Tauranga boxer Gunnar Jackson came oh-so-close to a crack at the WBA International Middleweight title in Australia next week.

He was in negotiations as a late replacement to fight Australian title holder Anthony Mundine in Brisbane next Wednesday alongside American Billy Lyell.

Despite Jackson holding the WBO Oriental Middleweight title and having a superior record to the American, Team Mundine chose Lyell.

Lyell has not fought since last February, has a 25 win-11 loss record and has lost four of his last eight fights, while Jackson has lost just four of his 25 bouts.


But the fact Jackson got so close to a crack at the big time, and a serious pay day, says volumes for just how far he has come in his professional boxing career.

"When I got the call on Sunday saying that Mundine was keen to fight, that lifted my spirits up because I am getting closer to where we want to get to," Jackson said.

"There were some good positives there from this."

Jackson believes the reason he was passed over was so Mundine can increase his US profile.

"I checked out Lyell and my record is a bit better than his. I hear it is because the guy is American and Mundine is trying to crack the American scene, so that was why he made the decision he did."

Jackson rates his chances of getting into the ring with Mundine and taking the world title off him.

"He is a few levels up from anyone I have fought but I have definitely got the tools to match him so, yeah, I reckon I would go all right against him.

"Taking the fight at the last minute was not a silly idea. I always keep in shape because you never know when these opportunities pop up. So you make sure you are always training even though you never know when your next fight is."


Jackson is scheduled to defend his WBO Oriental Middleweight title on March 29, hopefully in Tauranga, against Samoa-based Afakasi Pele Faumuina.

"I fought him in my fifth pro fight that was on the David Tua card and it was a draw," said Jackson.

"So it will definitely be a good rematch."