Published by Ben Waterworth, 28th November 2018 on foxsports.com.au
Boxing champion Anthony Mundine has provided the Australian public with a rare glimpse into his sensitive side — an aspect he hopes to show more of after his boxing career.
Ahead of his ‘River City Rumble fight’ against former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn in Brisbane this Fridat, Mundine opened up to respected boxing and rugby league journalist Paul Kent about his controversial boxing and NRL careers.
Mundine said he regretted several statements he’d made publicly over his career, but claimed his unashamed self-promotion was to help him reach or maintain high standards.
But towards the end of the hour-long program, the mood turned as Kent pressed Mundine on some of his graceful actions out of the public eye.
Kent recounted a story of when league great Gorden Tallis’ sister was battling breast cancer, Mundine frequently flew up to visit her before she passed away.
Asked by Kent where that kind attitude derives from, Mundine immediately broke down into tears as he reflected on Jannita Tallis and his relationship with the family.
“Man, you make me emotional,” Mundine told Fox Sports’ Anthony Mundine: The Man’s Last Stand.
“I’ve known the Tallis family since I was 17 … really quite close to them. His mum, sisters, brother Wally.
“Jannita, she worked at the Brisbane Broncos … and we just had a good relationship. We joked with each other, just be cool — she was a cool girl.
“We’ve been close for many years. My mum and Gordy’s mum are real tight.”
Mundine and Tallis played together were on both the Dragons and Broncos rosters together during their respective NRL careers.
“I’ve got a lot of time for him. I love brother Gordy and his family,” he said.
“I’m a real cat. That’s what you’re going to get. If I gravitate to you, you’re good people. That gravitation has been there since I was a youngster.”
Mundine said he hoped to show Australia more of his sensitive side in the future, while also promising to continue to stand up for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights.
“I just want the best, I just want to bring people together and make the world a better place,” he said.
“If I can make the world a better pace and lifting up somebody’s life, because I will continue to fight injustice and oppression — I’m firm on that and always will be.
“I’m a gentle dude. I’m not the young cat I used to be when I was very confrontive (sic) and, some would say, arrogant — I’m not like that.
“I want people to know the real me, the real ‘Choc’, my heart.
“Just be real. Keep it real. Let people see sides of me that they haven’t seen in the past.”
Mundine said he hadn’t thought too much about what life looks like beyond boxing, although he said he’d like to stay involved in the sport or help out rugby league in some capacity.
For now, all his attention is on Friday’s fight against Horn. And despite the 13-year age differential between two fighters, Mundine said he had the stamina to outlast his opponent.
“I’ll be throwing punches in bunches. I want to be skilful, I want to dominate,” he said.
“He’s the one that’s going to be huffing and puffing after eight or nine (rounds). He’s the one that’s going to be looking for the breaks.”
During the hour-long interview, Mundine was also asked about his controversial comments one month after the terrorist attacks on US soil in September 2001.
At the time, Mundine claimed the US “brought it upon themselves” — a statement that would bring widespread condemnation and severely hinder his chances of getting into the American boxing market.
“I said it raw and uncut. I would rephrase it … It was made out like I was for the killings. I’m not for no killings,” he said.
“I don’t care what you are, or who your are. In Islam, killing one man is like killing the whole of humanity. Why can’t we live in peace and harmony?”
Mundine also explained why he dislikes the Australian national anthem so much, labelling it “a white supremacist song”.
“Aboriginals weren’t even considered humans (when the song was written). The theme song for the White Australia policy is Advance Australia Fair,” he said,
“We ain’t young, we ain’t free. Some of us are. Some of us aren’t. You’ve got to see it from the other side of the fence.”