IT WOULD HAVE been just Ryan Garner’s luck if the cut eye he sustained at the end of the third round of his return fight against Jordan Ellison at the end of April had cost him dearly.
‘The Piranha’ had been out of the ring for over a year and, with setbacks and the odd self-inflicted mishap along the way, it has taken him close to five years to cobble together a 10-0 professional record.
But Garner is a rejuvenated fighter who is fully back in love with the sport he clearly excels in. His application in training is matched by his enthusiasm for hard work and staying close to his fighting poundage.
The now 23-year-old is totally committed to fulfilling his obvious potential and leaving his mark on the boxing battleground.
In his own words, he has ‘never been happier’.
So it would have been a cruel twist of fate had the straight shot from Ellison which severed the skin above Garner’s left eye resulted in him taking a first loss. As it turned out, Garner didn’t even realise he was cut and superb work from veteran cornerman Frank Hopkins enabled him to survive and thrive in a six-round points triumph.
“I haven’t watched it back yet because I forgot to record it, but I know from photos that it was a pretty bad cut. It was a weird one because I didn’t even know I had been cut and Frank did a great job making sure there was no bleeding in my eye.
“If it had been stopped I would have lost because it was a punch. Imagine that? I would have been gutted. But, to be honest, the way my life is going at the moment, I have never been happier and everything just seems so positive for me at the moment. I can’t complain.
“I was 14 months out of the ring and, when I got back in there, I think I was just a bit over eager at first to get in there and make a statement. I was falling short and diving in, not being myself, with being rusty and getting caught with shots I normally wouldn’t.
“Once I got into it and shook off the rust, by rounds five and six I was really moving through the gears again. I got my rhythm and everything started to come back so I am hoping in my next fight my timing will be back, I will be fighting someone my own weight and you will see a really good performance.”
Perhaps inevitably, given the youthful competition within the gym, Garner came out looking to do a rush job on Ellison, having watched his teammate Mark Chamberlain take out the same opponent in just over a minute a month earlier.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I could have been rushing it as well and there were other factors. Mark had just beaten him so I was eager to look good, but it is one of those things and it was another learning fight. Doing six rounds at a good pace will serve me well.
“So, in the long run, I was more beneficial than just blowing him out of there. If anything, it is the most I have learned in a fight.
“I had a shiner for a week afterwards and a fat lip, but it was all good and I love it!”