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Australian Boxer puts own money on the line to fight Stipe Drews
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  12/10/2007 | Sports | Unrated
Stipe Drews defends his light heavyweight belt this Sunday in Perth
Green hungry for success

Danny Green has based himself in Sydney's Newtown to prepare for next Sunday's world-title fight against Croatia's Stipe Drews in Perth.
Photo: Simon Alekna

Daniel Lane
December 9, 2007

DANNY Green doesn't think you're watching when he slips $50 to a homeless man slumped in the doorway of a building off Newtown's King Street. The recipient rockets the clean, crisp note into the pocket of his grubby shirt because he knows you're watching and what's his is his.

Green, who is going for a world title in Perth next Sunday, appears perplexed later when asked about the gesture. The look in his eyes suggests it wouldn't be wise to joke about "buying" good karma. "When you box you starve to make weight, and it is just about the worst thing you can ever do," he says.

"There is a constant pit in your stomach, and there are times when it hurts - it kills you to finish a plate of food and to want more ... but you can't because boxing is as much a battle of the scales as it is fighting your opponent.

"While I choose to do it (diet), having to go hungry makes me appreciate how tough some people do it. I don't know why that bloke is homeless, but I do know he's been there since early this morning, and I couldn't sleep if I thought he didn't have a feed tonight."

Stipe Drews
Green has also put his hand in his pocket to lure Croatia's World Boxing Association light-heavyweight world champion, Stipe Drews, to Australia. It was expensive, partly because the last time the 195-centimetre fighter - an awkward southpaw with a two-metre reach - fought here, in 2004, it ended in his defeat to Paul Briggs.

Now Drews is the world champion. He'll get a big share of the purse that Green, through his company Green Machine Promotions, has had to put up.

"Not many boxers will do this, put their own money on the line," Green says. "They don't think it's smart business, but to get the world title here in Australia meant he had to get the lion's share of the revenue. It's the golden rule: he with the gold rules. He's going to be tough.

"I'm ranked in the top five in all the divisions, and I could pick easier routes by bringing relative unknowns out here ... But I want the fight, I want to be able to look back on my career and know I did it right, and gave it my best shot."

Newtown locals have many stories about Green's gestures of kindness. He'll shout dinner for a helpless soul or he'll stop and talk boxing to a down-and-outer who recognises him.

Mick Angus, who produced a documentary on Green's boxing career, says: "He wears his heart on his sleeve, he finds it hard to say no. He's very compassionate, but he knows if someone is trying to take him on a ride."

And yet, among the subcultures of Newtown, where goths, gays, hippies, poets and musos, immigrants and punks mingle, it's Green who is viewed as the "oddity".

"There goes the boxing guy," mutters a King Street native with pink-and-green dyed hair.

Green, however, revels in being different. "Hey, man, how you doing?" he asks. The punk is lost for words. The boxing guy can speak and seems friendly.

"I miss Perth," Green says. "I really miss it. I miss my family terribly. My wife Nina is pregnant, she's expected to give birth around the time of the fight. I miss hearing my little girl Chloe's feet galloping up the hallway because she has something to tell me ...

"It's a sacrifice, you know? I'm away from them for six weeks, and while we're always on the phone, it is never the same. "It's hard on Nina, that's why I don't muck around, it's why I train hard ... I'm missing too much at home to stuff around here.

"But King Street, Newtown - mate, it's a different world. After I train (he lives and trains in a converted warehouse), I might walk along here just to switch off because there is always something happening. With the characters here, it's street theatre at its best."

If all goes to plan, the punk and the other tribes of Newtown will be calling Green world champion if he beats Drews. "I've visualised walking into the ring. This is a huge opportunity for Australian boxing. I'm well aware of the significance of the fight but I don't want to put too much pressure on it," Green said.


Formatted for CROWN by Marko Pulji
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