BIG HITTERS Ray Moylette is pictured during his last fight against Christian Uruzquieta for the vacant WBC International Silver Lightweight title at The Royal Theatre in Castlebar on December 7, 2018. Pic: Sportsfile
THE name ‘Ray Moylette’ has been featuring in the pages of The Mayo News for almost 20 years now. He was only 11 when he joined St Anne’s Boxing Club in Westport and little did any of us know back then what the youngster from Islandeady was going to go on and achieve in the boxing ring.
Through a combination of natural talent, shrewd coaching, incredible hard work and years of sacrifice, dedication and determination, Ray went on to become one of Ireland’s very best amateur boxers. He won National, European and World titles to prove it too.
He became known the length and breadth of the boxing world, and the Mayo flag was never far from his corner. It was the same when he turned professional a few years ago.
None of us will forget where we were in December 2018 when Ray Moylette fought Christian Uruzquieta of Mexico in Castlebar, live on national television, in front of a huge crowd who were all there to see ‘Sugar Ray’ on the biggest night of his professional career.
Unfortunately, the night ended with his first defeat in the professional ranks in his 12th fight.
And between a combination of that result, a subsequent change of management, US visa paperwork issues, and the arrival of Covid-19 last spring, Ray Moylette hasn’t fought competitively for more than two years now.
Many people wondered what the future held for the affable Islandeady man, who became a father for the first time last May to Colby-Ray, and who has enjoyed spending time at home with the baby and his wife, Sharon, in the months that followed.
He also started working with Western Care.
But last Friday he broke the news that so many people had been hoping for via his Twitter account — ‘My long anticipated Ring Return is finally announced,’ he wrote. ‘March 20th, Brussels’.
Fast forward a few days and Ray gave a compelling interview to Michael D McAndrew on Mid West Radio. He spoke openly and honestly about where he had gone, where he was now, and where he intended to go.
He talked about the ‘frustrating’ last two years and explained that he had ‘jumped over a lot of hurdles to get here’, knew he ‘always had to start again’ after the defeat to Uruzquieta, and described the fight in Belgium later this month as the start of ‘a rebuild’.
“A lot of people thought I had retired, but I’m back on track now, ready to rock,” he said.
“This is my chance now to get back and make it all worthwhile. I need to get back in the ring.”
Ray, who has always been one of the most fascinating and genuinely interesting sportspeople to talk to over the years, also gave a great insight into how he felt about that last fight night in Castlebar more than two years ago.
“I’d be lying to you if I told you that wasn’t the highlight of my whole career,” he said. “Travelling all over the world, winning world titles, European titles, All-Ireland titles, it didn’t compare to fighting in Castlebar in front of my home crowd. It was massive.
“I lost on the night by a decision but really, looking at the bigger picture, I won on the night. The love that everyone has shown me since. . Everyone is still talking about it. .
“Getting bet was one thing, but it was the whole event, the whole atmosphere, everybody supported me so much. I was honoured to be part of it.
“My dream now is to fill the TF again and get another big night in Castlebar. If I could do that, I know I could walk away from this game a happy man. This game owes me nothing at this stage but one more night like that, I could rest easy.”
All going well, he takes the first step on that road on Saturday, March 20 against an as-yet unconfirmed opponent. Ray admitted whoever it is ‘won’t be a world-beater’ because the object of the exercise right now is to ‘get me back into the mix and build from there’.
“Professional boxing is about levels and moving through them. Right now, I’m down at a low level but I’m hoping the fights will come thick and fast.”
We wish Ray the best of luck, and look forward to covering his return to the ring.