It’s not often you see a boxer admit that they’re scared before a fight – but on Tuesday, Harry Garside did just that.
The Olympic medallist faces Tasmania’s Layton McFerran for the Australian lightweight title on Wednesday night, and while the lead-up has been nothing but amicable between the two, Garside raised a few eyebrows with a frank admission after the pre-fight weigh-in.
“There’s something in that moment, when you’re staring into each other’s souls,” Garside told reporters on fight eve.
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“You’re trying your best to look confident, but you’re both kind of scared in your eyes. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Garside said he saw confidence and fear in his opponent, but has no doubts that McFerran saw the same thing.
“We’re all fearful, we’re all scared, but at the same time there’s an air of confidence,” he said.
“No fighter, I can guarantee you, is going into that ring tomorrow night and they’re not scared. Every fighter is fearful, every fighter is scared. But at the same time, if they have done the preparation they should be confident as well.”
It’s easy to see why Garside’s quickly resonated with the Australian public – with his ability inside the ropes matched by his honesty and likeability outside them.
Even when he was asked after today’s weigh-in if he thought the fans would be on his side, he opted to pump up the tires of his opponent.
“I hope the Newcastle people get around me. Layton McFerran, the guy I’m fighting, is a great bloke too, so I hope they get around him too.”
The pair had earlier exchanged a warm handshake after hitting the scales.
“He seems like a really good bloke, Layton – I know he’s going to be nice and tough, I haven’t seen much footage of him but he looks nice and strong. He also has nice long arms, actually.
“He’s a good block and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight.”
Garside defends the Australian title that he won against Manuer Matet in April, capturing the gold in just his second professional fight.
While in-ring preparation remains the same regardless of amateur or professional standing, Garside said he was thoroughly enjoying the circus that comes with big fight cards.
“It’s fun mate, you definitely don’t get this stuff in the amateurs,” he laughed.
“Look how many people are standing around me right now. In the amateurs there’s about two people at the weigh-in and no one says hello to you.”
The pair will face off on the undercard of Paul Gallen’s heavyweight title fight against Kris Terzievski, with Garside praising the involvement of the former NRL star and other ‘outsiders’ for raising the profile of boxing.
Now, he says, it’s up to the new breed.
“Boxing lost its way for a few years, in the last sort of ten years – but it’s definitely on the way back.”
KING OF THE CASTLE FIGHT CARD AND WEIGHTS
Wednesday, Newcastle Entertainment Center
Paul Gallen 103.86kg vs 102.26kg Kris Terzievski (10 rounds for Australian and Australasian heavyweight title)
Nikita Tszyu 69.06kg vs 69.48kg Mason Smith (six rounds at super-welterweight)
Harry Garside 61.04kg vs 61.06kg Layton McFerran (10 rounds for Australian lightweight title)
Sam Goodman 55.00kg vs 55.20kg Fumiya Fuse (10 rounds for IBF inter-continental and WBO Oriental super-bantamweight titles)
Hassan Hamdan 64.40kg vs 63.82kg Trent Girdham (six rounds at welterweight)
Amber Amelia 58.34kg vs 58.48kg Sara Jalonen (five rounds at featherweight)
Hironiri Mishiro 61.06kg vs 61.04kg Francis Chua (eight rounds at lightweight)
Linn Sandstrom 51.94kg vs 52.18kg Floryvic Montero (eight rounds for WBC Australian super-flyweight title)
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