GLENN McCRORY reckons Derry man, Sean McGlinchey has the perfect platform to launch his professional boxing career when he features on the BoxNation televised ‘Battle of Belfast’ bill at the Waterfront Hall on June 17th next!
And the former IBF Cruiserweight world champion, who has been putting ‘Mummy’s Bhoy’ through his paces at an ‘old school’ training camp at his Wild Atlantic Boxing Gym in Culdaff, believes his fighter must make the most of his chance to impress on the ‘Channel of Champions’, owned by Hall of Fame promoter, Frank Warren.
In only his second professional fight it’s the type of exposure the Creggan man could only have dreamed about so early in his career and his coach, who boasts no shortage of contacts in the pro game, has reminded McGlinchey the pressure is on to produce his best performance on the night.
“I would think most of the fights that are on the BoxNation shows get televised as it’s a boxing channel so I would think we will be on TV,” said McCrory. “But Sean’s got a great following and that counts for so much in this game. They want a lot of noise and want entertainment.
“He’s on a good bill with some very good Irish prospects who are going to be big names. So it’s a great platform for us so I’m more than happy to be on BoxNation, We’d like to think it’s a platform we can get on and stay on and they’ll be happy with us.
“So Sean knows the pressure is there for him to perform and pull out the best performance he possibly can.”
Headlining the exciting card will be two times Olympic medallist, Paddy Barnes who takes on former world title contender, Silvio Olteanu for the WBO European Lightweight title in only his third professional outing.
And with such an array of up-and-coming Irish professional boxing talent featuring on the card, including Jamie Conlan, Stephen Ward and David Oliver Joyce, McCrory believes it’s the perfect time for McGlinchey to make his breakthrough in the paid ranks.
“Our bill is crammed-packed with the big names in Irish boxing. There’s a resurgence happening over here and it’s great for boxing in Ireland.”
2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, McGlinchey made a impressive start to his pro career with a dominant 40-36 points victory over journeyman Josef Obselo at the Devenish venue last April. And while his opponent was much bigger and more experienced than McCrory had hoped for - coming to the ring 13lbs heavier and with 47 fights under his belt - the Englishman was delighted with how McGlinchey dealt with the threat.
I’m over the moon to be part of Irish boxing and setting up a gym here. I feel like I’m finally home. I totally love it and we’ll be living here full-time within a couple of years.Glenn McCrory
In fact, McCrory revealed he was close to pulling his man out of the fight after the weigh-in due to the considerable size disadvantage but was impressed with McGlinchey’s attitude which resulted in a refreshingly challenging first fight.
“If I’m honest, if it hadn’t have been for Sean’s attitude at the weigh-in I was seriously thinking about just saying ‘no’. I know the guy is a journeyman but I’ve been around the game long enough to see enough upsets by ‘journeymen’, The kid was 13lbs heavier on the day. Sean’s made his weight for the fight and then the guy comes in and he had 47 fights and had been boxing cruiserweights.
“We’ve taken Sean down to middleweight and he’s 12 stone and we get a boy who’s 13st 3lbs. All of a sudden it’s a dangerous fight. These guys usually have a good chin and they’re no mugs but Sean had no problem at all with it which gave me the confidence. The kid was used to losing and I felt Sean would get him back into that mindset straight away.
“Sean was fighting guys who were a lot bigger than him during his amateur days and I wanted to change that.”
So for his second pro fight - another four rounder - McCrory is anticipating an opponent much closer to the middleweight limit. And the ex-world champ expects McGlinchey to produce an even better performance which will ensure he gets noticed on the night.
“For this fight his opponent will be a maximum of 11st 12lbs,” confirmed McCrory. “We haven’t got an opponent yet. They asked us yesterday what maximum weight we wanted and we told them 11st 12lbs. So we’re getting closer to middleweight.
“I have no idea what they’ll come up with opponent-wise but I’m not unduly worried. I’m not one of those who will turn down five out of six. I know where Sean is at this stage of his career and unless they give us a ridiculous opponent we’ll go with it.
“I’ve got confidence is Sean’s ability and, for me, this fight would’ve been six rounds if we could have got it. If we can get the next one at six rounds then that’s what we want. I only want to stay at six for a couple of fights before we move up to eight,
“He’s just turned 25 years old and I want him to progress. A year and a half and then up to 10 rounds. He’s a mature man, a tough kid and has had good amateur experience. So I don’t want to hang about.”
“When you get in with a journeyman-type and it’s hard to get stoppages. Those kids are used to surviving, The last guy would have been stopped if he hadn’t of been such a big lump. He could hang in there just because of his size advantage.
“So journeymen can be tough but once we get kids who are genuinely trying to win and not survive, then that’s when Sean will start to show his power. That’s when they’re not in survival mode and are coming with a purpose. So I’m looking forward to seeing who they put forward but I’m very, very confident in what we’re doing.
“Obviously we’re looking to speed Sean up. Once we get fighters the right weight, Sean’s power is immense and that will start telling. Also when we start going the longer distance, eight and 10 rounds, he’s going to be fit enough to have the engine to wear people down. They’ll not be able to take his strength and power.”
With the ring installed at the Wild Atlantic Gym in McCrory’s second home in Culdaff, things are beginning to take shape. Like McGlinchey’s pro career, it’s a ‘work in progress’ and McCrory is excited about the future as he aims to make McGlinchey the first champion to emerge from his Co. Donegal training base.
“Everything’s going really well. He’s moving along nicely. He’s improving all the time and I’m really happy with his progress, He listens and does what we ask of him. For me he’s a completely a different fighter and looking really good.
“The gym is proper old school, it’s an old barn and we’ve a fair bit still to do. But it’s really nice down there and a great place to just think about the boxing. It’s real and raw and there’s nothing fancy there.
“The best thing is that Sean is comfortable coming down there and it all bodes well for the future. It’s a constant work in progress for the rest of his career. To make him a better fighter we’re going to have to step up to six (rounds) and the sooner the better, I just think the better the fighter the better he’ll be.
“He’s adapting well to whatever we want and if I push him, he responds and pulls it out when he has to do it. So it’s all going well but there’s a long way to go, It’s still the beginning of the journey.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence that, because Sean listens and learns, it won’t be long until we’re up to 10 and 12 rounds.”
It’s an exciting time for professional boxing in Derry with McGlinchey, Connor Coyle and Tyrone McCullagh - who fights next Saturday night at the Odyssey Arena on the Matchroom Promotion - and McCrory is delighted to be part of it.
“I’m over the moon to be part of Irish boxing and setting up a gym here. I feel like I’m finally home. I totally love it and we’ll be living here full-time within a couple of years when we get the eldest through their school.
“The plans are to make a great training base in Culdaff. I’m expecting to produce champions from there and also have champions visit us for a training camp and sample the wonderful welcome that Ireland has got.”
Tickets are £30, £40, £50, VIP £150. Telephone 02890334455 or contact Seamus on 07730257777.