By Tony Nobbs: In the upset of the year, relative novice Garth Wood scored a knockout over two division world titliist Anthony Mundine at Acer Areana, Sydney on Wednesday night. The fight was scrappy and rough with the ropes looser than Zaire, making it difficult for both and each man was guilty of holding. Mundine seemed to shade the rounds, but the crouching, mauling style and side on stance of Wood made it near impossible to get in a rythm and land anything of consequence. Then in round five, with his opponent against the ropes, Wood landed a short left hook and Mundine sagged to the floor where he was counted out at .58 seconds by referee Les Fear.
Wood was the most inexperienced opponent the 35 year old former league star Mundine has faced in his ten year ring campaign. The 32 year old Wood won the right to fight Mundine by winning the inaugral Contender Australia series where he knocked out ex Aussie champion Israel Kani and upset Victor Oganov and WBO rated Peter Kariuki by points decisions. Prior to the series, Wood, a former Rugby League player with the Balmain and South Sydney Clubs, had faced just one opponent with a winning record- and was knocked out in that one by unheralded Beny Fetilika in round four in 2007.
Mundine, ranked # 2 in the world by the WBA at super welterweight (154 lb) had planned to use the fight as a final stop over before heading to the US. After the fight he said it was now “back to the drawing board”.
“You get caught, but it’s about how you bounce back. He’s rised up, so all credit to him. Congrats to Garth. He thoroughly deserves it”
A jubilant Wood, listed # 6 by the Australian National Boxing Federation and # 22 in the world by the independant computer ratings at super middleweight (168 lb), said “What can I say. I’m the best kept secret but you are all aware of me now. It was hard to get Anthony early, I think he was aware of my power and I was just trying to bang away on his body but he kept grabbing on me for a while.”
When I had the chance I hit him with the left and he dropped and I hit him with the left hook. That’s what we’ve been training for”.
Inactive since March 2008, Wood got the call up to the Contender after prennial contender and Mundine foe Shannan Taylor pulled out with a broken hand. He praised Mundine for giving him the opportunity.
“If it wasn’t for him, I’d have never got the knock on the door. I would never have been able to chase my dream since I was a kid. I take my hat of to him…I have all the time in the world for him”.
Wood, who suffered a cut in the third round, was prepared to perfection by long time trainer Billy Hussein. His record now reads 10-1-1, 6 knockouts while Mundine falls to 40-4, 24 ko’s. This was Woods fifth bout for 2010, his fourth victory against one technical draw.It was Mundine’s fourth bout of the year and his first defeat after 17 straight wins since losing a unanimous points verdict to Mikel Kessler for the WBA 168 lb championship back in June 2005 and the first time he’d been decked since Japan’s Crazy Kim dropped him with a left hook in 2008. The fight was scheduled for ten rounds at a pound over the 160 pound middleweight division. Mundine, 180 cm tall, had contested his previous two outs at super welter /154 lb came in at 160 ¾ lb, while Wood, 179 cm scaled the lightest of his career at 161. Mundine had almost ten times the amount of rounds with 342 compared to Wood just 35. Going in, neither Anthony or legandary gloveman, trainer and father Tony had lost to an Australian fighter.
In the chief support bout, world # 43 Johannes Mwetupungu clearly out pointed Peter Mitrevski jnr over ten rounds to defend the Australian middleweight title for the third time since winning it in March this year while in the second main support, IBF # 5 world rated featherweight Billy Dib out clased brave but out gunned Queenslander Mick Shaw (a former national champ at super lightweight) to register a non title six round stoppage.
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