Goodbye to the king of small-hall boxing

Floyd Moore was two-times Southern Area champion. Picture: Mick Young
Floyd Moore was two-times Southern Area champion. Picture: Mick Young
Floyd Moore during his victory over Ivan Godor in November. Picture: Neil Marshall

Brain injury fears end champion boxer’s career

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It was a fight the national boxing radar failed to detect.

But it was a contest those present will never, ever forget they witnessed.

Floyd Moore and trainer Mike Ballingall. Picture: Mick Young

Floyd Moore and trainer Mike Ballingall. Picture: Mick Young

The less-than-salubrious confines of the Fareham Leisure Centre hosted a nine-round bloodbath between Floyd Moore and uncelebrated Bulgarian Yordan Vasilev in 2013.

The contest ended in stoppage defeat for the Fareham braveheart, as both men bore their soul and left every ounce of their will in the claret-stained ring.

Floyd Moore had many better nights in a 23-fight career spanning eight years.

But this was an evening which underlined everything about why the likeable 27-year-old will be remembered as one of the most popular figures the sport has seen from these parts.

Floyd Moore catches Gary Buckland with an uppercut during their Prizefighter clash. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

Floyd Moore catches Gary Buckland with an uppercut during their Prizefighter clash. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

Last week, Moore announced his retirement in difficult circumstances 10 days before the biggest fight of his life.

The lightweight was due to travel to Belfast on Saturday to take on Irish golden boy Paul Hyland Jnr in a British title eliminator.

That was until some unusual and worsening sensations down the right side of his body forced him to seek help.

A chiropractor was his stop-off with Moore believing a trapped nerve was also affecting his balance.

They quickly suggested the hospital should be his destination, paving the way for a long day of tests in Wales last week which culminated in detecting a problem with the former Titchfield amateur’s brain stem.

A CT scan led to doctors advising Moore he immediately retire.

Despite a fighter’s will instinctively telling him to continue with the Hyland Jnr fight, it was a decision trainer Michael Ballingall took out of his hands.

The Vasilev fight may have been a night where Moore dredged every ounce of his fighting spirit but to concentrate on that contest would do a disservice to a career which arguably makes Moore the area’s most successful professional boxer after Tony Oakey.

Not bad for an amateur the 15-6-2 man believes many trainers viewed as a ‘donut’.

Absolutely no-one would have predicted what was to come when Moore lost to king of the journeymen, Johnny Greaves, in a nightmare start to his pro career in 2010.

With his trademark army of fans willing him on, the occasion got the better of the Ballys Gym fighter as a nervous energy consumed his stamina and he fell to a four-round points defeat.

This journalist felt the interviews could wait as Moore was violently sick in his dressing room afterwards, on a debut to quickly forget.

Moore bounced back from that early setback, however, to win 10 of his next 13 contests – all backed by his marching army of fans.

That culminated in a sensational Southern Area title defeat of highly-touted Londoner Ryan Taylor, which came with a showreel fourth-round stoppage to earn the performance the airtime it deserved.

A Prizefighter outing against Gary Buckland and an O2 Arena revenge win over Vasilev are other Moore highlights for him to reflect on in years to come. It’s the second area title win over Danny Carter in 2015 which made Moore a record-breaker – a feat he achieved by hiding the fact he’d fractured his collarbone weeks earlier.

There will no doubt be many more talented boxers to emerge from this boxing hotbed than Moore in years to come.

There will be few more entertaining or popular.

It’s a reality which led to his trainer and close pal Ballingall labelling Moore the ‘king of small-hall boxing’.

That’s a title the little warrior will wear well in retirement.