The Rio Olympic cycle is over and Irish boxing is looking towards Tokyo 2020.
Last night the IABA released their new Strategic Plan for 2017-2020 – but ‘Boxing Clever’ wasn’t the only thing unveiled at the National Stadium, we also got to see the new Sean McComb.
The Belfast light welter took on rough and ready Englishman Mason Smith in an international at the home of Irish boxing and gave probably the performance of the night, taking a unanimous decision win after three highly entertaining rounds.
McComb was said to have dazzled in his Bundesliga debut in Germany last week, and Irish fans got to see the full extent of his changes and improvements against Londoner Smith. The Holy Trinity man showed a vast range of punches with notable snap, as well as some eye-catching bodyshots, in a sharp display
McComb described the win to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards, and said “I knew he was going to come swinging with the right hand, so I just tried to move away from his right hand, use the hook and move him on to my right hand. So I just took his right hand completely out of the fight. He was launching in with it so I was able to pivot, turn off of it, and make him look bad. Once that got going a bit of frustration kicked in with him and he became a bit more wild which suited me more. I just had to keep the legs, keep moving side to side and then it just became my fight and my gameplan.”
Recalling his victory for BSK Hannover-Seelce, McComb noted how “I boxed well in Germany, very well, very similar to today actually. The opponent was a strong come-forward fighter and again I just used my legs, it’s one of the biggest aspects of the game and I used it well. I was able to stay on the toes and box. The judges and the journalists in the crowd were very happy with me.”
The six foot Ulsterman is loving boxing up at light welterweight after his successes at lightweight, and explained how “64kg is a lot more comfortable and I felt good. It’ll be good over Christmas. Now that I’m at 64kg I’ll be able to eat what I want and do what and still train through it all. I’m not going to be stuck in a bad mood, I’ll enjoy Christmas, a nice Christmas dinner and just enjoy good company with family and friends.”
Back enjoying his boxing, there was certainly something different about McComb. Perhaps it is being enforced due to a reduced height advantage at light welter, or maybe due to a potential pro career in the not-too-distant future, but the 24 year old was throwing bodyshots and combinations with weight.
He acknowledged the change in style and outlined how “I threw a couple of bodyshots in there and I think he felt them too. I could feel my glove sinking in and he felt them too. It looked good for the judges as well.”
“I’m trying to persuade the judges a wee bit more now rather than all just headshots. I want to let the judges know I’m not just all about box and move and move and bore the life out of people.”
“I like giving the audience a bit of entertainment. I do think about it. Every year in the Seniors I haven’t had one boring fight. David Oliver Joyce with me has always been a close, good fight, entertaining, [George] Bates as well. The crowd love that, and I love that, I get excitement from that too.”
“At the same I shouldn’t be doing it, but what I’ve started to do now, and you saw it today, I’m going to win the first two rounds first of all, get that over, get that in the bag, and the give the crowd their excitement and go in and go toe-to-toe with people.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show