Having hurled his 6ft 6in frame through the pain barrier, entering his fight with a cracked rib, Liverpool’s Tony Moran stood as a champion.
In his first outing since September 2015, he claimed the vacant WBF Cruiserweight crown in a pulsating test of his mettle at the Lagoon Centre, Paisley.
Contesting the title against Highland hardcase Sandy Robb now 11-3-1 (5KO), Moran fought with typical grit and substantial improvements in his ring generalship. He Credits these improvements to coach Fran Harding.
Old school coach Harding is a man Moran states unequivocally that he could not have been victorious without.
After emerging both as a new champion and fighter Moran heaped praise on Harding.
He said: “Going into fights with a game plan and also someone who has the knowledge to alter it at any second, has helped me no end.
“The tutelage and error correction has been immense.”
The bout followed a pattern in the opening rounds with the Nairn man bulling forward, trying to land his potent-looking hooks.
While the Scouser deftly circling out of trouble, confident enough to drop his hands on occasion.
Accurate jabs and straight rights from Moran followed which began distorting the Scots’ features from the third round onwards.
Moran even demonstrated his strength by turning Robb in the fourth and landing a smart-looking combo.
Dragged into a war in the middle rounds and picking up some facial damage from Robb’s solid right hands Moran required some inspiration. He found it after following some valuable advice from his corner.
What resumed was Moran’s intelligent boxing from the sixth and he started to pick-off Robb at will. A second wind from Moran, who agreed to weigh in light at 14st, pushed him through the final four rounds of the fight. His educated straight shots gashing Robb’s eye in the eighth.
The ocular injury survived a Doctor’s inspection in the ninth round, despite being constantly targeted by Tony’s left glove.
Still aiming for the stoppage the Merseyside man piled on the pressure from the tenth onwards but was unable to halt the Scot.
Moran however prevailed by scores of 118-112, 118-111 with an inexplicable 115-115 rendered by one judge.
Disappointed by the lack of an early finish, Moran, with typical respect paid tribute to his opponent’s mettle describing him as “just like a machine” and wishing him the best for the future.
He said: “I’ve fought guys in MMA and Karate that couldn’t stand up to Sandy Robb.”
Moran will be hoping his new WBF title will bring him the bigger fights and some larger paydays. A tougher fight awaits the Scouse warrior following the recent loss of his day job and residence.
“I’m sculpted from the hardest endeavours”, quips Tony who hopes to build on Saturday’s success.
Un-phased by it all, philosophically stating: “it is what it is” he will overcome; but then again Tony Moran always did things the hard way.