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Maydad Fights (And Wins) Against The Odds

By Georgie Jeffreys on May 3, 2012 in Sport

Photo: Hakan Saglam

Against all odds, despite numerous injuries and after 21 years in retirement, Bondi’s Maydad Ronen recently made the comeback of all comebacks when he won the UBC Featherweight Master’s Title.

At 42 years of age, Ronen proved that anything is possible when he stepped back into the ring for first time in over two decades.

The decision to take part in the fight came after an encouraging phone call from boxing manager Eddie Montalvo and Angelo Dundee, the former trainer to both Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.

“I was forever imagining what could have been and what I could of achieved,” Ronen told The Beast recently. “So when I got a call from Eddie and Angelo over Christmas I leapt at their suggestion of hosting and fighting for the UBC Master’s Title.”

However, having hung his gloves up many years ago, Ronen knew he was in for a battle.

“When I decided to do this, my trainer and I knew it was gonna be tough. I hadn’t fought or even had someone hold the punching pads for me for over twenty years. Besides a little bit of fitness here and there, I’d pretty much done nothing,” he said.

And tough it was, not just in training but also in finding a worthy opponent.

Ronen and his trainer, Alan Sykes, searched worldwide for a suitable competitor.

“We called Ghana, Africa, Thailand, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico and England. We needed to find someone who was over forty, in the right weight range and who was willing to go eight rounds with me.”

Unfortunately, no one was found and with less than eight weeks until the set date, things were beginning to look dire.

“We were starting to get a bit worried about finding someone and then a young Japanese guy put his hand up,” Ronen said. “He’d fought in 26 amateur matches, won 19 and lost seven, and three pro matches of which he’d won two and drawn one.”

The fighter’s name was Shinichi Muriyama. However, at only 27 years of age Muriyama was 14 years Ronen’s junior.

Inevitably Ronen and Sykes made the decision to allow the fight, despite the huge disadvantage presented by the achingly large age gap. Ronen now not only had his twenty year stint in retirement to contend with, but also an opponent only two-thirds his age and in his youthful prime.

The most devastating blow, though, came just eight weeks before the fight when Ronen tore his shoulder muscle during a sparring session in training.

“I had every reason to give up. I was plagued with injuries because of the intensity of my training,” Ronen said. “After some sessions, I’d come home urinating blood. But pushing your body to its limits is what fighting is all about.”

His training, of which there were ten sessions per week, was so extreme that Ronen lost seven kilograms in just over a month.

“My trainer and I knew that this was gonna be a really hard fight, so we did everything we could to prepare for that.”

On Saturday, March 24, Ronen was victorious, winning the fight on all three of the judge’s scorecards and proving that age is no match for grit and determination.

“I’m so grateful to have been able to end my career on this high. Coming out of retirement after 21 years and then winning against someone so young and competitive, that’s definitely something to be proud of.”