Another Aussie hits canvas in title bid
AUSTRALIAN boxing is sporting another black eye after Brisbane's Jarrod Fletcher became the fourth fighter from Down Under to hit the canvas on the international stage this year.
The 30-year-old father-of-two was stopped as he challenged local hero Danny Jacobs for the vacant WBA middleweight boxing title in New York.
Referee Michael Griffin called a halt to the fight with just seconds left in the fifth round.
Originally from Hervey Bay, Fletcher had his 20-year-old dream shattered by the big-punching Jacobs who sent the Aussie to the floor in the opening round, and finished the job in the fifth with his mule-kick right hand.
"That was a tough night at the office," Fletcher posted to fans on his Facebook page after the loss.
"I perforated my ear drum pretty bad in the first round and it was tough from there. I'm disappointed but I will be back. This is not the end of me!"
Looking super fit, Fletcher displayed a lot of heart getting up after his early knock down. He fared better in the next three rounds, without winning one on points.
Fletcher had been confident of upsetting Jacobs with his speed and left jab heading into the fight.
But, he became the fourth Australian boxer to cop a hiding in recent months.
Brisbane courier driver and father of six Alex Leapai was the first cab off the rank, hammered unmercifully in Germany by brutal Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko. That lopsided fight was also stopped in the fifth round.
Next into the ring was Sydney's Daniel Geale (July 28), who lasted just three rounds before being floored by a vicious punch from Russian powerhouse Gennady Golovkin, aptly described as the "Mike Tyson of Middleweights", at Madison Square Gardens.
Then earlier this month in Atlantic City, another Aussie, Blake Caparello, hit the canvas in the second round of his WBO light heavyweight fight against Russian Sergey Kovalev.
All is not lost, though, with two more Australian boxers, Sakio Bika and Daniel Dawson, scheduled to fight for world titles in coming weeks.
The African-born Bika, 35, who has already brawled his way to one world title, defends his WBC super-middleweight belt in a rematch with unbeaten American Anthony Dirrell on August 16 in Carson, California.
If Bika bites the dust it will put all the pressure on Perth's Daniel "The Rock" Dawson to stand and deliver a face-saving win in his world junior middleweight eliminator against former titleholder Austin Trout (26-2-14ko).
The American is returning to the ring after an emotional 2013 in which his grandmother died during his wedding. He suffered his first two losses of his career after the tragedy.