On This Day: British light-middleweight cult hero Jamie Moore was born

James Slater pays tribute to one of Britain's favourite fighters

IT is with great relief to Jamie Moore, to his friends and family and to his fans, that the southpaw slugger from Salford can today celebrate his 36th birthday. As most fans will be aware, Jamie suffered a shocking and terrifying gunshot attack back in August in Spain, with Moore being shot in the leg and in the hip. Moore felt he was going to die but thankfully he pulled through.

A fantastically determined fighter in his day, Moore is one of the best British fighters of recent years never to challenge for a world title. Turning pro in October of 1999, when he stopped Clive Johnson inside two-rounds at Bowler’s Arena in Manchester, Moore would soon become a fan favourite. Much has been written about the great nights “Mooresy” treated the fans to: his classic rubber-match with archrival Michael Jones, his astonishing war with friend Matthew Macklin (who Jamie now trains of course) and his slugfest with another good pal in Ryan Rhodes.

Jamie had a tough road in reaching such important fights though.

Early setbacks came, first against Scott Dixon, and then, after capturing the Commonwealth and British titles with a points win over Jones (their first fight in the trilogy), against Ossie Duran. Then, in one of the lowest moments of his career, Moore was disqualified in the third round of his rematch with Jones. Losing his Commonwealth and British belts in consecutive fights was a tough blow, but Moore came roaring back to gain revenge over Jones and regain his British crown in epic style.

The two light-middleweights traded four knockdowns in the final fight of their series, with Moore coming out on top via stoppage in the sixth round of a barnburner. Moore later said the sheer relief he felt at the time of his victory was incredible. Now looking for big and well deserved paydays, Moore took aim at European and world honours.

Just over a year after his second win over Jones, Moore would engage in yet another thriller; this one arguably the finest of his career. Jamie met Macklin in September of 2006 and the two warriors gave everything they had in a fight that is often mentioned today whenever pundits speak about great British fights. Back and forth went the action, until a badly tiring Macklin was sent crashing with a two-punch combination to the head in the 10th round. It may be a number of years before we see a better domestic showdown.

Moore was by this stage of his career hungry for the ultimate: a shot at a world title. Sadly for the now 24-3 contender, the title shot would never come. Good wins over the likes of Sebastian Andres Lujan and, in a rematch of an earlier win, Andre Facey came, but still there was no world title shot on the horizon. However, in March of 2009, Moore grabbed the vacant European title with both hands. Stopping experienced former IBF welterweight champ Michele Piccirillo inside just three rounds Moore, again displaying his savage body work, looked to be at his absolute peak.

Instead, and quite surprisingly, Jamie would win just one more bout.

A retention of the European title came in the form of a quick stoppage of Roman Dzhuman, before Moore would lose to Rhodes in yet another give and take battle. Frustratingly for Jamie, this fight, a WBC light-middleweight title eliminator, would be the closest he ever came to challenging for a world title. He and Rhodes put it all on the line and the action, as we had by this stage come to expect from a Moore fight, was mesmerising.

One more fight followed the seventh round TKO defeat, a loss to Sergey Khomitsky in April of 2010. But in that sixth-round corner retirement, fans saw Jamie Moore in name only; his hard fights and the rigours of making weight having robbed him of his steely determination and sheer guts.

Retiring with a fine 32-5(23) record, and resisting the temptation to make a comeback, Jamie is now a respected pundit on Sky Sports. Not to mention a burgeoning trainer. Maybe, as a coach, he can win the world title that eluded “Mooresy.”

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