John Breen predicts that win over Karl Kelly will springboard “level above” Feargal McCrory


Legendary trainer John Breen believes Feargal McCrory [9(3)-0] will use February 9th and his Irish lightweight title fight with Karl Kelly as a springboard to bigger things.

The Tyrone fighter has been threatening a break through for some time now, first impressing Eddie Hearn while fighting on Sky before rumours of promotional interest further afield developed.

However, after two fights on big cards in the SSE Arena in 2017 the popular 26-year-old’s 2018 didn’t play out as expected.

The fact Ryan Burnett didn’t trade leather in Belfast didn’t help and the Coalisland southpaw and this, along with injuries, restricted him to two fights on smaller shows, with a super featherweight Irish title fight with Stephen McAfee also failing to materalise.

However, experienced, respected, and loved Belfast coach Breen thinks this will be the year that McCrory will begin to leave a wider mark.

Indeed, McCrory himself as noted that 2019 will either make or break him and has set himself an ultimatum of either making major progress or retiring at the end of the year.

Breen described how “it will be good for Feargal to win the Irish title and go on to bigger things.”

“I think this fight will be springboard to bigger fights in the future. Feargal is a great wee boxer and he is getting better and better.”

Standing between ‘Fearless Feargal’ and the vacant Irish title one weight north of his natural class is Dubliner Kelly [2(0)-2(0)].

‘Little Sexy’, who has fought just one journeyman in a largely away corner career, has Breen’s respect – but the coach believes McCrory is a level above and will pass a tough test on an Ulster Hall bill that also includes James Tennyson, Paul Hyland Jr, Luke Wilton, Tommy McCarthy, Cathy McAleer and Mathew Fitzsimons v Alec Bazza.

The Breen Team chief, who trains McCrory alongside Eamonn Magee, outlined how “Kelly is a hard wee man who likes to come forward but I just think Feargal is a level above him.”

“It will be a tough fight but it is one that Feargal will win,” he predicted before revealing his admiration for the ticket-seller’s dedication.

“He lives in Coalisland and gets up to drive to work in Derry. He then leaves his work and comes and trains at my gym in Belfast. That’s why I love him because of his commitment and determination. He will go a long way because he has a great work ethic to go with his ability.”

Another of Breen’s fighters with a massive appetite for training and who also fights on the MHD show is Cathy McAleer. The former Kickboxing world champion fights for a second time as a pro boxer on a show that looks set to live up to it’s ‘Night to Remember’ billing and the Breen’s Gym boss has been so impressed he has backed her to win a world title.

“She is a very fit girl, a good wee boxer and Cathy hits hard. Cathy runs a gym in east Belfast and she trains three times a day before coming here for sparring. If some of my other fighters – like Eamonn Magee – had trained half as hard as Cathy and Feargal I would have been happy!”

“Cathy has been a world champion at karate and kickboxing and I believe she can win a world title at boxing.”

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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 sport for a living for 19 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