Feargal McCrory [11(5)-0] knows all too well how low boxing can bring you and now wants to experience the kind of highs the fighters he came up did in their career.
Like a lot of fighters in his era the 30-year-old, who turned over young, has had a number of peak and troughs over his career.
However, unlike the likes of European title winner James Tennyson, or European title challenger Paul Hyland Jr, fighters he was once building beside, the Tyrone man has yet to have his moment under the brightest of lights.
He did win the Irish title and fight on Matchroom cards – but he never got the potentialy career-changing British level fight he was closing in on when Eddie Hearn took an interest whilst promoting Ryan Burnett in Belfast.
Indeed, ‘Fearless’ hasn’t graced the ring in over three years, something he changes stateside tonight.
The undefeated super featherweight faces Texan Cesar Afredo Cantu [3(1)-4(0)-1]in a scheduled six-rounder at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, located at 317 Clermont Ave. in Fort Greene, Brooklyn – and returns harbouring good time ambitions.
“It makes me feel old. Some great lads (have retired),” he told Kevin Byrne of the Rocky Road podcast when asked about some of the fighters he used to share cards with.
“James Tennyson, not only the ring but outside of it, James as a person is brilliant. A lot of young fighters should look at James and use him as an example. Whether it’s on camera or off camera, he treats everyone with respect.
“Marco McCullough was the same. Great lad, we shared the gym in John Breen’s for a number of years and I learned a lot from Marco’s sparring. Paul Hyland too, I’m not sure what he’s doing. Our generation is definitely moving on. Ryan Burnett, an unbelievable fighter, he got up to world level and excelled at it.
“They’ve all reached great highs and some lows, but I want to see what my highs are.”
Now 30, McCrory admits he is making a last roll of the dice and will see his ring return as a high in itself.
The Tyrone southpaw moved to America in the wake of his Irish lightweight title win over Karl Kelly back in 2019.
There were whispers of a Top Rank deal but the pandemic intervened, cancelling McCrory’s appearance on a Mick Conlan undercard at Madison Square Garden and he would move from training with Andre Rozier to Derry legend John Duddy.
After a nightmarish three years, he now has an opportunity to kickstart his career and is hungry to do just that.
“I’m realistic. I’ve just turned 30, I’ve been inactive a long time but let’s see where it goes.
“I’ve always been hungry. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do and it’s the only thing I’ve ever really excelled at,” he adds before revealing has kept working throughout his layoff even if social media didn’t suggest as much.
“I just can’t wait to go. I’m working hard. I’m not one of these people who blows it all over social media how hard they’re working.
“I’m a professional boxer, it’s what we’re supposed to do. People will make judgement and see how hard I work when I fight.”