IT may have between 20 months since he had stepped foot into the boxing ring, but you wouldn’t have thought that was the case for Bomaderry boxer Mark Lucas on Friday.
After hanging up the gloves and coming out of retirement in the space of a couple of months of each other, Lucas, a former Australian Commonwealth Games representative, took on Rocky Jerkic at the Hordon Pavillion – a fight he’d been preparing months for.
“Being back in the ring felt surprisingly comfortable – it almost felt like I never left,” Lucas said.
“In the early rounds, it took a little for me to get my timing right but once that returned, I thought Rocky and I really went to for toe.”
Unfortunately for Lucas though, Friday wasn’t as successful as he would have liked, with him losing the eight round bout, fought at a catch weight of 74kg, on a split-decision.
“Rocky really put the pressure on me from the outset, as he was really slick in his movements, making it hard to land any clean hits on him,” Lucas said.
“On top of that, I had to be careful of his dangerous counter moves.
“Unfortunately for me, he knocked me down with a big left in the third round – which probably cost me.
“After I got up, I felt like I was more switched on and the fight really went back and fourth – as I really pressed for action.”
After the final bell rung, Lucas admitted he didn't know which way the fight, his 10th professional bout, would go.
“Due to the knock down in the third, I was unsure which way the judges would go,” he said.
“Unfortunately, because of that incident, Rocky won that round 10-8, instead of the regular 10-9 – which cost me in the end.”
In the end, judge John Cauchi awarded Lucas the fight 78-76 but Justin Kennedy (78-73) and Chalie Lucas (77-75) both went the way of Jerkic – taking his record to 17-1.
“Although I didn’t get the result I was after, I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the ring,” he said.
“Obviously I’m extremely disappointed to lose, as it’s not something I’m used to [it’s been seven years since Lucas last tasted defeat in this country and his first time as a pro] but there’s plenty of positives for me to take from the bout.
“Hardly anyone takes tough fights early on and in my eyes, I didn’t loss anything from going down in a split decision to Jerkic, as he is a super talented fighter.
“This was the type of fight I needed to answer the questions of where I’m at physically, mentally and in my desire – because I wasn’t even tired at the end of eight rounds.
“I can say with conviction, I’m back for the long haul, being more motivated than ever to improve and return to the winner’s circle – losing is never okay but learning is.”
Lucas and his coach Nudge Mieli will sit down in the near future, look at the tape and establish areas he can improve on ahead of his next bout.
“I’m always looking to improve and once we get another fight locked in – hopefully in early April – we will get back into camp and work harder than we have ever done,” he said.
If a fight doesn’t eventuate in April, Lucas’ next bout will more than likely be delayed until late June, with the expected arrival of his second child in May.