Firefighter takes home world champion title after boxing ring return

Declan McAvoy, based at Lowestoft South, won boxing gold at the World Firefighter Games 2022.

Declan McAvoy, based at Lowestoft South, won boxing gold at the World Firefighter Games 2022. - Credit: Mick Howes

A Lowestoft firefighter has been crowned a world boxing champion after his return to the ring lasted just two rounds.

Declan McAvoy claimed gold at the World Firefighter Games in Portugal in his first bout since leaving the sport as a teenager.

The 30-year-old stopped opponent Moisés da Graça just minutes into their clash in Lisbon earlier this month.

He said: "The whole event went really well and was a great spectacle, much more than just stepping into a boxing ring.

Declan McAvoy, based at Lowestoft South, won boxing gold at the World Firefighter Games 2022.

Declan McAvoy, based at Lowestoft South, won boxing gold at the World Firefighter Games 2022. - Credit: Mick Howes

"I was surprised by how big it all was - it took over the whole of Lisbon.

"I flew over early to do a bit of training and sparring so I was able to see the opening ceremony, and more and more athletes kept arriving over the week.

"With boxing being the second last day I was lucky to get to experience all of it."

Mr McAvoy, son of former Norwich City assistant manager Frankie McAvoy, returned to the ring after saying he had "unfinished business" after giving up the sport to sign a professional football contract in Scotland as a teenager.

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The Lowestoft South-based firefighter settled in East Anglia after visiting his father, before embarking on a career with local teams including Great Yarmouth Town.

Declan McAvoy, based at Lowestoft South, won boxing gold at the World Firefighter Games 2022.

Declan McAvoy, based at Lowestoft South, won boxing gold at the World Firefighter Games 2022. - Credit: Mick Howes

He said: "I felt like I was at home again as soon as I stepping back into the ring.

"I knew it was fight time.

"On the day it was a straight final for the gold after a couple of boxers missed the weight and a couple more pulled out, so I was up against a Portuguese boxer in front of his home crowd.

"I didn't want to leave anything in the judges hands and I was able to stop him in the second round."

Mr McAvoy will now line-up alongside colleagues from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to take part in the Emergency Services Football League European Championship in Spain, but says it's boxing where his heart lies.