Tony Moran

The cameras and mikes were on, the stage was set; the main hall of Liverpool’s Bierkeller in the city’s heart was the scene of the press conference for the September 12th fight between the legendary fighter Roy Jones Junior and Liverpool’s own Cinderella man, Tony Moran.
Of course, a fighter of Roy Jones Junior’s pedigree needs no introduction, but what about the man who he’ll step in the ring with come the autumn?
 
One word that comes to mind when speaking to Tony Moran is ‘commitment’.  At 42 years old, Moran has fought at various levels in three different martial arts, starting at 14 with karate.

It wasn’t until he was 27 that the Liverpudlian decided to try his hand at boxing, “I wanted to test myself and show off my fighting prowess” but, he continues, “when I started, no-one taught me how to be a ‘boxer’ and I entered the sport quite naively”.  Fifteen years after his debut, he finally feels like his training in the gym, as much as his experience in the ring, have polished him off as a fighter.  “I feel like the finished article” he says, with a real passion and belief in his voice.
 
But it hasn’t been all been smooth sailing for the Liverpool fighter; having worked most of his life at a homeless shelter, for the last two years Moran has fallen on harder times, during which he’s had to face homelessness himself: “of course, I’ve had the support of my friends and family” Tony says, with a genuine gratitude and humility, “but sometimes that doesn’t always work out and there’s been times when I’ve found myself sleeping on laundry room floors at the homeless shelter”.  The father of three then goes on immediately to say, “But I’d suffer that all again because my main priority has been and will always be my kids, everything I’ve had, whatever it is, I’ve given to my kids and I’d do it all again.”
 
It’s a common sight, you turn on the TV, you see a boxing match end and a microphone is thrust under a boxer’s lips and they starting speaking as though they’re on a different planet, speaking about themselves in the third person or already declaring how they’re going to dismantle their next opponent, when it looks like the first thing they should be doing is looking for the nearest triage nurse and concussion consultant.  Speaking to Tony, it’s clear he is a man of conviction with a never say die attitude - when life knocks him down, he’ll get straight back up - and not only does he have the self-belief and drive you’d expect of a boxing man, but a deep and profound respect for his opponent Roy Jones; all of this without even a hint of the usual grandstanding that you could be mistaken for thinking goes with the territory of being a boxer.  Whilst those personalities can be amusing and entertaining, it’s a rare find to meet a character that is equally strong minded, if not more so, without the ego, without the pretence, without the fake show that hides their true nature. 
 
Aarron Morgan
When I asked Tony, ‘what do you feel is your greatest achievement in your fighting career to date?’  his answer was, “holding down a full time, fifty hour a week job and fighting career, at the same time”.  But don’t let any of this lead you to thinking that Tony is stepping into the ring with anything other than a will to win.  Back at the Bierkeller, Tony Moran is introduced to the fans and press at the packed hall and his words are clear, “I’m a fighter and I will fight to the last breath in my body”.

On September the 12th, at the Aintree Equestrian Centre, the living boxing legend that is Roy Jones Junior will step into the ring as the outright favourite.  Even at 46 years old, he’s no easy prospect and by his own admission it’s purely his love of fighting that has kept him in the sport this long.  But on that night, he’ll step into the ring with a Liverpool man who’s been preparing almost 30 years for this opportunity in Tony Moran. A man who, long before his worries of homelessness, was committed to helping those less fortunate at the homeless shelter, a man who’s commitment to the sport he loves has meant training relentlessly through thin and thinner, a man committed to providing as a father regardless of the cost.  Tony Moran might not be the name that sits beside Roy Jones Junior in terms of boxing pedigree, but without question, the man Tony Moran can sit proudly alongside the best there is when it comes to heart, desire, strength of character and, yeah, you guessed it, commitment.
 
The event at the equestrian centre on September 12th is promoted by Vaughan Boxing and is licenced under the Malta Boxing Commission.  For ticket information call 0333 200 0905 or visit vaughanboxing.tv