Boots off, gloves on as South Warrnambool midfielder shapes up for shot at the Queensland Australian Football League 

IZAAC Dwyer’s number one passion is football but the South Warrnambool midfielder is preparing for a shot at boxing.

The 18-year-old, who is set to move north for a crack at the Queensland Australian Football League competition, took up boxing a little over a month ago to boost his fitness levels.

His South Warrnambool under 18 teammate Isaak O’Rourke, a dual Victorian amateur boxing champion, introduced him to the ring.

“When footy stopped, I was talking with Izaak and he said ‘I’ve just about run out of people to spar’ and I thought I’d have a go,” he said.

“I said ‘I’ll have a couple of rounds with you’ so I went in there one night.”

Dwyer said he had enjoyed the challenge despite being outpointed.

“I wasn’t disappointed how I went against him.” 

After five weeks of training alongside O’Rourke under the tutelage of Warrnambool boxing coach Rodney Ryan, Dwyer faces a big test tomorrow — his first amateur bout.

And it’s not just any bout. It’s in the 75-kilogram division of the Victorian amateur novice championships in Brunswick.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Dwyer said.

“ToRmorrow there will be a couple of a nerves.”

Dwyer, the nephew of former North Melbourne star Wayne Schwass, said boxing would never replace footy in his life, but believed the sport would help him pursue his Aussie rules dreams.

“I’ve learnt a lot about the mental side of things, the commitment and determination you have to have. 

“I’m going to be fighting a bloke who wants to beat me just as much as I want to beat him. I haven’t been training for years and years so I don’t have expectations. As long as I’m happy with myself.”

He said the mental preparation and training required for boxing would help him push on with his footy career, likely to be with the Aspley Hornets.

His training partner O’Rourke, who has won both the Victorian amateur novice and intermediate championships in the past year, will also fight tomorrow in the 64-kilogram youth open division. 

Victories tomorrow by Dwyer and O’Rourke would guarantee them berths in the final next month.

Tomorrow’s fights in Brunswick open a big month for the sport and south-west fighters. Preliminary bouts in various men’s and women’s divisions will be held across the next three Sundays before the December 16 finals. 

Ryan has five fighters from his stable entered, while Koroit’s Lyndon Edney has three and Ray “Mocka” McIntosh’s Coleraine gym has seven.

grbest@standard.fairfax.com.au

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