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20 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham

"The Fight Game" movie

"The Fight Game"
"The Fight Game"

By Paul Upham: The new documentary film on super middleweight boxer Danny Green premiered on Wednesday night at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington, Sydney, in front of a full house of family, friends, sponsors and media. Director Mick Angus has followed Green around for the last five years since his professional debut, recording the many highs and lows the 33 year-old has experienced throughout his twenty five fight career to date.

"The Fight Game" runs for ninety minutes and covers the events both inside and outside the ring between and including Green's two fights with German world champion Markus Beyer in August 2003 and March 2005.

"When we started to edit we only had a short time," explained Angus. "We had over 120 hours of footage and the hardest thing was what to leave out. There were some fabulous moments that we left out. There are other stories about other characters along the way, but this is ninety minutes and it could have been nine hours."

The result is a film that has so many twists and turns, ups and downs, that it would leave even the most adventurous screenwriter amazed.

"It's not a Hollywood feel good movie," said Green. "It ends on a pretty strange note. It will always have an effect on me watching."

In his first world title fight as a rank outsider, Green had Beyer down on the canvas twice in the first two rounds and almost knocked out before a controversial disqualification cost him victory. The film then follows Green as he triumphs in Canada over Eric Lucas to win the WBC Interim world title, almost dies from heat exhaustion during a fight in Perth and gets caught up in the strangulating politics of boxing as he tries to secure a rematch with Beyer.

"I think it tells the story of Danny Green pretty well," said Angus. "The story I was always trying to tell was that at the end of the day, those few relationships, love and family, if you can get those things right, other things go right. When those things are out, other things aren't right."

Growing up in Perth, Angus knew of the Green family and many years later, went to the Sydney 2000 Olympics to support Green who was representing Australia as an amateur boxer.

"I knew a chap from my suburb was competing," he explained, "so I went along and cheered with a whole bunch of other people. The second fight, Danny lost to the eventual gold medal winner. He knocked him down for the first time in his career and I saw something. I thought, 'this guy has got something going on'. When he turned professional, I thought that he could go all the way. It was just a hunch that I had based not so much on boxing acumen, but on the support that he had around him. His family and his friends and just the way that they deal with him."

Angus had unprecedented access to Green, his wife Nina, their family and those around the boxer, allowing the filmmaker to capture the raw emotion of success and heartbreak as it happened.

"It is really a big deal to ask someone to come into your life over a period of five years," explained Angus, "and at those sort of crucial moments, ask 'how are your feeling?' I really want to thank Danny and Nina and the Green family for inviting me into their family and allowing me to be there for those moments."

As well as Green and his family, there are also interviews with trainer Jeff Fenech, WBC President Jose Sulaiman, agent Don Majeski and German promoter Wilfred Sauerland among others.

The film in effect tells two stories. That of Danny Green the boxer and those around him, but it also gives an insight into the murky world of the boxing business and the struggles a boxer must endure outside of the ring in an attempt to succeed. As boxing agent and insider Don Majeski observes during the film, it is not always the best boxer who becomes world champion. It is the best managed, promoted and manoeuvred boxer that will more often than not be the one to get to the top.

"I called it The Fight Game deliberately," said Angus, "because I reckon we play the fight game in all our lives. What I like about boxing as a metaphor is that it is honest. A punch is a punch and there is no escape."

Those in attendance at premiere night liked what that saw, giving a standing ovation to Green and Angus.

"I am partly relieved and I feel satisfied," said Angus. "I am enjoying everyone being here tonight for the premiere. I am loving it. Part of the excitement is everyone coming along, having heard bits and pieces of the story along the way, so they got excited as well."

"I hope everyone sees the film and enjoys it," said Green, "and gets an idea as to what goes on in boxing. It is very different. It's not like your average documentary. It is very honest and very hard hitting and doesn't pull many punches."

While there is an offer on the table for international distribution, the film is available immediately on DVD for A$24.95 through

Paul Upham
Contributing Editor

Danny Green and Mick Angus
Danny Green and Mick Angus

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