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King of the Hall – James McGivern not planning on losing in “his” house

James McGivern [3-0] is adamant he won’t be defeated in his house this weekend.

‘The Natural’ fights for the fourth time as a pro this Friday night and is looking forward to some home comforts at the Ulster Hall, a venue he has never lost in.

The stylish southpaw says the intimate venue is to him what the Falls Park is Michael Conlan. Similarly, it’s a stone throw from his Ormeau Road home and fight fortress for him.

“I feel like the Ulster Hall is almost my home,” McGivern explained to Irish-boxing.com.

“It’s almost like the Falls Park with Mick, I live just around the corner and throw a stone from the boxing club and you’ll hit it.”

“Not to mention the numerous famous nights St George’s has had in the Ulster Hall. I’ve had a few memorable nights there myself. I’m unbeaten in the place and I fully intend to stay that way.”

Reflecting on his most memorable and favourite Ulster Hall moment, the European Youth and Commonwealth medal winner recalls his fondly remembered clash with Sean Duffy – a fighter who appears on the card, and a fighter he agreed to fight at the Feile before he fell through.

“My favourite? Of course, it has to be winning the 2017 Ulster Seniors before heading to Australia for the Commonwealth games. It was a real 50/50 fight people were torn between us when trying to predict it and I showed I was ready to step up to that elite level.”

A number of late pull-outs means, as of now, McGivern doesn’t know who is going to threaten his unbeaten Ulster Hall record on the Lewis Crocker and Padraig McCrory co-featured bill, not that the confident fighter is overly concerned.

“I’ve had a few last-minute pull-outs unfortunately but no matter who it is who steps in the ropes with me the result remains the same. It’ll just be another dominant win. I’m being put in with tough guys who are not here to lay down, but I’m thankful for that it will stand me in good stead going forward.”

With Conlan Boxing planning regular Belfast cards and the 23-year-old super feather being a talent of note keen to be active, Friday could prove another step along the path to cementing a longer term working relationship, something McGivern would more than welcome.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be on the two Conlan Boxing cards now. It was especially great to be on The Felie, surreal even.

“I love having Jamie as my manager and I have full faith in him. Not to mention the big daddy Conlon, John, John has taught me so much about boxing and life in general, so I really enjoy being part of it at the minute.”

McGivern fights down the card on Friday, he is building toward the spotlight, although come weigh in the day and throughout fight week in general you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Team McGivern are unmissable around the place in their matching fight apparel and while he hasn’t stationed above himself he reveals it is a deliberate display of intent and unity.

“Well, we all come dressed in the uniform. SB Sportswear always sorts us out with the best gear and I can’t thank him enough. I just like us all being together as a team and making sure everyone knows we are here and we mean business.”

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