Doctor's orders: 'Raging Bull' pulled from fight night
UPDATE, 10AM: South Grafton boxer Eddie Debono is a last minute withdrawal from the Grafton Fight Night at the Clarence River Jockey Club this Saturday night.
The 36-year-old 'raging bull' was set to take on Woodburn's Tyler White for the recently reclaimed North Coast Super Heavyweight Championship belt.
Debono has struggled through medical examination after medical examination in the lead up to the fight and in a final examination yesterday the fighter was advised by doctors to remove himself from the card.
Debono posted on his social media account apologising to the many friends and family members who were excited to see him fight once more.
"Not everybody knows my battles and the things I struggle with medically," the post read. "One person that doesn't [sic] know is my doctor and he refused to clear me in my final medical before the fight!
"Physically I'm fighting fit and still punching hard but concerns were raised and I was removed. I'm sorry to those who were looking forward to watching this fat old man throw a few."
The Daily Examiner will continue to follow the story as it unfolds further, as well as previews with the remaining boxers on the card.
But the "raging bull" has a heart the size of a melon.
And when the bell rings for the first round the South Grafton's canvas veteran starts to move as if a switch has been flicked.
It is the passion for the gloves ingrained in his heart which has him circling his prey, throwing quick jabs into thin air as if a conductor of a silent, violent orchestra.
The veteran of the local ring took pride and place in the heavyweight bout on the card when boxing first made its long awaited return to Grafton rings in 2001 after a quarter-century hiatus.
Now, Debono will again strap the wrists, slip the hands into his well-worn gloves, and duck between the ropes to entertain local boxing fans in what will be his farewell fight as boxing makes a comeback to the local spotlight.
Debono will fight out of the corner opposite Woodburn's Tyler White with more than just pride and passion on the line as they fight for the recently reclaimed North Coast Super Heavyweight championship belt at the Clarence River Jockey Club this Saturday night.
It will be the first fight in about four years for the 36-year-old former local league heavyweight and with retirement of the ring looming after the final bell, Debono plans to go out of the sport the same way he came into it.
"Old age and injuries have kept me from the ring, I am just struggling," he said.
"I am excited to get back in there. It will be my farewell fight so I plan on going out swinging either way.
"Win or loss I will be happy either way."
While the gold will be on the line, Debono said it did not add extra pressure as his doctor has made up his mind for life post-fight.
"I had enough trouble getting the doctor to clear me for this," he said.
"Having the title on the line doesn't make it any more pressure for me, I am happy to win and I am happy to lose as long as I put in a good fight.
"My hands just don't serve me very well any more so this is definitely it."
The ring veteran will give up a lot of things to his Woodburn opponent, most notably age and height, but there is one key factor in his corner.
"I definitely have him for weight, which is not always an advantage," he said.
"I have plenty of weight there behind the punch. The only time I have struggled is actually getting it to land, but if it lands it will hurt. I'm a puncher's chance in the fight."
While in the past Debono would come out swinging from the start, he said he had grown wiser in his older age and would take a measured approach to the weekend's title bout.
"I have lost the bull these days," he said. "I am a little bit smarter than that.
"I am just going to wait and watch and make my decisions.
"I will start with the one-two and move off that.
"I will see how his reaction is to being punched and then I will work from that."
GRAFTON FIGHT NIGHT: Gates open at the Clarence River Jockey Club at 2pm, Saturday with fights expected to begin from 2.30.
Tickets are still available from Grafton Amateur Boxing Club tonight 4.30-6.30pm or at the gate on the night.