Feargal McCrory:“I want to be remembered as world champion”

Murphy and Turner clash at SSE Arena as Crocker open door for Paddy Donovan duel

Feargal McCrory won the WBA Inter-Continental title and moved to 17-0 at Madison Square Garden Theatre
Feargal McCrory won the WBA Inter-Continental title at Madison Square Garden

INTO the lion’s den goes ‘Fearless’ Feargal McCrory and he’ll need to live up to his nickname when he challenges reigning WBA super-featherweight champion Lamont Roach in the champ’s backyard on Friday night

There isn’t a more dedicated, committed fighter than Tyrone native McCrory and he’ll need that fighting heart beating like a drum to grab the opportunity that has finally come along in his ninth year as a professional.

No-one has beaten him throughout a 17-0 career that seemed to have petered out in 2019 but caught fire three years’ later when he ambitiously based his fights to the USA. Since then he has added five wins – three inside the distance – and stopping Carlos Carlson in March earned him the WBA Inter-Continental title and this shot at Roach.

Southpaw McCrory will go in as underdog on Friday night at the Entertainment and Sport Arena in Washington DC but he has iron-clad confidence in his ability and intends to bring the belt home to Tyrone.

“I’m confident people will see the best version of me on fight night and I’m confident that through hard work, dedication and sacrifice I’m in great shape for the fight,” said McCrory.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time for this opportunity to come along and I’m ready to go.”

There were times early in his career when McCrory had to take a quick break from laying pipes on the side of the road to do an interview. He’s not afraid of hard work, or getting his hands dirty and says that being the outsider, the underdog, is nothing new for him.

“Everything has always been stacked against me,” he says.

“When I went professional, people laughed, then I won the Irish title. When I went to America, people laughed, then I fought at Madison Square Garden and won the WBA Inter-Continental title. Now I’m fighting for the world title and some people are still laughing but let’s see who’s laughing after this fight.

“Believe you me, I do not want to be remembered as someone who fought for a world title, I want to be remembered as a world champion and I will give everything that I have to deliver that on Friday night.”

McCrory has been single-minded in his pursuit of glory. He was always regarded as a talented fighter but the first chapter of his career wasn’t particularly headline-grabbing. He realised that he would have to make all the running for himself if he was going to achieve his dreams and so he sacrificed home and family life to base himself in the USA for training and fights.

The quality coaching and sparring he has been exposed to has been absolutely crucial in turning him into a genuine contender and he is determined to prove that on Friday night.

“If you look at the last year since I’ve been working with Colin Morgan, I would say I’ve improved beyond belief,” he said.

“He’s an unbelievable teacher of boxing and he has completely broadened my horizons and I know that if I hadn’t been working with Colin I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. That’s not to knock anyone else I’ve worked with but I’m more mature now, I’m smarter, I’ve gained a lot of experience and I’m probably a lot easier talked to now than I was when I started.

“When you’re young and you’re a professional fighter you want to go in and: ‘SLAP, BANG, WALLOP…’ and knock everybody out but it doesn’t happen. In this sport you develop and I’ve developed and now I’m just a few days out from the fight of my life.”

The Belfast Brawl
Colm Murphy and Jack Turner on the bill at the Belfast Brawl at the SSE Arena on 28 June. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

COLM Murphy is on an 11-fight winning streak and if it ever comes to an end for the Belfast featherweight, it won’t be due to hard work.

Murphy has been training “non-stop” since well before Christmas so he should be in great shape to tangle with Glasgow’s Jack Turner at the SSE Arena on Friday night.

Turner acknowledged the Belfast fighter’s off-the-scale workrate but added that he “technically isn’t the best” and he intends to exploit that on Friday night. However, Murphy’s team dismiss Turner’s claims and are hoping, if not expecting, a stoppage win for their man.

“Everything has been really smooth, it has all led up to this moment and I’m ready to go,” said Murphy.

“I’m going to go in and show that I’m worthy of this opportunity and all my hard work throughout the years has got me here. It has taken a lot of sacrifice to get here so I’m not going to slip-up, I’m going to go out and put it all in.

“We’ll see how he (Turner) does on the night. I don’t want to come out and say anything because each fight is different and once you’re in there you’re guaranteed a good scrap. I always step up to the challenge and that’s what I want – I want a challenge, I want to go out and show my worth and show I’m worthy of this opportunity, I want to get signed by Frank Warren.

“Turner is five years’ my senior and he was probably boxing before I started so it’s a challenge but, at the end of the day, it’s about who’s got the bigger dog in them. I know I’ve got a big dog in me and I want to be able to show what I’m worth.”

Friday night, SSE Arena fight card:

Commonwealth Boxing Council Fly (vacant): Conor Quinn (9-0-1) v Conner Kelsall (11-0)

WBC International Super-lightweight title: Pierce O’Leary (14-0) v Darragh Foley (22-5-1)

Featherweight: Colm Murphy (11-0) v Jack Turner (6-1)

BUI Celtic Lightweight title: James McGivern (8-0) v Rashid Omar (6-0)

Super-featherweight: Jadier Herrera (14-0) v Andres Navarrete (11-1)

Super-featherweight: Nelson Birchall (3-0) v Kevin Trana (15-16-3)

Lightweight: Steven Cairns (7-0) v Jonatas Rodrigo Gomes de Oliveira (6-10)

Super-lightweight: Nicola Barke (4-0) v Kerry Haley (2-1)

Bantamweight: Jack Turner (6-0) v Darwing Martinez (8-20-2)

Super-welterweight: Eoghan Lavin (1-0) v Artjom Spatar (4-8-1)

Super-welterweight: Joe Cooper debut v TBA

Super-welterweight: Walter Fury debut v Vasif Mamedov (3-52-5)

What's next for Lewis Crocker? (Mark Robinson/Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)

LEWIS Crocker says he happy to lock horns with Paddy Donovan next after he came through his Fight of the Year contender against Conner Walker in Birmingham.

Fight fans hoped for a war and the welterweight rivals didn’t disappointment throughout a brilliant scrap that built to a violent crescendo over the last three rounds when both men threw all they had at each other.

Crocker won by unanimous decision (96-93, 96-93 and 95-94 on the scorecards) and says he’ll take on Limerick’s Donovan next.

“What a night,” he said afterwards.

“The atmosphere was electric. I knew it was going to be because I’m fighting in his home town so any work he did, the crowd erupted which meant I had to come back. It was a great fight, I think I won by two-three rounds but it was a tough test.”

Donovan was ringside and, not unexpectedly, claimed afterwards that it was Walker who won the fight “by three or four rounds”. He said it was “great for Irish fans” that Crocker got the decision and he now wants to face him in Limerick. He said he’ll go to Dublin, or New York for that matter but won’t travel to Belfast.

Crocker described his potential duel with Donovan as “the biggest fight in Ireland” and promised that the Irish rivals will: “for sure get it on”.

“Whether it’s next, whether it’s two fights (away), it doesn’t matter, we’ll get it on,” he said.

“I’ll fight whoever, anyone, Eddie Hearns knows I’m the man.”