Sport

Fighting spirit drives Mulivai

Dane Mulivai
Dane Mulivai

IN DANE Mulivai's most recent fight, he knocked out former Australian amateur boxing champion Shane Perry, from Warwick.

On December 1, Mulivai is scheduled to fight in a cage in Newcastle, in a new form of modified mixed martial arts (MMA) called Combat 8.

A week later he fights Fabian Sullivan under Marquis of Queensbury rules at Southport.

He has also dabbled in kickboxing and regular MMA since turning professional after representing Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

All of which makes it hard to define what sort of fighter the Redbank Plains resident is.

"I'm a freestyle fighter," he said.

"I'm a stand-up fighter but I've been learning Brazilian jiu jitsu with Infinity MMA at Booval.

"I've got good hands and legs.

"I hope one day I get a call to try out for the UFC (US-based Ultimate Fighting Championship).

"If I get the call, I'll be packing my bags."

However, it is a super-middleweight (77kg) bout against Steven Lovett on the undercard of the Anthony Mundine versus Daniel Geale world title fight at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on January 30 that is shaping as his big opportunity.

"This will give me a clear understanding of where I stand as a boxer," Mulivai said.

"A lot of boxers would dodge this guy.

"He's had five fights for five wins by knockout.

"But I'm 29 and don't need to be developed.

"I don't need to fight bums."

Mulivai believes Lovett's record is not as imposing as it sounds.

"He's had all hand-picked opponents," Mulivai said.

"All of Australia's up-and-comers are fighting guys who have had 20 losses, for regional titles.

"Does that make you a better fighter?"

It reflects Mulivai's disillusionment with boxing and is why he has diversified to kickboxing and cage fighting.

Beating Lovett could change all that.

If it doesn't go his way, Mulivai will eye whatever opportunities present themselves.

"For cage fighting, there could be an opening for a fight in Japan," he said. "I won't limit myself to what I can achieve in either sport (MMA or boxing).

"Opportunities don't come very often.

"If I get a phone call, I'm ready, put me down."

Yet decent MMA fights have also been hard to come by.

"I've asked multiple fighters to fight me and they didn't want to," he said.

"It's taken me until now to get an opponent."

Tough challenge

Dane Mulivai's progress in the ring has been matched by his progress off it, welcoming a second daughter with wife Susana and adopting his 12-year-old nephew.

"It's so tough with work, training and coming home to look after the kids and my wife," he said.

"She's going back to work soon."

It makes life tough but Mulivai has proven he is nothing if not tough.

"It shows the true character of a man," he said.

"I have to dig in."

Topics:  combat 8 dane mulivai mixed martial arts



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