Boxing

Video: Belfast banger Lewis Crocker can go 'all the way to the very top' claims new trainer Ray Ginley

Up-and-coming welterweight Lewis Crocker (right) with new trainer Ray Ginley

BELFAST banger Lewis Crocker has been tipped to go “right to the very top” after signing a professional contract with Macklin’s Gym Marbella (MGM).

Crocker has parted ways with veteran trainer John Breen after just four months, agreeing a deal with MGM that will see him work alongside up-and-coming coach Ray Ginley.

MGM also confirmed yesterday that they had signed rising super-bantamweight star Tyrone McCullagh (5-0), as they add to their growing stable of talented Irish fighters.

McCullagh and Crocker are stellar additions and Ginley, a former 6-0 super-middleweight who hung up his gloves in 2015, believes welterweight Crocker has the talent to conquer the boxing world.

“I know there’s top amateurs turning over at this point but I don’t believe there’s anyone who ticks all the boxes [like Crocker] – he can move, he can box and as soon as he lands on the chin of anyone, it’s goodnight,” said Ginley of the heavy-hitting 20-year-old.

“Honestly, I’ve held the body pad for heavyweights, cruiserweights, everyone and see taking him on the body pad, I don’t know how any human body could withstand it. I’ve never felt power like it.

“I know as soon as he puts those small gloves on and gets in there without headgear, it won’t be long until bodies start hitting the floor.

“The world’s his oyster. I was out in Philadelphia, I’ve been in camp with Andre Dirrell, so I’ve seen what it takes and working with him, I believe he can go right to the very top.”

Thirty-three-year-old Ginley left boxing because he fell out of love with the sport, but he has admitted that working with Crocker has reignited his passion for the noble art.

Ginley added: “I fell in love with boxing again working with him.

“This first year our plans are to keep Lewis busy, get him as much experience as possible, maybe have five or six fights and push on to start chasing titles after that, but we’re in no rush.

“He’s the future of boxing here in Belfast.”

Crocker has been tipped for big things since he emerged on the amateur scene with Cairn Lodge and then Holy Trinity, and first caught the public imagination when he flattened two opponents at an international tournament in Spain in 2015.

He has been forced to wait to make his pro bow after a nose operation ended his hopes of fighting on the Titanic Exhibition Centre bill last November.

However, now that he has signed a management deal with MGM, Crocker is expected to make his pro debut on Frank Warren’s next Belfast show at the Waterfront Hall on February 18.

“I couldn’t be happier; it’s everything I ever wanted from a professional point of view. They’re people who are going to look after me and keep me busy,” he said.

“There’s been so much talk, I just want to get in and fight. Hopefully I can stay injury-free, training’s going brilliant, so I can’t see why I couldn‘t stay busy all year.

“The last time I was meant to fight and I found out a week before I couldn’t fight which was a bit of a bummer because I was training for months flat out, so I’m looking forward to getting back into the ring.”

And while Ginley is clearly impressed with his new recruit, Crocker believes he has a top man in his corner.

“Ray’s brilliant,” he continued.

“I’ve done pads with Zaur Antia who is regarded as one of the top amateur coaches in the world, Shane McGuigan, coach of the year, Mickey Hawkins, all brilliant coaches and Ray is an absolutely great pad man.

“He’s someone who understands the game and someone who is near enough the same age. There’s not a lot of boxing coaches who are young and you can talk to about things as well, so it’s very good to have.”

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