Last month, Dylan Moran rested for a moment in Fort Lauderdale Airport, overjoyed at his recent stoppage win in Tijuana, Mexico. The young Irish boxer sat and reflected on an insightful exchange with Tyson Fury he had enjoyed earlier that day, the conversation still ringing in his ears.
"It was unbelievable really. That whole trip was an amazing experience. I met Tyson Fury before what was the biggest fight of this era, him and Wilder, which was amazing. We’d a nice chit-chat. We just bounced ideas off each other about training. It was great. I was in awe really.
"We told him we were just fighting in Mexico. He was in LA down in Freddie Roach's gym. We were asking how was camp going? How is the weight? Typical boxing questions. He was an absolute gentleman about it."
Moran revels in the company of fellow fighters. If boxing is his home, boxers are his family. Yet as he was about to discover, the day's adventures would not end there.
Then, one of my mates and I were going to the airport and I remember saying 'imagine if we met Wilder, it’d just make the trip.' We were sitting in the food court and I looked beside me, there he was just sitting there! We tapped him on the shoulder thinking 'wow, is this actually happening.' He was even nicer. Really engaged.
We just chatted boxing. We showed him pictures of Mexico and told him we just met Fury. We just had a little conversation and off he went.
Boxing is a unique sport. Boxers have a unique understanding of each other because they have been there done it and know what is involved. There is a respect amongst your peers. You understand what they go through.
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The difference between a career soaring and staggering relies on maintaining that precious zero on any record and right now Moran is on the right path. One of the nation's best welterweights, he will look to move to 8-0 this Friday as he fights on the Ray Moylette Homecoming undercard at the Royal Theatre, Castlebar.
Moran is a unique breed in the sport. The Waterford man is unassuming and quietly assured in everything until he gets into a ring, but that is the way he wants it. It's an approach that has steered the 24-year-old well thus far and the next 12 months will be his just reward. A televised bout this week, a valuable fight abroad in early 2019 and a homecoming of his own later in the year.
All secured without any superfluous spiel.
"Look every man for himself. It stands to me when I am going into the ring, I am doing my talking in the ring. People respect that. You get a lot of it in the game. There is a lot to be said for someone who stays quiet and does their talking in the ring."
For Moran, Friday is about more than closing out 2018 in style. It marks a significant step forward in rekindling Ireland's love affair with boxing. The prospect of a packed bill televised live on national television seemed distant at the start of 2018. After all, it had not been broadcast since August 2011.
Yet, come late Friday night it will have been broadcast twice this year with plans already in the works for an increase on that in 2019. The future is bright, both for Dylan Moran and the domestic sport.
I really think Friday night is the start of something special in Irish boxing. You had the Bernard Dunne days with RTE. Then Irish boxing was on its knees but it is certainly on the up now with Assassin boxing and TG4. The Ray Moylette homecoming will be the start of something special. I think the Irish people will get behind it.