30/05/2024

Ralph Etienne returns to action on May 8 against Kirra Ruston in Logan - Image: No Limit Boxing/Facebook, Design: Theo Dimou

Born in Haiti, raised on the streets of Paris, fighting out of Sydney. It’s fair to say that heavy-hitter Ralph Etienne (2-0, 2 KOs) is well-travelled, to put it mildly.

Although he has laid his hat in the far corners of the globe, the boxing ring is where he feels most at home. More specifically, it is when the lights are on, punches are flowing and cameras are rolling that he feels most satisfied.

In the only two bouts of his professional career to date, Etienne has showcased his talent on television. His debut, a powerful third round knockout, in the more intimate setting of Sydney’s Hoops Capital was followed by the chance to fight in one of Australia’s more famed boxing arenas.

The 25 year old has been left yearning to recapture the buzz created by competing in front of a national audience, ever since.

“The first time I was on TV, I felt a little bit of pressure,” Etienne told The Inner Sanctum.

“The second time, I was boxing in the Horden Pavillion in front of maybe 3 000 or 4 000 people, maybe more, and I felt in my place.

“I like it. You work for that.”

Etienne’s journey taking a turn towards the nation’s television screens was far from a planned one, however.

After leaving Haiti at age four with parents searching for improved circumstances, the family found their way to the outskirts of Paris. Yet it was in France’s historic capital that a young man gravitated to the streets above all else. The hopes of a better life that brought him to the city flamed out, replaced by anti social pastimes.

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Like so many that have gone before him though, Etienne found boxing in this moment. The sweet science became an outlet to stem the tide of the wayward ways of his youth.

Soon, the dreams of fighting fame started to awaken.

“I gave some problems to my parents. Now I’ve learned from my mistakes,” Etienne said.

“I started training in France. The first time I started training was when I was 15 years old, but just for two months. After that, I would go back to the streets. 

“I was having a lot of problems in the street. I don’t know when I came back to the boxing, maybe when I was 18. After one year, I started to fight and that’s it, I kept going.

“I said, ‘you can do something in boxing. Not just in France, but in the world. Try it.’”

With a fiery ambition burning brightly inside, Etienne will have his third televised outing when he meets debuting amateur standout, Kirra Ruston on the third instalment of the Premier Boxing Series on May 8.

Set for four rounds, the contest looms as an interesting clash of styles. On paper, it appears that the power punching of Etienne will have to find a way though the defenses of the slick moving former Australian champion and international representative.

Such a challenge appears even steeper when the amateur credentials of the pair are sat side by side.

“I had maybe 19 or 20 fights in the amateurs. After, I came to Australia and trained,” he said.

“My transition to professional is like a natural transition, because in amateur, my style is already like a professional. I didn’t have a lot of amateur fights, just a lot of sparring. A lot, a lot of sparring. You need to get (that type of) experience.”

While the task at hand may seem a steep hill, Etienne believes he can climb it. At the very least, he is excited to try.

Having the lights, cameras and eyeballs upon him is one thing. Stepping between the ropes, knowing that the opponent will make him earn every inch of success, is what the Haitian finds most invigorating about the fight game.

“When I saw him, I said ‘oh s**t, it’s gonna be a good war,'” he concluded.

“I like the war. I want the war. When I’m boxing, hard boxing, I feel alive. I don’t know why, but I like it. That’s crazy.

“I’ve got no pressure. It’s going to be a good fight. I think I’m gonna win and I’ve worked for that.” 

Etienne vs Ruston forms part of Premier Boxing Series show on May 8, airing live on 7Plus.

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