Following an interview with Scouser Tony Moran ahead of his WBF Cruiserweight clash with Nairn’s Sandy Robb a couple of things are striking.
Firstly Moran’s unwavering self-belief and secondly I was left with the impression that this is man with prize-fighting in his blood.
Moran was drawn into the world of competitive combat more than 30 years ago.
Back then he entered a Karate Dojo to help avoid the “bleak future” that he felt awaited him.
His long limbs propelled him to ten national titles and a World Team medal which is a special source of pride.
Aged 26 he choose a different path altogether when he decided to trade-in his Gis for boxing gloves.
Bizarrely he went into boxing minus the benefit of two near essentials for the fight game – a proprietary trainer or an amateur career.
Moran explained his decision-making on that unconventional route into the ring.
He said: “When I was fighting Karate I was having to pay for my own plane tickets to go to competitions.
“This was draining me financially, so I decided to give Boxing a go.”
For the first 20 fights of his career, fellow Liverpudlian John Smith assisted with corner work.
Smith also provided circuit-style training to keep Tony’s herculean 6ft 6in frame in check.
However for these fights, including a British and Commonwealth title challenge, Moran was self-trained in terms of ring craft.
With typical Merseyside humour Tony says of his early Boxing prowess:
“I didn’t know a slip from a sausage or a parry from a potato.”
It was this single-minded approach to succeed in boxing that spawned his unusual “Dare to Dream” ring nickname.
Tony said: ‘When I came into boxing from Karate, everyone just expected me to become a journeyman.
“I was too proud for that and wanted to be the best but a lot of boxing people dismissed me as a dreamer.”
He returned to boxing in 2015 after a successful stint as an MMA fighter, even serving as a sparring partner for Rampage Jackson.
This time, the Kensington-born man decided to hire a professional coach and mentor.
He wisely chose someone he thought could instil the missing fundamentals.
This was another member of the Liverpool-fight-family, retired professional Super-Middleweight Fran Harding.
Moran, now aged 42 but insisting age is not a factor is delighted with the training that Harding offers and the improvements he has made.
Hard work has been done at their basic training camp in Liverpool, which is more old school than hi-tech.
It consists of only a ring, a few bags and a running track however Moran says he is better, fitter and stronger than he’s ever been.
Crediting this new found lease of life to Harding’s “Old School basic training” and stating he is “sucking it in like a sponge” Moran vows to be in the shape of his life on April the 23rd.
Opposing Tony on in Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, a venue familiar to Tony, stands Nairn’s Sandy Robb.
Typically respectful, Tony has nothing but praise for the Highland man.
Moran feels it’s an honour to box another ‘fighting man’, praising Sandy’s guile and come-forward style.
Gathering a small amount of intelligence on the low profile Scotsman who spent part of his career abroad he gives some observations.
He feels Robb possesses a granite chin and has a sound amateur background.
Never a man to disrespect anyone in the ‘fight game’ he loves so dearly, Moran closes with the line: “He’s a tough man and taking him on will be an honour.”
The latest chapter of Tony ‘Dare to Dream’ Moran’s career is being instigated with the training and technical know-how he lacked for many years.
He is now using these tools that many pros just take for granted.
This new approach that goes as far as a new Organic Diet is one that Tony hopes will catapult him on to bigger fights and more recognition.
To experience this hardworking scouse fighter in action on April 23 in Paisley, Scotland and to find out whether Sandy Robb can turn Tony’s dream into a nightmare tickets can be purchased from the Tony himself or via Colosseum Promotions.