Ring success won’t keep Dwyer off oval

A STATE title on debut isn’t enough to convince Izaac Dwyer to swap his football boots for boxing gloves.

The 18-year-old was crowned the Victorian novice and intermediate amateur boxing champion after an impressive foray into the ring in the 75-kilogram youth division in Melbourne on Sunday.

Dwyer, who took up boxing at the end of the football season to boost his fitness for a crack at breaking into the Queensland AFL competition, was overwhelmed when he discovered his maiden fight turned out to be a state title bout.

He had thought Sunday’s fight over three two-minute rounds was a qualifier for the state title but due to insufficient numbers in his weight division, it doubled for two categories.

“I was surprised. I didn’t know it was for the state championship,” he said.

“I was in the novice section but they put me into the intermediate with guys who had one to five fights.”

Dwyer, who said he had emerged unscathed from the bout, revealed the intensity had taken its toll.

“I thought my fitness was going to be fine but it’s totally different when you get into the ring. I honestly thought I was in great shape but it was tough. I was trying to not let him get a punch in.”

He said any nerves and apprehension about taking on a more experienced fighter had disappeared early.

“The first right hand got him,” he said.

“I thought I might have stopped him. I saw his eyes roll back a couple of times in the later rounds.

“I threw the first punch and when he threw one back I thought I might be in a bit of trouble. But I didn’t really give him much of a chance to hit me.”

Dwyer won 21 points to 12.

He received his trophy from Warrnambool’s South Australian boxing masters champion Philippa Hannagan.

“Afterwards I was through the roof,” he said.

“I don’t know if I could get a buzz like that from winning a (footy) premiership. I guess I have to win one first. If it’s not the same, I can always go back to boxing.”

Dwyer said the title wouldn’t persuade him to give up his footy dreams.

His trainer Rodney Ryan had been trying to influence his decision, he said. But he said while Ryan had given him a great introduction to the sport, footy was his goal.

“I will go there (to box) while I can to get the extra fitness before I leave for Queensland next week but I won’t get back into the ring for a while.”

He said Ryan and his South Warrnambool teammate Isaak O’Rourke, who had got him into boxing, had been a huge support before Sunday’s fight in Brunswick.

O’Rourke, who was set for a semi-final in the open youth 64-kilogram division, was granted a bye and will fight for the title next month.

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