In a stunning upset former super middleweight titleholder Anthony Mundine suffered a fifth-round knockout to comparative novice Garth Wood at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday.
Wood (10-1-1, 6 knockouts), a 32-year-old boxer from Sydney who is best known for having won Australia's version of The Contender reality series this year, entered the bout as a huge underdog having turned pro in 2007.
Mundine (40-4, 24 KOs), by contrast was a veteran fighter who briefly held a major super middleweight title, owned victories over Danny Green and Antwun Echols, and had been ranked by THE RING at middleweight at a 168 pounds for most of the previous decade.
However, Mundine's considerable edge in experience was instantly nullified when Wood landed an imperceptibly short left hook while in close during the fifth round. The compact punch, landed while Mundine's back was to the ropes, immediately crumpled the veteran to the canvas. Referee Les Fear tolled ten at the 0:58 mark.
In the early rounds, Wood's aggression and slight edge in reach looked to be offset by Mundine's vast experience and superior hand speed.
Mundine, unbeaten in 17 starts since dropping a competitive decision to Mikkel Kessler in 2005, peppered Wood at range and tied him up in close.
Wood fell behind on the scorecards early but with hall-of-famer Jeff Fenech firmly in his corner he gradually began to work his way into the fight by roughing Mundine up whenever he was in close.
By the third round the bout was becoming scrappy with clinches appearing as regularly as punches, which appeared to wear Mundine down to the bout's fifth-round conclusion.
Mundine's loss was celebrated by many Australian fans, who traditionally abhor flashy, loud fighters such as the boastful former rugby standout and boxing beltholder who once claimed to “the best athlete on the planet” while seldom facing threatening opponents in recent years.
Wood was the sentimental favourite having come to the national consciousness with victories over formerly world class Victor Oganov and Kariz Kariuki during his stint on The Contender.
“What do I say? I'm the best kept secret, but you are all aware of me now,” said Wood after the fight.
As for Mundine, the fight with Wood was to be his last bout in Australia before a move to the U.S. to kick start his stalled career. Where he goes from this setback is uncertain.