BASS Coast Boxing (BCB) has returned to its former glory after hosting a field of nationally recognised boxers battling it out at the Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club.
Bouts started at midday on Sunday with up and coming Uriah Notley showing his force in the junior exhibition match.
The day hosted 15 fights, with the ‘Tasmania vs Rural Victoria’ trophy on the line.
With a field of varied talents, Santo ‘King’ Joma and Jack ‘Milkman’ Sheerin each made their debuts in the boxing ring and ultimately stole the show.
With roughly a year of specific training between them, the two were in incomparable form entering the fight.
Recently becoming a father, the intense training of ‘King’ had decreased in the past month.
Sheerin, naturally not as fit as Joma, had been increasingly focused, reaching peak fitness with the help of BCB coach Scott Williamson.
Prior to the fight, King Joma was clearly the favourite, standing at 6 foot 3 inches, without a gram of fat on his body. Sheerin’s delayed entry caused assumptions amongst the crowd.
Rumours circulated, ‘He’s pulled out,’ ‘He’d be mad to go up against him.’
Minutes passed, and eventually Sheerin entered.
Into the room, fearless Sheerin received instant approval of the crowd.
George Papas announced, “Milkman Sheerin, he always delivers.”
And that he did.
Starting the bout, punches were thrown, soon nerves were replaced by fists.
King Joma stood a head above the Milkman, but Sheerin’s well-grounded stance and good form allowed his fitness to take hold.
Sheerin wore punches early, but he threw them too.
Joma said he couldn’t remember being hit so hard, following the fight.
“He hit me, and I was so dazed,” Joma said.
The day had already seen some qualified fighters, most with dozens of competitive fights, though the energy of this bout was hard to comprehend.
These two, each debuting, representing their footy homes, Dalyston – Joma and Inverloch – Sheerin, weren’t going to leave anything on the table.
Catching their breath, Sheerin now had a brave look in his eyes.
Joma’s pre-bout antics were gone. Now Sheerin was ready to rumble.
It was now the Milkman’s ring, Sheerin held centre position and worked Joma around.
Santo moved with skill, but lacked his usual prowess.
Joma landed some punches but couldn’t shift the gaze of Sheerin.
Sheerin continued to outmuscle the middle of the ring, though he struggled to land point-winning punches.
Halfway through the second round, the fight seemed even.
Following the 30-second bell, Santo lifted his intensity.
Joma’s electricity returned while Sheerin held tight defensively.
It was on his term’s now, as he forced Sheerin towards his red corner.
The bell came and both fighters returned to their corners.
The fight was on the table, so far Joma’s strength and greater reach had been well matched by Sheerin’s fitness, determination and technique.
The third was fought around the middle. With both boxers maintaining good form, the bout could fall either way.
Sheerin continued his fearless glare, Santo moved with lower arms but longer punches.
The 30-second bell meant the end was near.
The bell rung and the two best mates united in a hug.
The crowd clapped, many to their feet. The intensity of two local blokes, a tribute to their community surrounding them.
It was Santo who earned the judge’s favour and some would say Jack earned the crowd’s.
All was in good spirits, and an indication of what each boxer could achieve.