Derry fighter calls for pro boxing to be allowed back in the city

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Sean McGlinchey has called for the powers-that-be to re-evaluate his home city of Derry and allow for pro boxing to return Foyleside

Pro fighting has not taken place in the city for over 34 years – a card headlined by Derry legend Charlie Nash. However, a tightening of medical guidelines have left the city without any suitable venues that are close enough in proximity to a Radiology and MRI Department – the nearest being in Belfast.

Therefore, past Derry stars such as Eamonn O’Kane and Paul McCloskey have fought in acceptable locations such as Lavey and Letterkenny respectively.

McGlinchey, who is hoping to turn pro in the very near future, believes that this needs to change to allow pro boxing to prosper in the city.

The Oak Leaf fighter told Irish-Boxing.com that “there are two things that Derry’s missing – somebody to take up charge and become a pro coach, because there are loads of good coaches in Derry, and the council or government need to get the issue sorted of having pro shows in Derry.”

“There are pro boxers coming out of Derry and they always have to travel to Belfast, but it would be a good thing to keep things local. You always want to box in your home city. It’s the second biggest city in Northern Ireland and we can’t hold a thing, but they can hold MMA professional shows? I think [allowing pro shows] would boost the boxers of Derry’s chances of turning over.”

“There’s so many clubs and so many good boxers, wee Brett McGinty is going to the World Championships with the Irish team, there’s loads of up-and-coming boxers but no pro pathway.”

Describing the problems faced by fledgling Derry pros, the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist explained that “obviously if you want to make it you have to put the effort in, but when you look at the people from Belfast, they don’t have to travel far [for pro shows], it’s ten minutes down the road. For Derry fans you’ve your bus, your ticket for the fight, maybe a hotel – it’s not like going on a night out and buying a ticket, rocking up, and heading home, everything is more expensive.”

“When you come from Derry, you’re always travelling, whether it’s going to all-Irelands, to train with the Irish team, or for the pros, it’s always Dublin or Belfast.”

Current pros in the city include Connor Coyle and John Cooley, who are based in Florida, and Tyrone McCullagh, who boxes out of Belfast.

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