1 December 2008 – by Kevin Byrne
At 18 and just finished his Leaving Cert, Ray Moylett harboured the same dreams as any young boxer in the country.
Winning a national senior title was the pinnacle, or maybe one day becoming an Olympian.
Becoming Irelands first ever gold medallist at the World Youth Championships was probably an unrealistic stepping stone in his ascendancy. Such success and accolades at an early age can sometimes blind a sportsman to the realities of senior competition. It is a trap that Moylett, for one, refuses to embrace.
It was always a dream to win a senior title, you know you were never going to dream of a world title because that was too much nearly. A senior title would be in your grasp, but still to win that would be a great way to finish off the year, he told Irish-boxing.com.
Its still hard to believe, hard to get my head around it. I was on the front pages, back pages Its a shock really, Im a celebrity overnight, but youre not a celebrity without the people that are behind you. If they werent behind you, youd be no-one.
Now that Katie Taylor has retained her world title, Moylett and the Bray woman are Irish world champions in one of the toughest weights in the world, an area seemingly more suited to the littler Latins, if the professional scene is anything to go by.
Thats brilliant, that shows the standard of Irish boxing now today, when we can produce two world champions at lightweight, one of the hardest weights in it, says Moylett. So its just great that she got her second world title.
Becoming an overnight celebrity has its pitfalls. Too many onlookers, the pressure it brings, perhaps a mixture of achievement felt and pride can make any future success harder to come by.
Mix that with the certainty that Moylett will now be a marked man throughout his career, and the fact Ireland already have a European bronze medallist in Grangecons Ross Hickey as the current international lightweight, and the Mayo teenager still faces a scrap to establish himself in domestic terms. It is a battle he says he is ready for, well, once he has enjoyed his success a little longer.
Im still shocked. You see it in the paper, or someone sends you a message and you see it there. World Champion. Im still in awe, you know that kind of way? I just want to enjoy it now for a while, because these days might never come again. The seniors are in Feburary – thats if Im entering them! Theres no point jumping into anything, but as of now I think Im entering them.
We have a European bronze in Ross Hickey, so the work is cut out for the both of us. I suppose hed have the experience on his side, but shocks do happen – like I was the shock of the tournament out in Mexico, and theres nothing will stop me now.
Speaking of shocks, the overall performance of the Youth squad in Guadalajara came as something of a surprise. Doubts were raised by some before the tournament about the ability of the squad. With an overall haul of two bronze, one silver and one gold, Moylett reckons they have answered their critics.
Team captain Jamie Kavanagh, from Crumlin, took the silver while David Joe Joyce (St Michaels Athy) and Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunketts Belfast) scored bronze as Ireland took home medals for the first time since Andy Lees solitary silver in 2002. Moylett puts the haul down to the atmosphere in the ranks.
That was a brilliant squad, everyone was best friends; that never usually happens, theres always ups and downs but on that team everyone bonded well, he says.
Yeah, we were having the craic. Thats our attitude, it cant be just all by the book, you have to break out, I think thats why we did so well, because we were allowed be ourselves. Everyone was behind each other. The seniors would be, whats the word, theyd be more disciplined maybe. But its not all about discipline either, you have to break out, you cant be in the same spot all the time.
On November 15 the St Annes Westport clubman was introduced to the crowd before Bernard Dunne took on Cristian Faccio. He took to the same ring where home favourite Henry The Western Warrior Coyle had just enjoyed a fine homecoming, and Castlebars Breaffy House Resort was a sea of green and red, the famous Mayo colours.
A proud moment, no doubt, but Moylett is not one for fanfare. I was proud, but Id rather be fighting in front of a crowd like that. Its OK being there in front of a crowd but they dont see the work thats done behind the scenes, the training and stuff. Its not just go out in front of a big crowd and everyone loves ya, they dont see behind the scenes at all, thats where all the work has to be done. But its our life, its what we do.
Moylett is a full-time athlete, albeit taking some time out right now (Im only training twice a week, thats all). And for what? By his reckoning a major dream has already been fulfilled, and now small fry like a senior title, once the be-all, are not the Everest they once seemed.
Id like to fight in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, says the 2008 World Youth 60Kg Champion. Londons the aim now for 2012, and hopefully thatll work out.