring with left hooks and rediscovering his early round swagger. The frame ended with the champ staring down Mundine, though it still wasn’t enough for his cornermen who demanded harder work in the final three rounds.
They didn’t quite get their wish. What they got instead was a fully confident Geale enjoying himself in the ring. Mundine opened up in the 11th round, scoring with right hands. It was his best sequence since the eighth, but met with immediate return fire from Geale, who rocked his in-country rival in the final minute of the frame.
Both corners demanded the greatest three minutes of their fighters’ lives heading into the 12th and final round. It took a full two minutes before either of the two would deliver on that front as Mundine offered one last hurrah in briefly getting Geale’s attention with combinations upstairs. Geale shook of any threat of punishment and returned to jabbing with confidence until the final bell.
Mundine attempted to play to the crowd as if he won the fight, but the in-ring celebration was met with resounding jeers. Geale, on the other hand, received a champion’s reception in acknowledging the crowd while the fighters awaited the final scorecards.
A considerable delay was met between fight's end and the official announcement. It provided enough time for Mundine to insist a conspiracy was in the works and that he was about to be robbed. That he won any rounds at all on any of the cards should have been met with undying gratitude from the challenger, who instead chose to show his lack of class, childishly storming out of the ring the moment the cards were finally revealed.
Geale advances to 29-1 (15KO) with the win, his eighth straight as he makes the fourth defense of his alphabet middleweight title. There was no masking his feelings in what is clearly the most satisfying win of his career.
"It was enjoyable to me. I enjoyed punching Mundine in the face," Geale stated afterward, though with a prior admission of a grueling fight.
"It was really tough. Anthony came prepared and gave me a hard, hard fight," Geale said of Mundine, who falls to 44-5 (28KO). "That was two tough Australians fighting it out."
The win comes on the heels of his career-best victory, a split-decision nod over Felix Sturm in their alphabet unifier last September.
There exists the possibility that Geale could see yet another rematch in store for his next fight; Sturm faces Sam Soliman in Germany on Friday evening, to determine the mandatory challenger for the belt currently in Geale's possession.
"I'll be interested and see how the fight goes," Geale stated, though not necessarily committing to the fight being next in line. "I'll sit with my managers and see where we go. The winner will be my mandatory, so we'll see."
The bout headlined on Australia Main Event PPV.
Kevin 'Kimbo Slice' Ferguson avoided disaster to score a one-punch body shot 2nd round knockout over Shane Tilyard.
Both fighters enjoyed big moments in a wild first round, but it was Tilyard who got the home town crowd going when Ferguson was out on his feet. The "Internet street fighting icon" tackled his way out of harm's way, which proved to be a wise tactic as Tilyard appeared to punch himself out.
Round two saw Ferguson once again in trouble, avoiding what should have been called a knockdown after he was clipped with a shot inside. Ferguson fell to his knees while once again tackling Tilyard, a sequence ruled a slip by pedestrian referee Anthony Shipley, who just seemed to be along for the ride.
The moment was Tilyard's last hurrah. A perfectly placed left hook by Ferguson forced the Aussie to drop to a knee in pain, remaining on the canvas for the full ten count.
The official time was 2:09 of round two.
Ferguson moves to 7-0 (6KO), barely surviving his first fight overseas (and beyond the Midwestern club fight circuit). Tilyard dips below .500, falling to 6-7 (6KO).
Daniel Ammann (27-5-1, 6KO) posted the biggest win of his career with a upset points win over previously unbeaten David Aloua (8-1, 5KO). Scores were 99-91 (twice) and 98-92 in a bout where the judges were far more accurate than the ringside panel who kept trying to suggest a competitive fight was taking place.
Unbeaten super featherweight prospect Joel Brunker had his way in an eight-round points win over Mexico's Ivan 'Choko' Hernandez (26-7-1, 17KO).
Scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 78-75 for Brunker (25-0, 14KO), whose lone scare came in round four when he suffered a cut due to an accidental clash of heads. The wound proved inconsequential as he was able to maintain his lead over the former 115 lb. titlist, who has now lost three straight.
Jamie Pittman (22-3, 8KO) cruised to an eight-round shutout over a game but outmatched Zac Awad (18-3-1, 7KO). Scores were 80-72 across the board in their super middleweight contest. Awad offered a brave - if not dirty - effort, but was ultimately outclassed by Pittman, who was cut early in the contest.
Lauryn Eagle (6-3-1, 3KO) edged Nadine Brown (2-3-1, 0KO) in an eight-round women's lightweight bout. Scores were 78-74 (twice) and 78-72 in a contest that saw an unlikely boxing wardrobe malfunction. Time was called in round three when Brown's hair became stuck in her sports bra.
In the show's curtain raiser, Steve Lovett (6-0, 5KO) was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career in barely edging journeyman Jeremy Allen (8-11-2, 3KO). Scores were 57-56 across the board