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Ciaran McVarnock “over the moon” following homecoming win

Following a tough 2016 in and out of the ring, there was a joyous return to the squared circle last night for Ciaran McVarnock [7(1)-0-1] in Belfast.

The Manchester-based pro has been unfortunate with inactivity for a long time, but looked sharp and fit against Antonio Horvatic on the inaugural Ginley Promotions card at the Devenish Venue on the Finaghy Road.

The featherweight swarmed his Croatian foe from the off, pressuring him for the entirety of the four rounds and taking a 40:36 points win.

It was a first fight in Belfast in two years and a first fight since last May. A delighted McVarnock said afterwards that “it was great. The only thing I wanted there was the rounds. I felt him wince a few times when I hit him to the body and Arnie [Farnell, coach] was telling me to jump in and attack him again and go for a second phase.”

“The only reason I didn’t go for a second phase was because I needed the rounds, I wanted the rounds. I’ve only had half a round in the last… I don’t know how long.”

“The next fight again I want the rounds because I want to start stepping up to six rounds.”

Inactivity hasn’t been the only issue which has affected McVarnock recently and he explained that “nobody knows this, but my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was falling out with the family while my dad was going through that hard stage. It’s not easy when you’re living in England and you’re away from family.”

“I couldn’t focus in the gym, I was forcing myself to go to the gym. As much as I want to box, I want to be with my family. It means everything, my dad, the bond we have is unbelievable, we’re so close, we’d talk five times a day. It broke my heart when I heard that news.”

“Now we’ve got through it and I’ve signed with MTK.”

The link-up with MTK will hopefully see the New Lodge man keep active – and hopefully feature plenty of fights at home. McVarnock outlined how “I’m looking to get out as soon as possible. I’m going to Marbella in a week, and I’ll be in the gym over there – and I’m not just saying that. I’ve been inactive for so long that I want to get used to fighting.”

“MTK have told me that I’m going to be fighting at home more often and that they’re going to be having shows, big shows and small hall shows, in Belfast this year. I’m just over the moon to be honest to be fighting at home.”

Elaborating on his desire for home fights, ‘Bunty’ continued by saying “I don’t want my friends and family – people say fans, but I don’t view them as fans, they’re just friends and family – travelling and spending their hard earned money for tickets and going over there [to England]. I sell a lot tickets here, I sell a lot of tickets in Manchester too.”

“I don’t care if it’s ticket deals or whatever, I’d fight for nothing. It’s not all about me, I don’t do it for myself. I do it for my girlfriend, my family, my sponsors.”

McVarnock is proudly sponsored by Composite Wood Co, CS Suppliers, and Protein Kitchen.

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