Anthony Mundine has achieved fame first as rugby league player, and then as a boxer.
He was born on May 21 1975 in Sydney, Australia, the son of Tony Mundine, an Australian middleweight and light heavyweight boxing champ. In 1993 he made his professional rugby league debut for the St George Dragons. He subsequently switched to the Brisbane Broncos, before returning to the St George Illawarra Dragons in 1998.
In 2000, Anthony Mundine disappeared. Rumour had it that he had left the country, and the Australian rugby league world could talk of little else. He returned a couple of weeks later in a blaze of publicity to formally quit his rugby league career, and declare that he was switching to boxing. He predicted that he would be world champ within a year.
Anthony Mundine had always been a controversial figure in rugby league due to his liking for theatrical self-aggrandisment, in addition to his branding of the rugby league world as racist, claiming that it was unwilling to select him in representative sides due to his being an Australian Aborigine. His theatrical schtick was infinitely more suited to the boxing world, however the controversy surrounding him spread internationally when an interviewer, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA, asked for his reactions to the fact that Australian troops were sailing to Afghanistan to join Operation Enduring Freedom. Anthony Mundine responded:
I really feel that it's not our problem. They call it an act of terrorism but if you understand the religion and our way of life it's not about terrorism, it's about fighting for God's laws and America's brought it upon themselves (for) what they've done in history and so on.
On December 1, 2001, 17 months and only 10 fights after switching to boxing, Anthony Mundine fought the undefeated Sven Ottke for the IBF super middleweight belt. He was knocked out in the 10th round.