EMERGING Warrnambool boxer Isaak O'Rourke has won his first open fight and now has his sights on the Victorian junior open titles.
O'Rourke, 17, won a three-round bout with experienced campaigner Ben Denico in Canberra on Saturday night, making it an open class debut to remember.
Competing in the 60-kilogram amateur class, O'Rourke rated the win against his 24-year-old opponent as a confidence-booster.
"I was pretty nervous because it was my first open fight and there were three three-minute rounds," he said. "I hadn't seen the guy before and didn't know what he was like. In the first round I got an eight-count on me.
"I am not too sure what happened. I might have fallen over, and I felt like he threw more punches," he said.
"I came out strong at the start of the second round and then it evened out and in the third round I found it really tough because I was so out of energy. I was thinking to myself I'd lost, so it was a surprise."
O'Rourke has had five fights for four wins under the tutelage of Warrnambool coach Rodney Ryan.
With his training paramount to his success in the ring, O'Rourke has made the difficult decision to step away from football a sport he's played and loved since he was seven. He played under 18s for South Warrnambool last season.
O'Rourke said he saw his sporting future in boxing.
"Rod made me realise it is very hard to do two sports at once if you are trying to make it somewhere and if you focus on one you'll improve much quicker," he said.
O'Rourke trains five days a week and often travels to Geelong and Melbourne on weekends for sparring sessions. "I'd like to mention Rod, he deserves a lot of recognition for what he puts into it and the support from people who come into the gym," he said.