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A Spike in Praise – Graham McCormack delighted to entertain in toughest test

He just did six rounds for the first time, won what was effectively an All Irish fight in front of a sizable audience, and moved in line for a BUI Celtic title shot, but the joy for Graham McCormack came from the fact that he entertained the crowd and Spike O’Sullivan in particular.

The Limerick light middle took another step along the career ladder on the highly entertaining ‘Clash of the Clans’ undercard increasing his profile, record, and chance of a title fight.

Yet, when reflecting on the get-up-off-the-floor points win over close friend and fellow Munster resident Jade Karam, he cared less about the win’s positive effect on his career and more about the positive effect it had on the sizable crowd.

There is a real purity to how the Boxing Ireland southpaw just see’s a game that is so often a cynical business first sport. McCormack just loves to fight and just loves the fact he can play some part in Irish boxing’s history.

“It was a good fight. People come to watch good fights and I think we gave an entertaining fight,” McCormack told Irish-Boxing.com whilst speaking as fast as Amir Khan throws punches.

“Look, myself and Jade sat down a couple of months ago and agreed to have a war. We agreed to give the fans something to talk about and we did. That’s what it is all about.”

“People are stopping me in there and saying ‘well done, what a fight’, ‘that was a great fight’, ‘you got me off my seat’. Come on man, that’s what I love to hear and that means more to me than anything,” he adds before suggesting praise from another Cork puncher made him feel like he had just won a title. 

“Then Spike O’Sullivan tells me it was a good fight and says well done. That made my night. That is massive for me. I am a big fan of Spike and when he said that I can only imagine the smile on my face.”

McCormack and Karam did entertain in a fight that once again proves domestic clashes – Karam is from South Africa but is now part of the Irish boxing family – are they way forward if you want to entertain.

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The fact he was dropped suggests he didn’t have it all his own way and the cut above his left eye, which was still seeping blood as he spoke, was evidence his opponent had success.

The TNT boxer admits he endured his toughest test to date and was full of praise for his opponent after.

“Hats off to Jade first off. He came and he gave me a great fight and I really enjoyed it.”

“I think I got the best of him. He told me that after the fight, which was nice of him and I was happy to hear. He has been around the block and he is a good fighter. He has been in with some good guys.”

“That was toughest fight to date. I took some big shots, landed some big shots and I really learnt a lot.”

It’s a good thing repetition is the art to learning because when pushed on what he did take for the fight McCormack cited back the same lessons as his previous bouts.

“I learnt to keep my hands up a bit more and be mindful of what can come back when you open up, box a bit more, don’t get too involved in the emotions of the fight and try use the gameplan for more rounds. Then again I said that about every fight.” he adds when realizing this is not his first post-fight Irish-Boxing.com interview.

Although there were some new lessons during this fight, and the southpaw singer’s post-fight hymn sheet did have a new tune.

When self-reflecting, the infectious character did take pride in the fact he did the six rounds at a high pace and faced down moments of adversity in just his fourth pro fight.

“This time I learnt a lot about my grit and determination. I am not going to lie I got tired, but at that point I told myself I had to dig deep and I feel I did,” he continued before expanding on the six round nature of the bout.

“I felt the last two rounds, I’ll be honest. I am fit, but it was a high pace fight and I did feel the last two. In saying that I am happy I turned it on in those rounds when tiredness was effecting me.”

Ironically, it was in the last two rounds that McCormack probably produced his cleaner work. That may have had something to do with Karam’s tiredness, but also the fact the Treaty County pugilist was more cautious as his foe loaded up.

His back foot boxing was impressive on occasion and he landed some clean three-shot combos, particularly in the last round.

When asked if he can’t get his enjoyment out of dominating with a more stylish a approach he responded, “I did box and land clean combos at time and that was the gameplan. I can enjoy that too and you feel like your looking good, but it’s just when your in there you can get mixed up.”

“When you’re caught or someone comes looking you can go macho and just say ‘okay let’s fucking have it,” he said before honestly discussing the knockdown.

“It caught me and I was slipping. It was called a knockdown and that’s what it was. I can’t take that away from him. I told you he would throw bombs. He landed big shots in the fight, but I wasn’t hurt at that point. I went down, but I wasn’t buzzed. I knew where I was and my legs were steady.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com