Unlike it does for most boxers the final bell doesn’t signify the end of the fight for Graham McCormack.
The battle outside the ring is constant for the Limerick native.
The ever-entertaining southpaw is in a better place than ever, having navigated his way through a period so hectic and troubled a film wouldn’t do it justice, you’d need a 10-season series.
However, that happiness is hard fought.
To reach a level of peace and a state of contentment that allows him to function, ‘G Train’ has to claim victory in his toughest battle, a battle he has to win every single day.
It may sound strange to those within the boxing family, particularly those who regularly see the Treaty county native’s cheerful disposition, but McCormack usually has to slay demons before breakfast and wrestle worries at various stages throughout the day.
The always jovial boxer, with a unique ability to win fan love and respect, may never win the war when it comes to his troubles but will never stop fighting to win the battles.
“Mentally is a big battle for me,” he tells Irish-boxing.com in honest fashion.
“Mentally I can be my own worst enemy. Some days I don’t want to even get out of bed, I don’t want to go to the gym. I don’t want to train, I don’t want to spar, I don’t want to be a boxer,” he continues before revealing that battle isn’t just boxing related.
“I don’t want to be a father, I don’t want to go to work. I get those days when I feel like absolute sh*t but those are the days as a man I have to tell myself to get up and do what I have to do.
“That’s a part of life that’s a part of being a man in my world. That’s a part of being a fighter, for me, no matter how you are feeling you have to get up and get things done.
“That’s my biggest battle. You could hit me with an iron bar and I’d keep coming at you. Everyone knows that about me, upstairs is my biggest battle. I’m not sure about other fighters but that is what I’ve to deal with as a fighter, as a father, as a husband, and as a friend, that’s my battle. Every day I fight these f*cking demons.”
The war may never be won but the Shaun Kelly-trained fighter is now able to win the battles. It’s hard work but it’s much better than the alternative.
“I’m able to deal with them a lot better than I could a couple of years ago. That’s why I was in and out of jail. That’s why I wasn’t able to deal with them. I’ve good people around me, my wife, kids, and a good circle of friends. It’s a lot easier to deal with but it’s still very hard. Life is hard.”
The fact he has to fight himself and his demons so regular makes fighting in the ring all the easier for a fighter who turned over as late as 30.
The Ian Gaughran managed fighter, who has entertained regardless of the level he has fought at, has faced much scarier walks than the one to the ring and has had more daunting foes than gloved ones.
“I turned pro at 30 after having a crazy life. Nobody expected me to do anything, people said I wouldn’t win a fight. Here I am 9-3, I’ve won a title, I’ve had four title fights and am in the frame to fight for another title,” the former BUI Celtic champion continues.
Having been in much darker places than the one fighters often find themselves in post-defeat, means the 36-year-old is also able to take his career setbacks in his strides.
“Life is hard. Life has humbled me more than anything. I can take a defeat on the chin. Even if you look at all the Craig McCarthy stuff at the end of the day it’s a defeat on my record, we get over it, go back to the gym and move on. We get back in the ring and fight.”
“I’m a fighter, that’s what we do we fight. I’ve been fighting all my life, that’s all I’ve known since day dot.”
That fight within is big for McCormack on more levels than one. Not only does he use it to keep in a good place outside the ring it’s something he brings proudly to all his fights. Indeed, it’s something the battle-hardened all action middle hopes people associate with his career.
“When I leave boxing that’s what I’ll be remembered for. That’s all I wanted when I came into this game was to be remembered as a fighter, people will say that’s ‘Graham McCormack, he took the best fights he could’. Who cares about the loss boxing, for me, is about getting in the ring and having a fight.”
It may not be obvious at first glance but deeper investigation may prove Munster maulers approach has had a positive impact on the domestic scene as a whole.
His stablemate Jamie Morrissey’s dive straight into domestic action and title fights seems to have inspired a domestic transformation – and the two-weight BUI Celtic champion has sighted ‘G-Train’ as an inspiration.
Although McCormack wonders if it’s just a Limerick thing.
“If I was a fighter who turned down fights or said no to fights I wouldn’t look at myself as a fighter. I would look at myself as an Instagram fighter and that’s just not who I am. You see Jamie [Morrissey], Vlad [Belujsky], Paddy [Donovan], Edward [Donovan] and all the boys here they’ll fight anyone. I think in Limerick we set a trend of ‘we don’t give a f*ck’ we fight. I’m grateful people look at me as that kind of fighter.”