Harry Garside’s first defence of his Australian lightweight title was a rousing success, as the Olympian dismantled Layton McFerran until the referee waved the fight off in the seventh round.
Walking out to Men At Work’s ‘Down Under’ and sporting a vest bearing ‘Aussie Harry’ on his back, Garside truly lived up to his self-description of being the most patriotic man in the nation.
The first round began with McFerran landing a heavy shot on Garside, before the Olympian hit back with a thunderous head strike of his own.
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He continued to flow between shots to McFerran’s body as well as going upstairs, moving around the ring with ease.
Garside also gave an early answer to a major question in the lead-up to the fight as to whether he would stand up or sit between rounds.
Like he did against Matet, the 24-year-old refused to sit on the stool and McFerran did the same.
Garside continued to land heavy shots throughout the opening rounds as McFerran continued to wear the blows.
The Tasmanian did his utmost to answer back, but the return shots were too few and far between as Garside continued to ramp up the volume of punches along with his slick movement around the ring.
The middle rounds saw Garside find his target with ease, although McFerran shook his head at one point in the fifth as if to say his opponent couldn’t do any damage.
However, he must have been feeling the shots in the sixth as Garside unleashed a barrage of strikes on McFerran, who started to lose his legs and struggled to defend or throw anything back.
Although McFerran did his utmost to fight back early in the seventh, it did little to halt Garside from dancing around the ring as if he had barely fatigued.
Ultimately, a combo from Garside in the same round forced the referee to stop in and call the fight early, as the boy from Lilydale secured a convincing victory.
“It’s a great stoppage. Maybe late, that’s a great stoppage,” boxing great Jeff Fenech said on Main Event.
It was a remarkable effort from Garside, who had only fought just 35 days earlier in a ten-round slugfest against Manuer Matet to claim the Australian lightweight title.
Speaking after the fight, Garside hailed McFerran’s undeniable toughness.
“It was a bloody hard fight. I knew it’d be a tough one, Tasmanians are all tough as nails and Layton’s a tough one,” Garside said.
“I’ve got a couple of hand injuries (after the short turnaround) … I didn’t want to let the Australian fans down, the Newcastle fans. I’ve always wanted to fight here, I couldn’t say no.”
He later explained his hands were “pretty fu***d” even coming into the night.
Barry Michael described McFerran as “brave beyond belief”, while Garside was applauded for his sportsmanship to immediately go to his opponent after the stoppage and congratulate him on the bout.