PORTLAND—When Norway native Amelia Moore stepped into the boxing ring Saturday night, she knew what she had to do.
There was no other option, nor was their a doubt in her mind—she would emerge victorious. She had to—not for herself, but for her coach, Thomas Langley Sr., who was hospitalized at the time of Moore’s 15th match.
Moore’s win against Lindsay Kyajohnian at the Portland Expo during Saturday’s event put on by the Portland Boxing Club brings the 24-year-old’s record to 12-3. Moore says she went four rounds with Kyajohnian, calling her “a tough opponent” with “a really great jab.”
“I think my endurance could have been a little better but we’ve been through a lot of stuff with my head coach being in the hospital,” Moore modestly says by phone Sunday afternoon, noting that she dedicated the fight to Langley. “There was never any doubt what the outcome was going to be. I was there fighting for him, fighting for a purpose. [It was] driving me forward.”
On the way to the fight, Moore’s other coach and Langley’s son, Thomas Langley Jr., got a call from his sister in Maryland that his father was headed back to the Intensive Care Unit. Moore says her coach went in for routine hip replacement surgery at the beginning of the month followed by serious complications with blood clots and stomach and intestinal issues. Langley Sr. was moved out of the ICU for two days only to be brought back Saturday night.
This was Moore’s second fight without her head coach by her side, which she says was strange and emotional for her. Not to mention this was the largest venue she’s competed in with the biggest crowd, which stood at roughly 3,000, according to Bobby Russo, owner of the Portland Boxing Club.
“When we fight, you’re always battling yourself in your own mind, fighting your anger, your past or whatever you’re running away from. You just stand your ground,” Moore says, adding even though Langley wasn’t there with her physically, she kept him close in her heart during the match. “It gives you strength outside of yourself for sure.”
Even though Moore hails from Norway, she was considered the outsider for this fight since she now lives in Columbia, Md., and because Kyajohnian trains at the Portland Boxing Club. She wasn’t sure how the crowd would react to an out-of-towner winning, but it was positive.
“The energy was just fantastic, the crowd was really going,” Moore says. “I am really impressed with the outcome. My whole point was to come here, come home, leave them here remembering me … leaving them energized.”
After the fight, people came up to Moore, shaking her hand, asking for her autograph and photos and wanting to know her story. She was thoroughly pleased with the entire experience, thanking the Portland Boxing Club for putting on a professionally run show.
With her eyes set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio di Janeiro, Moore says this most recent win has helped give her exposure, especially since the fight was televised on WCSH Channel 6 and, more importantly, to gain experience. To see a video of the fight, visit www.wcsh6.com/story/sports/2014/11/17/boxstream/19189957/.
“The name of the amateur game is experience, experience to be able to turn pro and be well primed. It’s going to be a huge jump for me going in there,” Moore says about the Olympics qualifiers set for the middle of January in Spokane, Wash. Only the top 12 women from each of the three weight classes will be selected to make up Team USA.
“I need to get as much experience as a I can, stay in shape and learn to work with whatever I am thrown at in the ring so when I get there, I am not awestruck,” Moore adds.
On top of getting as much experience as she can under her belt, Moore is looking for sponsors to help with her training for the Olympics. She says Portland has a wonderful characteristic of being a big little town where people are supportive of boxing as a sport and are willing to help up-and-coming fighters. It’s not like that in Maryland and is a challenge she must overcome, and one she won’t shy away from.
“We’re trying to build a bigger resume and hope that the bigger companies will really endorse me,” she says.
To follow Moore’s journey to the Olympics, visit www.ameilamooreboxing.com.