Boxing

Hammer time for Padraig McCrory in Mickey Ellison rumble

Padraig McCrory says Mickey Ellison hasn't fought anyone of his level
Andy Watters

IT'S ‘Hammer' time tomorrow night as Belfast super-middleweight Padraig McCrory squares up to England's Mickey Ellison in a fight that could propel the winner up to European level.

McCrory (10-0), who won the BUI Irish title last August by stopping Steve Collins junior at Falls Park last year, and Ellison look well-matched. Marginally more experienced with a 12-2 record, the Englishman has won his last three (the last two by stoppage) and will have height advantage over the Belfast man, who stands 6'1”.

“Everything is bang-on,” said McCrory who spent yesterday in isolation after a routine Covid-19 test.

“I'm just looking forward to weighing-in, refuelling and getting in there on Wednesday night.”

He added: “Ellison will be confident too.

“He's coming off some good wins. He beat a guy who was 15-0 and won with a first-round stoppage in his last fight. He's going to be confident but I don't think he has fought anyone of my ability. I think I'll be a step-up for him.

“I've watched a bit of him, I've looked at his attributes and then I leave the rest up to Dee (Walsh, his trainer) and my team for a gameplan from there.”

There have been disappointments for Eric Donovan and Jono Carroll but, those two apart, Irish fighters have had some notable wins since boxing returned after the lockdown.

James Tennyson set the ball rolling by winning the British lightweight title against Welsh hardman Gavin Gwynne and since then Michael Conlan, Carl Frampton, Katie Taylor, Sean McComb and Lewis Crocker have been among the highlights for Irish boxers behind closed doors.

“It has been a really good return for the Irish,” said McCrory.

“Jono and Eric had disappointment results but on the whole it has been good. I've had a great camp, I sparred really well and I feel like my conditioning is on another level and I'm very confident of getting the win.

“Fighting behind closed doors isn't going to be really difficult for me, I think I'll be able to deal with it fine.”

During lockdown McCrory – a full-time personal trainer – had to move his business onto an online platform. However, he was able to adjust and get through it but he's glad boxing is back so he can kick on to the next chapter of a promising career.

“In full lockdown with the gyms being closed things weren't good,” he said.

“I adjusted my business to on-line to keep some revenue coming in and my wife was working full-time so things weren't too bad, we were able to pay the bills. But it's good to get back boxing and be able to make money as well as moving up the rankings as well.”

McCrory didn't start his professional career until he was 29. Now 32, he knows that time isn't necessarily on his side but feels that the four-year break he took from the sport has left him fresher than other fighters his age.

“I think taking four years away from the sport has been a benefit because I don't have the miles on the clock, I don't have the wear and tear of some of the top amateurs who turned pro,” he said.

“I feel very fresh and I'd love this fight to push me on to international titles – maybe a ranking European title. I don't really see a benefit of defending my BUI (Boxing Union of Ireland). Unless it makes sense I think it would be a needless step back at this stage of my career.

“I want to keep moving forward, getting good fights and riding the wave to see where it goes.”

His friend and training partner Lewis Crocker cruised to a stoppage win over Louis Greene last Wednesday. The win earned him the WBO European title and laid down the roadmap that McCrory hopes to follow.

“Me and Lewis did a few rounds of sparring during camp and I was very confident he would win,” he said.

“People still haven't seen the best of him and I believe the only person that can stop Lewis is himself. He has all the talent in the world and I've sparred a lot of fighters – up to heavyweight – and none of them punch as hard as Lewis.

“Seeing him win that title has given me that extra edge and desire to get to that level and I think it's something I can achieve. People haven't seen the best of me either and I've been working on different things since I changed coach (to Dee Walsh) and training has been really good. I just hope it shows on fight night.”

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Boxing