Graham McCormack [5(1)-0] was quick to come down from the high of winning in dramatic fashion on Saturday night to dedicate his the victory to the late Kevin Sheehy.
Beneath the blood that told the story of a surprise tough first round in Cork, beamed a cheeky smile as the Limerick fighter understood all too well he had just been in the kind of fight that makes him a neutral fan favourite while testing the hearts of his loyal following and infuriating trainer Eddie Hyland.
Seconds before the adrenaline-pumped light middleweight was talking so fast in his thick Limerick City accent that Dubliner Craig O’Brien’s other half thought he was a Bulgarian journeyman.
However, McCormack’s demeanour shifted after he began to give his post fight interview. A real sadness came over his face and tears threatened to fill his eyes as he paid tribute to the young talent whose was killed tragically in his home city as recently as last month.
“I just want to dedicate this win to Kevin Sheehy and his memory,” he told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I know that might not be much when you think about what has happened, but that win was for him. For his memory, his family and the people of Limerick. It’s a horrific things to happen and it’s been horrific for the the Limerick boxing community. It’s been horrific for the city, the boxing community as a whole and it’s just so tragic. I was talking to his father today and look I just want to say that win was for his memory.”
With the tributes paid and the path cleared for the second round stoppage defeat of Reyhan Todorov [4(2)-5(4)] to be explored the glint returned to the fighter;s eyes.
McCormack began to enjoy his new found status as an entertainer. Some would worry suggesting been in such an all action fight with a journey man may mean trouble awaits further down the line, yet’G Train’ believes he is not only made to be in such fights, but has the make up to win them.
“I am tough as nails, so anyone that gets in there with me will be in a fight – and I believe anyone. And against anyone I will do what it takes to win.
“I love it to be honest. Look when I turned over I didn’t do it with a big reputation behind me. I wasn’t this amazing amateur, but I love this game. I am tough, I am gritty, I like to throw punches and I think I am in entertaining fights. I think no matter who I fight it will be that way and I think stepping up it will be the same – and the one thing I’ll have is experience of these kind of fights.”
It might seem fanciful talk to some, but McCormack speaks from the heart and is honest.
Indeed, he never hides the fact he has been hurt and dropped in previous fights and he admits he lost the first round of a fight he was expected to win relatively easily at the Neptune Stadium.
However, he is keen to point out he always finds a way to win.
“Look I lost that first round. I am not going to lie and say I didn’t. He won that round and when I sat down I told myself to pick it up. It was hands up, walk him down and let him know I was there and it worked. I think he thought I would go into myself.
“He caught by surprise in the first round. He caught me flush on the nose and I was dazed, but he didn’t knock my senses out of me. I think he came out and tried to blow me out of there in the first round,” he explains before suggesting a former opponent [and Craig O’Brien’s opponent on the night] Radoslav Mitev was the reason behind his opponents fast start.
“I heard his corner shouting. I boxed Mitev last year and he was in the corner telling him to jump on me. I think he found out I was tougher than what they thought and once I got myself together I took over.”
“But look he caught me with a good couple of shots and I thought ‘fuck this’ I am going to war. I went back to the corner and Eddie told me to keep it long, but I knew I was hurting him. He was calling for low blows and that is always a sign. I knew he didn’t like the pace, one thing I have is a good work rate. Once I was warm I knew I could smoother him. I was hurting him with the jab and the back hand so I decided to push him back.”
The win was McCormack’s first stoppage victory and he believes a more calm approach in what looked a frantic second round allowed him to show the kind of weight his shots can have.
“I do have power, but I haven’t used it. I used it tonight and I think he came off me boxing, now aggressively boxing, when I put my hands up in the second round and relaxed I found the shots and they were hurting him.
“I am not saying I am Gennady Golovkin or anything, but I am aggressive and once I settle into things my power punches will come.”
Prior to the Leeside Revolution clash McCormack had name dropped fellow light middleweight Cillian Reardon and suggested a potential Dublin-Limerick clash was an ideal fit for Celtic Clash 9.
The Limerick City fighter still believes that is the case and although his promoters Boxing Ireland seem to have an number of options they may explore, that’s the clash McCormack wants.
“Hopefully myself and Reardan is next. I don’t know whats going to happen. I was talking to my management team and there are couple of options there, so I don’t know whats happening. Steve [Sharpe] and Len [Gunning] will tell me when we chat this week, but that’s a fight that makes sense and one I have mentioned. So why not? Again nothing against him I just think that is a fight that makes sense. It would be an unbelievable Celtic title fight. It definitely won’t be boring that is for sure.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)