Mark De Mori: Famous Aussie Boxer with a Croatian Address

Total Croatia News


14th June 2018; as droves of Croatians emigrate in search of a better life and more opportunities outside of Croatia, Ana Matulić reminds us that there are also those who are returning, choosing the Dalmatian ‘po malo’ lifestyle over hustle and bustle.

With beautiful beaches, lush nature and steep mountains, Croatia is the perfect backdrop for sports and adventure and Croatians are particularly fond of telling of their sporting prowess in handball, football, basketball, tennis and sailing. Croatia is a country, like most Eastern European countries, that gives great importance to sport and produces many champions. Many foreign tabloids often write about the extraordinary sporting talent with which Croatians boast. Even the BBC has tried to uncover the secret of Croatian sporting success. 

Sportsmen are traditionally held in high regards in the town of Split, in Dalmatia. Split is very famous for producing many sporting giants including Toni Kukoč and Dino Rađa (basketball), Goran Ivanišević and Mario Ančić (tennis), Duje Draganja and Vanja Rogulj (swimming), Blanka Vlašić (athletics) and many others. Residents of Split usually refer to Split as “the sportiest city in the world”.

Many of them are leaving Croatia in search of better opportunities, but some return to Croatia, to their origins. This is the story of world-renowned professional fighter Mark de Mori, born in Australia, who returned to his Croatian origins. 


When I met him and heard his story, I immediately thought about writing a piece about his life and his return to Croatia, particularly as many Croats are choosing to leave their country in search of better opportunities. There are many advantages of living in Croatia, but we are not always aware of them. So, let’s get started.

Mark de Mori was born in 1982 in Perth, Western Australia. As an amateur boxer, he was selected as the reserve 91kg boxer for the Australian team at age 19. Professional boxing record 32 wins 2 losses and 2 draws, 28 wins by knockout. Countries boxed in are as follows: Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, America, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Germany and England. He lived in Oxnard in California for 6 months and in Miami in Florida for 6 months. Mark was promoted for seven years by Don King, who was the promotor for Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.


Credit: screenshot,, Mark de Mori with Don King

Mark won the WBF (World Boxing Foundation) and WBU (World Boxing Union) world titles and was ranked 15th with the WBC (World Boxing Council) and 7th with the WBA (World Boxing Association), the two most prestigious ranking committees in the world of boxing. His WBA ranking led him to secure a highly lucrative fight with former World Champion and boxing superstar David Haye in London.

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His “Nonno” (Dalmatian word for grandfather, from Italian vocabulary) came from Zadar, Central Dalmatia and his grandmother from Sondrio, Italy. They emigrated to Australia. He lived in Germany and Malta before moving to Croatia with his wife, who has a Croatian passport since she was born in Croatia, in Požega. Mark moved to Croatia in Split 5 years ago and claims he hopes to live here forever. 

There are several reasons why he stopped here and decided to stay in Croatia, in Split. Mark reminds us that Split has an incredibly beautiful scenery and mild climate. With its lush nature and beautiful landscape, Split is very good for investing in tourism. Mark also claims that his brother and father love to spend their holidays in beautiful Dalmatia since they grew up with a similar culture through his Nonno and his friends. As we mentioned, his Nonno originally came from Zadar so while he is an outsider here the culture is not so strange to him. Another important reason is that he struggled with his asthma badly and in Split, for some reason, he can breathe better than ever. 

Mark highlights a few things he loves most about Split and Dalmatia:

“In the Dalmatia area, it is coffee and food culture (and gossip culture)”

“There is more community here, more people out drinking beer, having coffee and kids playing in the streets until late at night. I really enjoy it but it all comes more naturally to me after growing up with my Nonno.”

“The beaches, restaurants and cafés are the highlights for anybody looking to visit. I am slowly learning the language but if you know how to order food, coffee and rakija (famous alcoholic drink in Croatia) you will be OK.”


Until now, while living in Croatia, he trained both amateur and professional boxers and has been a boxing manager. He has his private space where he trains with his coach and friend Marijo Sivolija, former two-time Croatian Olympian. He is currently investing in tourism but plans to invest more as soon as he receives EU citizenship.  Mark claims that most of the professional and amateur fighters end up with some sort of early dementia as one of the major consequences of this type of sport. That is the main reason why the fighters, whether they are professionals or amateurs, need to look for new opportunities and other options. With Split growing rapidly and becoming busier and more congested during the season Mark has chosen to buy apartments in Kaštela (near Split) to escape summer madness. 

He has done some boxing promotions in Australia and his first one in Croatia will be in Rogoznica on August 4. 


With his great sport achievements, Mark has enriched the image of Split as “the sportiest city in the world”. In addition, this can be an inspiration life story for those of you with Croatian origin (also for the others) who are planning to return to Croatia, but unsure about your decision (due to weak economy and unemployment) – this just proves that there are opportunities for those willing to create them.

And who can resist the Dalmatian lifestyle with astonishing scenery and friendly people?


Photos provided by Mark de Mori


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