Pádraig McCrory enters the pro ranks this year knowing that every day counts.
The talented Belfast boxer was a fixture on the Ulster scene over the past few years, and looked like a contender for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. However the light heavyweight feels he has been stung twice before and, at 28, he couldn’t risk sticking in the amateurs.
Therefore he has signed up to be part of Kieran Farrell’s Belfast revolution and will debut later in the year.
The former Gleann ABC and Holy Trinity BC man had a frustrating time in the vest. While he won the 2014 Ulster final, he was then forced to rematch Sean McGlinchey [another Kieran Farrell signing] in a box-off for a spot on the Commonwealth Games team. He would lose the fight while Derry’s McGlinchey would go on to win bronze in Glasgow. The following year he would lose to Ryan Donnelly in the Ulster final, a decision he disputes and, by then, he was at the end of his tether.
Explaining his reasoning for going pro, McCrory told Irish-Boxing.com that “I had two options – try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games, or go pro – but I just lost faith in the Ulster Board after the fiasco of 2014 over selection, and my decision in the 2015 final. I couldn’t risk it as time is precious
“I feel my amateur achievements didn’t match my ability. I took five years out when I turned 20, and I didn’t start even until I was 15. But still, I’ve won 4 Antrim, 4 Ulster, and an Ulster Elite title. I’ve also had the joy of captaining Ulster teams on numerous occasions.”
In the pros, as mentioned, McCrory will be promoted by Kieran Farrell along with eight other Irishmen signed up recently. In terms of training, the experienced puncher has linked up with Dee Walsh and Ray Ginley at the new Immanuel Boxing Academy.
Pro ambitions had always been harboured by McCrory, and he feels that he now has the right team behind him. The Ulsterman described how “pro boxing has always been a desire of mine so I’ve always thought about it. I’d seen Kieran sign a few Irish lads recently and what’s he looking to do sounds exciting, so it made my mind up. Ray and Dee are building an exciting stable and, when I made my mind up about signing, they were the first people I thought of. They have a lot of fresh ideas and big plans.”
McCrory promises silky skills when he steps into the pro ring, indeed his promoter has already made an impressive comparison. McCory described how “my style is to be a counter puncher, but sometimes I get drawn into fights so I will need to learn to keep to my strengths. My promoter Kieran watched me spar the other day and made the comparison to Roy Jones Jr, but I’ve never really thought of anyone [to compare himself to]. I’m going to watch a lot of Callum Smith and try to pick up a few tips.”
When these skills will be on show will be announced soon, with McCrory set to feature on Farrell’s second show in Belfast this Summer, the date and venue of which will be confirmed in the coming days. Before debut day however, the West Belfast man has another big day, outlining how “I’m getting married on 25th March so that’s my first plan, and I’m really looking forward to it followed by a three week honeymoon to the States.”
“My first goal as a pro is just to get the debut over me then take each fight as it comes… but I could already name a few exciting domestic dust-ups.”
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: