Good news, everybody. I stepped onto the scales at the gym the other night and was still just under 86.18 kilos.

This is important because it means if I were to decide to become a pro fighter I’d be in line for a shot at the Australian Cruiserweight Title.

No offence to the reigning titleholder, Daniel Amman of NSW, but if you’re planning to fight for cash in Australia, you want to be a cruiserweight, or something below junior featherweight. But that means weighing in under 55.34 kg and I’m not about to give up chocolate jam doughnuts.

It says something about the health of boxing these days that in some divisions, you can fight for a national title with five rounds under your belt – not fights, rounds.

That’s what happened two weeks ago when Dominic Vea, a former rugby league player, fought Amman for the Australian cruiserweight belt. Vea was in his fourth pro fight, of which the longest had gone two rounds. Before that, he’d had a whole five amateur bouts.

It wasn’t a bad fight, and Amman only just got the decision against hard-hitting Vea, but how can a shot at a title come so cheap? Most of the other rated fighters in that division are similar rookies.

Australian National Boxing Federation (ANBF) ratings chairman, Queenslander John Hogg, said it showed how few active pros there are in Australia.

“Daniel won the title in July or August but he’s only had ten or so pro fights. He’s not a hard puncher and, anyway, if you said somebody had to have 12 or so fights before they could challenge, who would he fight?

“You’d think twice about allowing Vea to challenge a more seasoned fighter, a guy like (light heavyweight champ) Paul Briggs, but the cruiserweight division is one of the weaker divisions.”

It’s worth noting that most of Vea’s previous fights weren’t even at that weight. According to ANBF rankings, he’s the third-ranked (and last-ranked) super-cruiser fighter.

Some of the jockey-sized divisions have no ranked fighters. Other divisions, such as light heavy, super middleweight (including Anthony Mundine who won again last night) and all the divisions from 60 kg to 70 kg have plenty of contenders.

And while there is a history of boxers fighting for titles early in their careers (Jeff Fenech won a national title in his third pro fight), it used to only be when they stepped out after a long and successful amateur career.

“The relevant figure today is how many fighters are training for fights in Australia and at any one time that’s probably only about 100,” Hogg said.

“There are 200 or 250 each year who have a pro fight, but most are inactive after a few fights and that includes Filipinos, Africans and other fighters who are living in Australia.”

Peter Fray

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