An emotional Harry Garside has dedicated his successful Australian lightweight title defence to his ailing mother after revealing she has cancer.
Garside continued his meteoric rise up the professional ranks with a seventh-round TKO over gutsy Tasmanian Layton McFerran in Newcastle on Wednesday night before dropping the bombshell.
“Nine days ago my mum told me she got diagnosed with breast cancer. This one was for her,” the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist said, fighting back tears.
“If it was going to happen to anyone in the family, I’m glad it was her. She’s the strongest one by far. She’ll be fine.”
The first Australian since Grahame “Spike” Cheney in 1988 to win an Olympic boxing medal, Garside admitted it had been a rough build-up to his third professional fight.
“It was tough but it’s the reason I wore the pink socks,” he said.
“I knew I had to do it for her. She couldn’t be here because she couldn’t risk getting COVID but I knew she’d be watching so I know she’ll be cheering from home.
“I’ve got the best parents in the world. I’m very lucky.”
McFerran, with five wins from his previous six contests, proved a worthy opponent for Garside, taking endless punishment from the 24-year-old before the referee had to stop the fight late in the seventh round.
Garside landed so many punches he said he’d need scans to confirm two suspected broken knuckles.
“It was a bloody hard fight. My hands are bloody sore. The hands are pretty screwed,” he said.
“He showed he’s a credible opponent and that’s the reason he’s only had one loss prior to me.
“In the first minute of the seventh round he was coming on strong so I really had to pull something out of my bum.”