TEENAGE boxer Jye Clark had to cool his heels when he ventured to Melbourne for his first fight a month ago.
He headed to the city with high hopes, but a weight issue with his opponent derailed the bout before either boxer could step into the ring.
The young boxer was disappointed. But, knowing his time would come, he resumed training, building strength and nous under coach Rodney Ryan.
The chance to make his competitive debut finally arrived on Sunday — and finished with the young boxer celebrating a split decision victory.
Three of the four judges awarded Jye the 48-kilogram bout against Melbourne’s Jackson Murphy, contested over three 90-second rounds.
His parents Wayne and Kylie Clark were among the crowd at the Reggio Calabria Club in Brunswick, along with other family members.
“It was a bit of a scrappy fight, to be honest. We were grabbing each other all the time,” Jye said.
“He grabbed me the most which made me unable to throw the punches I wanted to. I reckon I went all right for my first fight.
“I didn’t think I had it to be honest. Jackson was throwing some really good punches as well.”
Jye, a Warrnambool College student, took up boxing last year having experienced the sport as part of football training with Dennington.
He was a member of the Dogs’ under 14½ side which lost the grand final last season, but has given away football to concentrate on boxing.
“A month ago I made a decision to stop football and focus on my boxing,” he said. “It was tough. I went to a couple of training sessions and we had a good team but I do boxing every day of the week.”
Jye said Ryan, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the AFL, had been the biggest influence on his career.
He also looks up to fellow Ryan-trained boxers Luci Hand and Bianca Slater, who are bound for national championships next month.
“I really want to keep going. I want to get to the level that everyone who has fought here has got to, state titles,” Jye said.
“That won’t come until next year, so I’ve got to keep working hard.”