The biggest fight in Gunnar Jackson's professional boxing career is back on.
Tauranga's NZ Middleweight Champion thought his hopes of fighting champion Australian Anthony Mundine had been scuppered this week when American journeyman Billy Lyell was named to replace Carson Jones who pulled out through illness.
But in a last minute change, Jackson will now go toe-to-toe in the ring in Brisbane on Wednesday night with the controversial Mundine in a Pay For TV spectacular that should reap Jackson the biggest pay day of his career.
Jackson will be fighting for Mundine's WBA International middleweight title which would go nicely beside Jackson's WBA Oriental middleweight title he won in December.
Mundine is a two-time world champion who has fought Shane Mosley, Mikkel Kessler, Sven Ottke, Danny Green and Manny Siaca among others. At the age of 38 he wants to take on superstar Floyd Mayweather later this year.
Jackson's trainer Chris Walker, from Tauranga Box Health and Fitness, says Jackson is rated in the top 15 after winning the belt in December but this was a big step up in class. "Mundine is a class act who has pretty much beaten all the top Aussie boxers," said Walker.
"It is a good opportunity for Gunnar but there is no doubt about it we would have liked a six-week lead in to something like this, especially a 10-rounder. But Gunnar's last fight was just five weeks ago and it was probably one of his better performances.
"He has kept reasonably active over the Christmas period and he has got back into the swing of things pretty quickly. We are not going over there to lie down but to give it 100 per cent. We are definitely the underdogs but we like that tag and Gunnar will bring his A game and we are going in there with a game plan."
Walker says they have already started working on analysing Mundine's fights and working on strategies to upset him.
"Mundine is very slick, has very quick hands, good footwork and is very observant. You can't make any mistakes with him and he has a very snappy jab.
"But he has been knocked out two to three times so he doesn't have a granite jaw.
"Gunnar is very durable and is getting better with every fight. I dare say the other camp will probably be taking him a little bit lightly which will probably fall in our favour as well.
"Gunnar is going there to fight and is looking forward to the opportunity."