Austin masters world champion in first bout in 26 years

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Sixty one-year-old at home in the ring

HE might be 61 and just had his first official boxing bout in 26 years, but Garry Austin has showed he has lost none of his trademark polish and power.

The long-time Bendigo boxing mentor made short work of his official in-ring return at last weekend’s 2017 Victorian Masters Championships, earning victory with a first-round stoppage of reigning world 75kg masters champion Graham Prowse.

The contest ended with Prowse taking a standing eight-count.

Austin, who has devoted the years since his last fight in 1991 to mentoring young boxers in Bendigo and Shepparton, said he could not have been prouder with the win.

“I never really got started – I felt I was only just starting to warm-up in that first round,” he said.

“I didn’t want to get too warmed up early because I didn’t know how the adrenaline would affect me, whether it would zap me or not.

“But it was like being back home, being in the ring.

“There was never any doubt – (the fight) went exactly how I thought it would.”

The victory over Prowse, who captured his world title in February 2016 in Kansas City, boosted Austin’s amateur record to 103 wins from 111 bouts.

His prowess as a youngster earned him selection in the Australian Commonwealth Games team in 1978, before he was controversially omitted.

Austin credited his mentoring of emerging Bendigo boxers like two-time state champion Jake May as one of the main reasons for competing again.

“I’m not getting any hard knocks while working with the kids – if I was sparring hard with them than you wouldn’t be able to do it,” he said.

“I like to do the light work in the gym and have a hard fight on the day.”

With a dearth of opponents in his age division, Austin said his next bout would likely be against a boxer aged up to 10-years younger than him.