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James McGivern’s very real imaginary fight

Most fighters wait until a title is on the line before they actually make the weight they claim to be campaigning at, not James McGivern [2-0], he did it without even having a fight to cut for.

The Belfast super feather took the show must go on mentality to a different level after his last fight was postponed.

The clash was cancelled but camp wasn’t.

The young prospect and his team decided to go through the rigours of training camp and follow the laid out plan right up and until what should have been fight night. So when others on the canceled card were rushing to break the diet and indulge in their favourite treat it was back to training for the Belfast prospect.

Indeed, despite having seeing the May 15th fight fall through, ‘The Natural’ still made weight on May 14th.

“Between myself, my father, Stuart and Paddy Joe, we decided that we were gonna trail doing a water load to make weight,” he explains to Irish-boxing.com.

“We had originally planned to do it after the first fight but Covid got in the way and when the fight got canceled we thought ‘now is the perfect time’. I would have been starting it around then anyway so we felt we may as-well finish the camp out and see what happens.”

It wasn’t a case of going through the motions for the southpaw, he had to hit all the pre laid out markers and literally trained as if he was going into battle.

“We literally finished a full camp right down to the specifics. Everything was done exactly the way a fight camp would be done. If this fight had of happened nothing would have been different.

“Stuart [McKeating] from Bia had everything laid out and ready to go, every tiny detail and it ran as smooth as you could imagine. He cut out the hard part of making weight right down to one day. He flipped the script of making weight literally,” he adds before revealing the unique and professional project didn’t end after weight was made.

“We had the time frame set up exactly like fight night and even ran tests while cutting the weight to see my numbers and then the next day ran the same test after my refuel to see what effects the weight cut had on my body. Honestly, if I had if fought I would have been there on fire it would have been a great performance.”

McGivern made 59kg [130lbs – super featherweight] for the first time in three years and now has the blueprint needed to make the cut when it matters. The emerging talent also has the confidence and comfort that comes with knowing the super-feather limit is not just achievable but that he can make it refuel and feel strong. It’s not a case of fingers cross come title time.

“I know I can make the 59kg mark easy now. I had to move up to 64KG while I was an amateur for the European Games because of the Olympic weight change. I hadn’t been below 60kg for like 3 years. So we ran that to be sure we can make it comfortable and we know we can now. I’ll be the one to watch at super-featherweight.”

McGivern didn’t just follow his pre fight plans to a tee, he also stayed true to his planned post fight celebrations, which included some hot tub pizza.

“Me and my other half had actually booked a night away for after the fight, so we even mimicked that part as well! There was a pizza and a hot tub and everything that goes with it!.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com