On the Ropes No 20 with Charlie Lucas

Interesting to see the good work of Chris Carmen to get behind the Promotion of Rocky Jercic vs. Anthony Buttigieg for the vacant Commonwealth Super Welterweight Title which was held in Melbourne on the 3Rd of March, in this one Buttigieg was the victor. Chris organised a film and photo shoot at the North Sydney PCYC recently.

At the shoot was 3 Former Champions in this Commonwealth Title weight division. The three being Kevin ‘Bones” Kelly, Troy Waters, and Ken Salisbury. All three had impressive Careers and expressed an opinion that the Commonwealth Title had been a great boost to their career and certainly assisted getting them noticed Worldwide. The three Boxers were generous with their time and were very informative about their own initiation into our Great Sport and also the ability of the undefeated Rocky Jerkic. Chris had the idea to have all former Champions attend a lively sparring session at North Sydney PCYC. The sparring was filmed as was an interview with each of the former Champions. Then we watched a very fit Sakio Bika in with ANBF Light Heavyweight Champion Kerry Foley who some 2 weeks later defended against Sydney Boxer Aaron Lai. The result being a stoppage in the 3rd round by Lai who not only won the OPBF Title but the Light Heavyweight ANBF Title wow! This came as a surprise to many at the Venue, however as I often say that’s Boxing. This was a great Promotion by Astrid Van Der Sluys who has been Promoting boxing both Amateur and Professional for a few years now, it is great to see someone who really enjoys her work and moves around the venue chatting and is always in control of the show.

I am sure I have mentioned this in previous columns and I remain flabbergasted by the actions of one of the Amateur bodies who for some reason in recent years have decided they don’t want to be anywhere near those of us who work in Professional Boxing. If there is a Pro-Am Promotion the Officials almost run from the Venue when the last Amateur Bout has been completed as they do not want to be anywhere near the Professionals. I am puzzled by this as some who one may have known for years do not even want to acknowledge our presence, let alone say Hi and shake hands. I recently had one Official shake hands as he walked by, I hope he is not castigated for being normal.

I find it interesting that a Sydney Sunday paper is suggesting that talk has begun with Kohder Nasser that there may be a Bout between Paul Gallen and Sunny Bill Williams. This is at the early stages of course and Gallen has a full Season of rugby League to handle before getting back into the Boxing Ring. For 2 weeks running this Bout has been mentioned, most recently in a half page article, it is possible this may come to fruition. This much anticipated Bout has now been mentioned in the same Sydney Paper on 3  consecutive weeks.

After a slightly late start to Boxing Promotions it does look as if we may have a busy year in Professional Boxing. We now have a new Commonwealth Super Welterweight Champion in Anthony Buttergieg from Melbourne he remains unbeaten and won the Title over Newcastle based Boxer Rocky Jerkic at the Melbourne Pavilion recently. I am told it was a great night of Boxing overall and Rocky will be back I am sure seeing as he lost on a split decision.

As we have grown to expect Paul and Hannah Nasari went again with a fabulous Saturday night Promotion. I am able to remember when a Promoter was lucky to get many through the door on a Saturday, it simply wasn’t the night for Boxing, how things change. This was again a well-matched evening of Boxing with Tamworth based Michael Hamilton winning the NSW Lightweight title, this was only his 3 Rd as a Professional following an active creditable Amateur Career. During the evening, we also witnessed a Wrestling Bout between 2 locals Boys, it has been a long time since many of us have seen this type of spectacle I’m sure, and I’m sure all present enjoyed the different type of entertainment. The top of the Bill was an OPBF Silver Title bout between Sydney Boxer Mark Lucas V Melbourne based Sam Colomban which ended with a split points decision to Lucas. This was a very good evenly matched Bout and it seems Lucas did enough to receive the nod.

I mentioned Wrestling at this Promotion and am able to remember being told that at Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay Stadium the management always asked Wrestlers to work on a new Ring canvas for some time before it was ready for Boxing, this apparently assisted in preventing Boxers from slipping on the new surface.

Speaking of Sydney Stadium, I am able to remember that on most of the Promotions there the Referee was always last into the Ring, I think as courtesy to the Boxers, therefore when I began Refereeing in the late 80’s I did too as I am a follower of tradition. This worked well for some years until a well-known Boxer, later to become a World Class Boxer, would jump in, run across the Ring and perform a “face off” with his opponent. The NSW Boxing Authority then asked that all Referees be in the Ring when Boxers were present, so much for tradition. I was once chastised by the head of the Boxing Authority for my “Profane Language” this was in the form of a letter which I received in the Mail, on the next occasion I was talking to the then Boss of the Authority I did ask what Profane meant?

A man known well to some NSW Boxing Fans Michael Cleary was recently assaulted near his home in Balmain, after a short talk to this thug regarding littering Cleary was head butted for his trouble, Police are investigating. In a great sporting, Career Michael Cleary represented Australia in Athletics, Rugby Union and Rugby League, he was also NSW Sports Minister in the State Government and was instrumental in establishing the NSW Boxing Authority in the late eighties. At one time this was considered Worldwide as the best controlling body for Professional Boxing and many of the regulations introduced made NSW way ahead of the rest of the World in Boxing Regulation. For example, at an IBF Convention it was suggested that they may introduce HIV and Hepatitis testing for Boxers. Then former no1 Australian Referee Billy Males stood up and told them all this was already in operation in NSW Australia. Well done Michael Cleary.

I have mentioned in the past some of the characters who have been in our Sport over the years. Another I can recall is a great old Mate of mine the late Johnny Phillips, I became very good friends with him over the years and when my job took me to Athens I always visited him and his wife. After several years in Greece he returned to Australia and those who go back some time may remember him training and Managing “Kid Snowball” who was a South African name Anthony Sithole. More about John’s South African connection another time. Anyway, John had various abilities when working the Corner of a Boxer and had the technique to be able to put a dislocated shoulder back where it should be, he had the ability to do this during the 1 minute break between rounds, I remember saying to John one day wouldn’t that hurt?? John’s answer and I quote, “I never feel a thing.”

An entertaining evening of Boxing was held recently at the well know Function Centre Doltone House in Sylvania Sydney. The Matchmaker/Promoter was the very experienced John Iannou, who worked with the Main Event Boxer Jack Brubaker to organise a sold out Promotion. I was impressed by the Phillipino Cornerman, I don’t know his name, however there was 3 Phillipino Boxers on the card and he showed much care for the safety of them. All 3 Boxers were stopped ans each time before the Referee could count passed 4 the Cornerman was in to assist his charge, very thoughtful and considerate.


See you next Round.

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