Cathal McLaughlin returned to the boxing gym this summer to get a beach body but came away with more than just a six-pack.
The Raphoe BC boxer now has a prestigious National Senior title to go with the holiday snaps he looks good in.
The middleweight, who has dipped his toe in and out of the sport for the last 10 years, returned to the Donegal Gym with fitness in mind, but upon quickly finding himself comfortable on the canvas thought he’d give the Seniors a swirl.
“Originally I started training to get myself shape for a holiday,” he begins when speaking to Irish-boxing.com. “I started sparring and getting good, so I said you know what ‘f*ck it’ I’ll just enter the seniors,” he adds before reacting to our disbelief.
“I was going to Portugal and I thought I’d get in shape and have a fight here and there. I started getting better and I said why not give it ago.”
McLaughlin gave it a real go, emerging from a stacked field with the title. He won four fights over a number of weeks beating tournament favourite TJ King in an entertaining decider.
“It’s a massive achievement. There was 20 entered at this weight. I doubted myself after I seen a couple of good lads had entered but I jumped in, trained for it and it paid off. I beat a few good lads on the way particularly the favourite to win it[TJ King] in the final.
“I stepped up in competition every time and by doing that I’m just getting better.”
One of two Raphoe champions – Danny Duffy won the bantamweight title – McLaughlin claims there was an element of the penny dropping to his game-raising performances.
The 75kg title winner says living clean paved the way to a title win.
“For years I was half training, drinking on the weekend, but now I’ve taken it more seriously and it just shows you it pays off. It’s not just people saying it for the sake of saying it. It really does pay off.”
An Elite move awaits the 27-year-old but he is unsure if that will be at the Ulster or National level next.
“The Sky’s the limit, maybe I’ll enter the Elites now. Maybe not the Irish Elites this year, but the Ulster Elites, we’ll see what happens. I just want to keep fighting because when I have a fight to train for I keep myself in good shape.”
Photo Credit Matthew Spalding.