Three of the top 10 rivalries in Australian boxing history.
Three of the top 10 rivalries in Australian boxing history.

The 10 greatest Aussie boxing rivalries

From Bobby Delaney v Bobby Blay to Lionel Rose v Rocky Gattellari and Anthony Mundine v Danny Green. We look at the top 10 rivalries in Australian boxing.

 

 

 

1. ANTHONY MUNDINE V DANNY GREEN

Their first fight at the Sydney Football Stadium in 2006 remains the biggest ever pay per view event in Australian history. Mundine was too slick and won a lopsided decision in front of 28,000 people. Green gained his revenge 11 years later with a controversial points win in front of a similar crowd at Adelaide Oval.

2. BARRY MICHAEL V LESTER ELLIS

Few fans believed the veteran Michael had a hope against his young protégé especially as Michael had to boil down in weight and Ellis was a brutal body puncher. But in an all-Melbourne grudge match in 1985 the old ``fossil'' taught the pup a lesson and claimed the IBF world junior-lightweight title.

 

Lester Ellis wears an uppercut from Barry Michael in 1985.
Lester Ellis wears an uppercut from Barry Michael in 1985.

 

3. RON RICHARDS V FRED HENNEBERRY

Richards was a heavy punching sensation from Ipswich and Henneberry the ferocious hellcat of Sydney Stadium. They were both world-class middleweights and they fought 10 times between 1933 and 1941.``Fiery Fred'' was disqualified five times for headbutts, low blows and rabbit-killers.

4. LIONEL ROSE V ROCKY GATTELLARI

Their 1967 fight had a crowd stretching for more than a kilometre to get into Sydney Stadium as Rose defended his Australian bantamweight championship against Gattellari, an Olympian and former world flyweight title challenger. Rose scored a brutal knockout that left the Rock unconscious for half an hour and a year later was world champ.

5. VIC PATRICK V TOMMY BURNS

There was a capacity crowd of 14,000 people at Sydney Stadium for the 1946 fight and 5000 out the front who couldn't get tickets. Patrick pulled up in front of the dressing room in his 1927 Chev Tourer and saw thousands of people all with two guineas for his pocket being turned away. He cried at all the money walking out the door and took it out on Burns, surviving a big left hook in the seventh round to stop him in the ninth.

 

Danny Green (left) and Anthony Mundine in their bout in Sydney in 2006.
Danny Green (left) and Anthony Mundine in their bout in Sydney in 2006.

 

6. TONY MUNDINE v STEVE ACZEL

They fought three times. Their first bout in Sydney in 1975 gave Mundine the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title. They fought again in 1980 and 1981 at Brisbane's Festival Hall with Mundine scoring a hat-trick. Aczel wryly remarked after the final fight that Tony had caught him with about 300 lucky punches.

7. BILL LANG v BILL SQUIRES

They were Australia's two world heavyweight title contenders in the early years of the 20th century. They fought each other four times between 1909-1911 with Lang, a top Aussie rules player with Richmond, winning all four by KO, including the last bout in Brisbane.

 

Fred Henneberry (right) keeps clear of Ron Richards’ straight left during a 1941 bout.
Fred Henneberry (right) keeps clear of Ron Richards’ straight left during a 1941 bout.

 

8. BOBBY DELANEY v BOBBY BLAY

Charleville's Bobby Delaney had four battles with Bobby Blay at Sydney Stadium in 1932-33 and they went into legend as epics of the ring. Delaney won the first for the Australian lightweight title, drew the second and lost the last two. Delaney was inducted into the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012, 46 years after his death.

 

Vic Patrick (left) taking on Tommy Burns.
Vic Patrick (left) taking on Tommy Burns.

 

9. HECTOR THOMPSON v BABY CASSIUS AUSTIN

Thompson, Brisbane's great fighting hero of the 70s, had three fights with his slick Perth rival in quick succession in 1977. Austin won the Commonwealth light-welterweight title from him in April, lost it back six weeks later, and then regained it in September. Thompson had earlier fought Roberto Duran and Antonio Cervantes in world title shots.

10. BARRY MICHAEL V FRANK ROPIS

In 1983, Michael stopped the weight-drained Frank ``The Tank'' Ropis in 11 rounds of an Australian light-welterweight title bout as raging flames from the Ash Wednesday bushfires blew smoke around both boxers in the Melbourne Town Hall. The referee was former world champ Johnny Famechon.

 

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