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Irish title fight no distraction for Feargal McCrory ahead of ring return

Feargal McCrory [8(3)-0] has an Irish title fight in the pipeline but isn’t allowing himself to take his eye off the ball.

The Coalisland super featherweight has been mandated to face reigning BUI Celtic champion Stephen McAfee for the vacant 130lbs belt on November 24th but will first fight this coming Saturday in Dublin.

McCrory boxes for the first time in eight months on the Assassin ‘Rise Again’ card at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght and pledges that this is his sole focus.

While his six-round fight with Nicaraguan Brayan Mairena could be considered by some as a ‘rust shaker’ or a ‘warm-up’ bout ahead of a title clash with McAfee, McCrory isn’t getting ahead of himmself.

‘Fearless Feargal’ explained to Irish-Boxing.com that “it doesn’t affect me whatsoever.”

“I haven’t given it [the Irish title fight] any thought at all – except when people ask me about it.”

“That’s not being disrespectful to McAfee, I have a job to do before then and this has been my sole concentration.”

“I’m not worried about cuts, injuries or anything other than a big performance and the win. I’m not taking my eye off the ball for a second, anything can happen in this sport.”

McCrory last fought in February, winning a fire-fight versus Rafael Castillo.

However, injury saw him miss out on a date in April while Ryan Burnett’s lack of fights in Belfast this year has also kept McCrory less active than he would have liked.

The 26-year-old admits that “this year has been very frustrating in terms of fights but we’ve stayed focused and trained away to stay in some sort of shape while waiting on dates.”

“I learned a lot about the sport this year, good and bad.”

And so McCrory will journey south for his first professional fight in Dublin.

A multi-time amateur champion in the underage ranks, the Tyrone fighter is familiar with Dublin and described how he has “great memories” of the city.

“I love Dublin. I love the city and the Dublin people are one of a kind.”

“I’ve had many fights in Dublin and spent a lot of time on Irish teams down there. I haven’t boxed there as a pro but I’ve had lots more fights there during the amateurs than I’ve had thus far in my whole pro career.”

Central American Mairena [10(4)-2(1)-1] will be in the opposite corner this weekend, a late replacement for his countryman Sergio Gonzalez.

While smaller than McCrory, Mairena built up a strong record in his homeland before recently relocating to Europe. His first fight on this side of the world saw him stopped in the seventh round by Matchroom starlet Gamal Yafai and McCrory is not underestimating the challenge posed.

The John Breen-trained fighter noted how “I know on paper he could well be my hardest opponent.”

“He has a decent record amd will be a very proud fighter so this is far from a routine tick-over fight.”

“John has had a good look at him and given me the gameplan – if I execute it then it will be a good night’s work, if I don’t, it will be a tough, hard fight. John has told me he is a good boxer and very fit so good luck to him.”

“I’m excited to get back to business and get the momentum built up again.”

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


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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