BIG INTERVIEW: Larches & Savick ABC co-founder Jimmy Moon on bright future for the club

Larches and Savick ABC co-founder Jimmy Moon (photos by Neil Cross)
Larches and Savick ABC co-founder Jimmy Moon (photos by Neil Cross)

Being a bit of ‘big head’ you would imagine is no bad thing when it comes to forging a successful boxing career.

Having plenty of ‘front’ and bravado is vitally important when a boxer pulls the gloves on and steps inside the ring.

Jimmy Moon was a top-class amateur boxer

Jimmy Moon was a top-class amateur boxer

But Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club co-founder Jimmy Moon revealed having a big head – in the literal sense – is perhaps not the greatest attribute for any aspiring boxer.

The 58-year-old former fighter, who fought nearly 150 times as an amateur in his heyday, should know – his head is larger than the norm thus giving his opponents more of a target to aim at.

Moon certainly bears the battle scars of his past life as a fighter – his slightly imperfect nose a perfect illustration of some of the punishment he has taken.

But he was also very successful – despite his head size – and was once ranked in the top 10 amateur middleweights in the country in his late teens.

Moon at Larches and Savick ABC

Moon at Larches and Savick ABC

“Some people have bigger heads than others – like me – I have quite a big head so that means I have got a bigger target to aim at,” said Moon, with a chuckle.

“A lot of what makes a good boxer is down to your body make-up. If you have short arms that’s a bit of a disadvantage.

“But a lot of it is down to dedication and hard work.

“I had over 130 amateur fights and from the ages of 18 to 21, I was mainly fighting as a top-10 ranked fighter in Britain.

“I think I got as far as ranked No.7.”

Despite boasting a fine amateur career, Moon never quite made the transition to the professional ranks as work commitments and family life – he has a daughter Nicola and son James – took hold.

“I started training at a place called Fighting Fit which was near the old Gatsby Nightclub in Preston,” said Moon, who attended Tulketh High School.

“I was sparring with professionals and they asked me on three or four occasions to turn pro.

“I went as far as having the medical and the brain scan, but I’d had that many hard fights as a amateur – the commitment to go pro and to get to the top was too much.

“The money in pro boxing is all at the top and it’s not in the middle – it’s a hard slog.”

It is a slight regret for Moon that he never got to discover how good he could have been as a professional.

“I actually think the pro game would have suited me more,” he said. “I think I would have been a better professional than amateur.

“The reason being I was always a slow starter.

“I was really fit and normally by the end of the second round or start of the third round, I would start to come into it.

“So that’s where I think the pro game would have suited me better.”

Although it could be argued Moon never quite fulfilled his potential as a fighter, he is still eager to pass on his knowledge and make a difference to the younger generations as a coach.

It was the reason why he, along with partners Dave Fitzgerald and Joe Kilshaw, set up a boxing gym in one of the most deprived areas in Preston.

Initially working from an old shack of a building, the gym benefitted from a £350,000 revamp in 2013.

The state-of-the-art facility is set to be expanded further with planning permission granted to build on the neighbouring basketball court which will allow the club to keep the boxing separate from the fitness amenities.

The club is widely regarded as one of the best amateur boxing gyms in the North West and lists former Commonwealth Games champion Scott Fitzgerald as one of its star pupils.

The gym – which boasts 14 coaches – is also a centre of the community and Moon admits he never dreamed it would grow as big as this when it was first set up in the early 2000s.

“It’s been great,” said Moon. “We have lots of great people around us helping.

“It’s not just about me, Joe and Dave – we have all the other coaches which makes then gym what it is.

“But what myself, Joe and Dave have been able to do is mould the coaches to how we want them to be.

“They are massive inspirations and a great asset for the club. You have to have that structure of coaches in place – that is so important.

“Myself, Dave and Joe have a lot of experience and we can pass that on not only to our boxers but also our coaches.

“The extension is going to take us to the next level.

“At the moment we have a bit criss-cross with the boxing side of things and the people who just come in from the community for fitness.

“The great thing is we have got a lot of great juniors coming through – we have some future champions here.

“We have probably gone through a little quiet spell, but we have some real good lads from 13 to 17-years-old who over the next two years are going to start coming through.”