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Ciaran McVarnock ready to put “difficult” 2016 behind him

Ciaran McVarnock [6(1)-0-1] has had a frustrating time in boxing recently.

Back in November 2015 the Belfast featherweight scored an impressively dominant win over Joe Beeden and it looked as if he was poised for big things in 2016.

Unfortunately the year turned into something of a nightmare for the hard-working New Lodge fighter who had just one contest – a facile one round knockout of Latvian Ruslans Berudminovs – and McVarnock would endure a difficult time throughout the tail-end of the year with personal issues and fights falling through.

Thankfully 2017 has started off brightly for the 24 year old who has linked up with MTK and will begin his year this Friday at the Devenish Complex in Belfast.

While recent times have been tough, McVarnock balances the positives and the negatives. Looking back, the Manchester-based pro told Irish-Boxing.com that “it’s been real hard, it’s been real frustrating, and I’ve had a real difficult time in and out of boxing.”

“But lately I’m able to focus and be injury free as I’ve got a great team behind me. I’ve improved massively. It’s been so hard to stay focused in the gym when you don’t have a fight date and have things going on outside of boxing but I’ve managed to keep my head down and learn as much as possible from Arnie [Farnell, coach].”

“Arnie is a fantastic coach and you will see on Friday night how much I have come on.”

Not only is his bout on the inaugural Ginley Promotions bill a return to the ring, it is also a return to his hometown after two years away, and the prospect of fighting in front of his home fans is special to ‘Bunty.’

“It means everything to me to be boxing in Belfast,” said McVarnock. “My friends and family don’t have to travel and that’s what means the most to me. Each and every single person that has bought a ticket from me, I can’t thank them enough. Deep down it really does mean the world to me and I really appreciate it.”

Facing McVarnock on Friday will by experienced Croat Antonio Horvatic [10(5)-31(8)], who he will box over four rounds in a rust-shaking bout. Rounds are what the Irishman desires, and he described how “I know he [Horvatic] hasn’t got a winning record, but that doesn’t mean anything. He can stand and fight when he wants, he’s a tough guy.”

“I by no means want to go in there and blast him out. If i can get all the rounds, which I desperately need, I’ll be happy. I’ve only had half a round in… well I can’t even remember it’s been that long!”

There’s a feeling that things are finally falling into place for McVarnock, and he outlined that “I have MTK behind me, Arnie as my trainer, the support of my friends and family, and I have three amazing sponsors that have helped me out so much: Composite Wood Co, CS Suppliers, and also Protein Kitchen – without them I wouldn’t have made weight so easy and that’s a huge part of boxing.”

“All of us as one team, I can see a busy and successful year ahead.”

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

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie