It will be guts and guile, not glitz and glamour when Lynn Harvey [1(1)-1(0)] returns to the ring in Belfast on Saturday February 4th.
There was a degree of showmanship and spotlight ahead of the Kilbarrack light flyweight’s second pro fight in Dublin last November, with plenty of media attention beforehand for the Dubliner. However, after six tough rounds and a first career defeat, Harvey feels that ring points and not publicity are the order of the day as she looks to get back to winning ways on Mark Dunlop – and indeed Ireland’s – first pro show of 2017.
It’s not a case of ‘The Hunter’ suffering from a bout of Rocky III syndrome ahead of her last outing. Indeed the World title hopeful is proud of her display against an “opponent that was just too big,” and doesn’t feel the spotlight affected her negatively.
However, she is solely focused on traveling to Belfast and getting a second win under her belt with the minimum of fuss and distraction.
She warns it will be fight not hype come February 4th at the Europa Hotel – and more Mike Tyson than Prince Naseem in terms of ring attire, ring walk, and all the assorted bells and whistles.
“This one is just about winning,” Harvey told Irish-Boxing.com.
“That is all that is on my mind. I haven’t thought of ring walk or fight gear and there will be none of that. I just want to get back to winning. I do want to show what I have been working on and what I can do, but I wouldn’t care if this fight took place in front of no one to be honest. I am just in the mood to get in and win. I know there is a business side to boxing, but I just want to do the business in the ring in Belfast.”
Harvey goes into this clash on the back of a defeat to Mary Romero, who is now rumoured to be on the verge of a super bantamweight world title fight with former Christina McMahon foe and current Alicia Ashley.
However Harvey, who is one of three pro Irish female fighters alongside McMahon and Katie Taylor, claims her confidence hasn’t been dented by the reverse.
The former Senior Champion claims the emotional scars healed a lot quicker than the physical ones that the larger Spaniard inflicted upon her.
The honest puncher admits she was beaten, and previously went as far as to say she would have been disgusted if she got an unfair hometown win in the November 5th clash, but claims a moral victory in the fact she battled till the end and never took a backward step against a physically stronger fighter.
“When I think back on that fight I feel proud. Losing hurt and no one was more disappointed than me, but I have a faith and I honestly believe that, that defeat is part of my journey and was meant to be. Also, my victory comes from the fact I never took a backward step. I was never wobbled and I kept fighting despite being against a bigger and stronger fighter,” Harvey continued.
“It didn’t take me long emotionally to get over the fight. Maybe the circumstances around the opponent helped. I believe I should never had fought her. My confidence hasn’t been dented. I still honestly believe I am meant to do this and I know I can go on and do well in boxing.”
While she remains confident, 35 year old Harvey is wary about being cocky moving forward. Before the National Stadium-hosted defeat she was telling all who listen that she wouldn’t be beaten. Now she takes a different approach ahead of her ring return.
“I don’t think I said that in a too brash manner. I just honestly believed that and was saying what I believed. I still believe I have the ability to beat anyone at my weight, but I know I can’t be cocky going into this one. I won’t be shouting my mouth off. I am confident, but I won’t be over the top with it.”
The Kilbarrack fan-favourite has made other changes too. She has started to train twice a day five days a week, and has teamed up with Tommy McCormack and John Connor of the Irish Strength Institute.
“Working with Tommy is great. We really are working well together. I always said there were things I had to work on and we are doing that. I am putting more shots together and working on combinations. I am looking forward to showing what I have learnt on February 4th. I am also doing strength and conditioning in the mornings. I always felt strength and will were my strengths, but working with the John Connor, who I know from school and who has worked with Conor McGregor and Carl Frampton, it’s all a bit more scientific.”
Pre-Romero, Harvey was whole-heartedly against studying opponents. When she said ‘I haven’t seen any tape of her’ she wasn’t just throwing out a line favoured by boxers the world over. Harvey genuinely preferred to go into fights blind, focusing on her role rather than what her opponent can do. This time around however she has studied her opponent, Hungarian journeywoman Agnes Draxler, with her coach and is involved in building the game plan.
“I fight a girl I should beat, but a fighter that will test me and should bring me rounds. She is not a push over, but I feel if I produce my best I will beat her. I have watched her with Tommy and I know what she can do.”
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography