30th Apr 2024 @ 8:00 pm

Andrew Maloney, 22, from Matagorda, is the Las Palmas 75 Kg (super-middleweight) boxing champion and was the Canarian champ until a close-split decision loss last month. We had a word with one of the island’s best young boxing hopes.

How did you start boxing, Andy?

I came to Lanzarote with my family when I was 14. I’d been bullied at school back in Ireland, so I wanted to build up my confidence. My grandad was a boxing referee for 30 years, so I started training at John O’ Brien’s Champs Camp. I loved it, you get to punch people for fun! It was a great experience, and inspiring when fighters like Kid Galahad came to visit.

Did the bullying stop?

It’s not easy coming to a Spanish school when you don’t know the language, and me and my brother got some stick, but the boxing certainly helped. I’ve picked up the language and can answer back now.

Where do you train now?

I go to Fuerteventura to spar in Puerto del Rosario, and I also train under Palenke, a 95-year-old guy in Arrieta who’s been boxing for 80 years. I’m the only Irish lad at that gym, the only English speaker, but I learn a lot.

Is that a difficult schedule?

It’s a lot of travel. This morning, I got up at 4 am to get to Puerto del Rosario, arrived at 10, sparred with a really tough fighter, arrived back home at 4.30 and just collapsed. I had a quick nap then went to my job at the Tavern On The Seafront. I also run twice a week and train at the Fuerte Gym in Playa Honda.

What keeps you going?

First of all, I enjoy it. I lost my first four fights, but I didn’t get down about it – they were all tough opponents, and three were 3-2 split decisions. I think judges do tend to favour local fighters, but I kept on at it. I’ve got hunger and ambition.

Were you disappointed to lose the Canarian title last month?

Not at all. I know I did the best I could, and it was close. It could have gone either way. I’m looking at the next fight now.

What’s your style?

I think I have an interesting, elusive style; I pick my shots and have moves that can make an opponent look stupid.

What’s next, Andrew?

The Spanish Championship, followed by the Celtic Box Cup and another tournament in Dublin. I could be the champion of Spain, Ireland, and Dublin if all goes well.

And longer term?

I know that I’ll be a professional boxer one day. I’ll probably have to move away from the island to reach full potential, though. The Canaries don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Thanks Andrew, and the very best of luck.

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