In the build-up to all of his fights to date, Harry Garside is the epitome of a “nice guy.”
Rarely, if at all, will you see him trading blows with his opponent in a bout of verbal warfare.
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In fact, Garside (2-0) was fully complimentary of his next opponent, Layton McFerran (5-1), at the King of the Castle press conference at The Star and described the Tasmanian as “a really nice, good man.”
But once the 24-year-old steps between the ropes and squares off against McFerran in the Olympic bronze medallist’s first defence of the Australian lightweight title, he turns into a whole different beast.
It’s when Garside taps into his “animal instinct.”
“We’re animals in there,” Garside told foxsports.com.au.
“You’ve got to be an animal. You’ve got to be ruthless. You’ve got to be in there to win, you’ve got to be so competitive.
“You’ve got to be in there to hurt as well, because if you don’t do that, they’re going to be doing it.
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“It’s all nice guy before the fight for me, but once we get in there, and I’m sure he’s going to be no different, it’s fight or flight.
“It’s animal instinct and I live for those moments.”
How Garside taps into that animal instinct is something only the lightweight from Lilydale in Victoria knows, even if there isn’t an exact moment in time that built it up.
But as he explains, it’s not something that is exclusive to him.
“We’re all animals, that’s something we forget,” Garside said.
“Why do we have fight or flight response? Why do we have emotions? It’s because we’re animals. We don’t have control, we’re pretty irrational as humans.
“Once we get in there, it’s honestly animal instinct and I love that feeling, because at the end of the day, that’s all we are.”
It will have only been 35 days between Garside’s last fight against Maneur Matet and Wednesday night against McFerran in a remarkably short turnaround that is seldom seen in combat sports and with little time to gain any information on his opponent’s style of fighting.
Against McFerran, Garside is fighting a Tasmanian prospect who has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
A victory over his next foe is unlikely to send shockwaves through the nation barring a stoppage, but for Garside, he must win to ensure he sticks to his two-year plan that includes the loftiest of ambitions that would make him an undeniable boxing legend in Australia.
“I’m just focusing on this fight, but at the same time I want to keep progressing in my career and I want to have at least two, maybe three fights before the year’s out after this one,” Garside said.
“I want to progress my career, I want to be fighting for world titles in the next two years.
“Whatever they (management) want me to do, I’ll pretty much say yes, providing I’m injury-free.”
To date, Garside’s professional boxing career has solely been on Australian soil.
But to maintain the upward trajectory of his career, Garside knows that at some stage he will have to take his gloves overseas, even if he is as true blue as they come.
“I’d love to fight internationally,” Garside said.
“I’m the most patriotic man in this world, I love this country with all of my heart. Representing this country is still my proudest moment to date, but I want to take my professional career overseas because I want to win world titles overseas and bring them back home and pack out stadiums in Australia.”
When that first fight overseas will take place remains to be seen, but there isn’t going to be an exact moment that Garside and his team know it’s time to hop on the plane for a bout.
But much like his rapid turnaround between recent fights, it should come as no surprise that Garside would be more than willing to take an international fight with minimal notice.
“Any opportunity that gets thrown my way, I’ll most likely say yes,” Garside said.
“If it’s a fight next week in Vegas, great. If it’s a fight in a couple of months in London, fantastic.
“It’s just going to progress my career forward.”