With the Ulster fighters’ respective opponents pulling out at late notice, the super middleweights agreed to face off and put to bed the controversy of their shared past – with McCrory coming out on top following an all-out war.
The pair had exchanged victories in the amateurs, with McCrory’s 2014 Ulster light heavyweight title win being followed by a controversial Commonwealth Games box-off win for eventual Glasgow bronze medallist McGlinchey.
With this in mind, there was a certain degree of animosity between the pair ahead of a fight which always seemed likely, although not this early, with McCrory feeling particularly aggrieved
It was a war from the off, with McGlinchey starting aggressively, swinging in shots. The longer McCrory walked the Foylesider onto a huge right hand but southpaw McGlinchey then stiffened his opponent’s legs with a number of swarming short lefts.
McCrory pushed ‘Mummy’s Bhoy’ to the ropes at the start of the second. Boxing orthodox, McGlinchey was struggling to get his shots off before trading big right hands with his St James’s rival.
McGlinchey, who had not fought in 16 months, pressed at the start of the third, walking into a straight right hand from ‘The Hammer’. The pair both looked tired, with the furious pace and nervous energy taking its toll. McCrory was offering the more consistent work but McGlinchey landed with an eye-catching flurry midway through the stanza before a strong finish from the home fighter, sinking in a hook to the body followed by a clean shot upstairs in the dying seconds.
The pair met at centre-ring to begin the final round, trading shots before McCrory stood back and rammed home a pair of strong right hands. Midway through the round the bout swung dramatically with McGlinchey hitting the canvas heavily, a delayed reaction following a chopping left hand. The Maiden City man rose and, while on wobbly legs, withstood numerous clean shots to see the final bell.
Going to the scorecard McCrory was confirmed a 40-35 winner, avenging his amateur heartbreak.
The popular Belfast man moves to 5(2)-0, while McGlinchey, whose stock rises following his gallant performance, drops to 2(0)-1(0).