Richard Moroney’s first competitive fight was one he will never forget - as he came from behind to record a unanimous victory in front of a delirious home backing at Sudbury Rugby Club last night (Sat, May 20).
The 22-year-old revealed afterwards he had lost two stone in the five weeks leading up to the fight to get to the 85kg light heavyweight contest with Wellingborough Boxing Club member Tyler Barnyard.
His opponent had been hungry for his first taste of victory in the ring, having lost his only bout previous to last night.
And it looked like the show-ending fight was going to see the host club end with a fifth defeat from eight competitive bouts as Barnyard took control early on with some powerful shots to clearly take the first round.
But the well-supported Moroney soon had the crowd on their feet screaming as a head shot he landed early in the second round provided the catalyst for some front-foot flurries that knocked the wind out of his opponent’s sails.
The Wellingborough boxer tried to get back on top but was thwarted by a powerful display of precise aggression from Moroney, who went on to take the second and third rounds for a unanimous decision on the judge’s scorecards.
On a 17-fight card - which had to start 30 minutes later than advertised and the running order reworked due to some competitors being held up in traffic - Sudbury’s Pheobe Swain, 12, had kicked off the proceedings with a skills bout against Centurions ABC’s Ellie Worcester, at times showing her potential with some good reach jabs.
The hosts had to wait for their first winner of the evening as 11-year-old Callum Hardy recovered from a slow start in his first competitive fight to land some good combinations, but just lost out on a split decision in his 38kg contest against Whitstable School of Boxing’s Dan Cohen.
In the next bout, Nick Judge had the home crowd roaring as the 13-year-old, fighting at 40kg, took a unanimous decision against Centurions ABC’s Adam Bedford, with the bout having to be temporarily halted for Bedford’s bloody nose to be cleaned up.
Sudbhury’s Cameron Mateer was celebrating as well, after the 13-year-old did enough to take a split decision from the judges against Heros’ Sunny Hall, clearly taking a strong second round where he had his opponent pinned up against the ropes.
Clubmate Cameron Aitken followed up the feelgood factor for the home club in the next bout with a victory from a split decision against Milton Keynes Victors’ Freddie Knight at 52kg.
The 13-year-old’s superior movement and good use of the one-two combination proved enough to settle the schoolboy contest in his favour.
After the interval, promising 15-year-old Ruby East failed to live up to expectations in her junior fight with Jessica Dorson, who travelled all the way from Cornwall with Bodmin ABC at 54kg.
The Sudbury member left the ring clearly upset with her performance as a unanimous verdict went against her.
England champion George Liddard, of Billericary ABC, put in the best display of skills and movement of the night, being totally in control against Bodmin’s Dean Thomas in the pair of 15-year-old’s 58kg contest.
Luke Abbott, 15, representing Sudbury, lost his 53kg contest with Norwich Lads’ Jack Hughes on a unanimous decision, while clubmate Kie Bryan, 14, lost his 48kg contest to Whistable School of Boxing’s Ronnie Murray on a split decision.
Home hero Jake Sumner, 18, an Eastern Counties Champion and a semi-finalist in the England Boxing Youth Championships last year, got the home crowd howling again though, taking a unanimous decision over S+K Boxing Academy’s Steven Shields in their middleweight contest, despite admitting he found his opponent’s awkward to handle.
But the curtain came down in style on a good evening of entertainment with Moroney’s thirst for a first victory at his maiden attempt clear to see.
Afterwards, he praised the crowd’s impact in seeing him turn the outcome of the contest on its head.
“I was fit. I trained hard, but he was really strong,” he said.
“He started strong, but I am not a quick starter so I knew I would have to grow into the fight against a big strong unit.
“The crowd roaring gave me an extra 50 per cent. It was the best feeling in the world.
“I have been training for a few years, but I had not taken it seriously until the last few months.”
He added: “I want to fight lower. I have lost two stone in five weeks to get to this weight. But it is not a natural weight and I have still got a bit of fat. I want to be 80kg next time.”
* All eyes at Sudbury ABC will be on Milton Keynes today as 11-year-old Scott Stannard flys the flag for his club in the ABAE National Schools Championships semi-finals. A win would send Stannard into the national finals, to be contested at a later date. ** For reaction to Stannard’s semi-final and the thoughts of head coach Neil Anderson on Saturday’s show, see Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press print edition.