Aarron Morgan

Aarron Morgan
York Hall sees a lot of bouts throughout the year.  We speak with boxers who have made their professional debut there, those that have come from overseas to fight there and those that are at the tail end of their career who have just wanted to fight there.  For Aarron Morgan, 27, it was this weekend when the chance arose, and he took it with both hands.
"York Hall was amazing, the stuff of dream!" he tells me.  "I'm a Newham boy so I'm not far from there.  All my friends and family came to cheer me on and the atmosphere sent shivers down my spine."
Aarron Morgan is making swift progress through his professional career.  It was only in 2011 when he won the ABA B class title, following that up in 2012 with a semi final place at the Elite championships.  "I was invited up to Sheffield and made it to the final stage of the assessments for the GB squad but failed at the final hurdle unfortunately".  A setback to any fighter, there were two roads he could have taken.  Stick with the amateur setup and fight for a place at the Rio Olympics in 2016, or trade it in for a shot at the professional ranks.  Surely a tough choice, but perhaps not for Aarron:

"I was torn for a while - stay amateur and try to breakthrough again or begin my assault towards titles.  It was when I sat with family and friends, we thought about it and spoke at length, the decision to turn pro was quite easy."
The signs all indicate that Morgan made the right decision.  Now eight fights in to his chosen career he has won them all, with six coming via stoppage.  He is making an impact on the domestic light middleweight scene, only last weekend at York Hall claiming a first round win over Hungarian Gyula Vajda (18-10-0).  By his own admission light middleweight may not be the easiest division for him to fight in, but while his sun is shining, the hay is being made.
"Light middleweight is my most comfortable division right now but when I started this, I was coming own from 95 kg!  I've got a very big body inside!  Do I envisage fighting at middleweight in the future?  Maybe.  But at the moment 154lbs is my division and I am confident that on my day I can go in with anyone.  The key is working, making them tweaks to ensure I'm able to make it my day each time I'm out there."
It's a philosophical view from Morgan.  Not renowned for their in depth thought processes, he seems like a different breed of fighter.  Perhaps some of that is borne from his time out of the ring through injury.  It's been a tough 20 months at times since he turned pro, having suffered an injury to his intercostal muscles around his ribs forcing him to evaluate the care of his body.  "Me being the person I am I refused to believe I was injured and tried carrying on training.  In hindsight I know it was a mistake - I needed to take the time to rest and recover.  It was extremely frustrating, but looking back now it was a valuable lesson.  I have now learned to listen to my body and not ignore any signals it is giving me."
Injuries of course are something most fighters have to handle through the course of their career.  The fact that Morgan is now able to identify the warning signs can only serve him well.  Now that he is fit and firing he wants to push his career forward, targetting his tenth fight by the close of the year.  He has identified the route that he wants to take to progress - "I'm a boxing historian and a huge fan more than anything else, so I would love to go the old school traiditional route (Area, English, British Commonwealth).  So with that being said, whoever my trainer and management decide is next to make that happen I will be willing to fight." 

In the ring Morgan made short work of all of his first five opponents, but numbers six and seven made life harder for him.  Does he think that the progression in opponent was a problem, or was he busy gaining the experience? 

"My first five opponenets failed to hear the final bell, then I went the six round distance and eight rounds for a Masters title.  I'm not going to lie and say I took it easy to get some rounds in because it isn't true ha ha.  If I smell blood I always go for the kill, one punch can change a fight and I'm not going to give the other guy a chance to land it!  That said, those longer fights I made a conscious effort to box and use ring skills rather than the seek and destroy mentality of my first few fights."
Refreshingly open and honest views from the Londoner.  Does he view the longer distances as an issue, or is stamina key for him?  "Well I wanted to show my supporters some of the things I have been working on and I'm glad I did.  Going the distance isn't a concern for me as I know I train as hard as anyone else out there and every time I step in the ring I am in great physical condition.  This is a serious sport, people get hurt - the least you can do is be physically fit and able to defend yourself."
Defending himself hasn't been an issue so far in his professional career, it is more the opponents that have to be wary.  At the weekend his power was on full display against Vajda, culminating in a first round stoppage.  Was Morgan disappointed not to get more rounds under his belt?  "The weekend was a catch 22 situation to be honest.  You never complain at a first round stoppage but I trained well and was relishing a hard fight.  He (Vajda) had 13 stoppages from his 18 wins, so I expected him to come out firing.  I'm always confident if anyone wants to exchange, I'm confident my guns are going to hit the target quicker than theirs!!  With all that being said, I am born and raised in Newham so to make my professional bow at the iconic York Hall and do it by blistering 1st round KO is something I will cherish."
With his position in the top 20 domestically at light middleweight now established it is the next stage of his career that requires the focus.  Morgan has linked up with promoter Mick Helliet and has nothing but positive things to say about their relationship to date.  "Mick has been a total professional since we met, anything he has said he would do he has delivered on.  He doesn't make false promises and as a fighter that is something I can appreciate.  I suppose we could say the early apprentice stage is about to be over and I am excited to see what the next chapter brings."
Looking down the domestic rankings at light middleweight the majority of fighters above Morgan are not much more experienced than himself.  It would be easy to envisage that if he can carry on displaying the power and boxing prowess of his first two years in the pro ranks then he could make significant leaps towards his aims of conquering the domestic ranks.  His thoughtful approach to the sport and reflective practices on his own career will surely stand him in good stead.  The link up with Helliet opens some more doors for the future - you suspect Morgan and his firing guns could be about to blow through them.
Aarron Morgan asked us to pass on his thanks to Aberdeen Asset Management for being his principal sponsors, not just financially but for the faith and support provided.  Also to Garbanzo Snacks and Steve Miles Plumbing & Heating, who have supported his career from day one and continue to help him achieve his goals.
You can follow Aarron on Twitter @AarronMorgan