Sport

Padraig McCrory: Is it time for the Hammer to fall?

Belfast boxer set to perform on the biggest stage of his career against American fighter Edgar Berlanga in their Super Middleweight Showdown

Padraig McCrory trains ahead OF  his fight against WBO super-middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga.
PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN
Padraig McCrory Padraig McCrory trains ahead OF his fight against WBO super-middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga. PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN

Ireland is famous for producing exceptional athletes for various sports and forms of competition, but one thing they have always been known for is the so called “fighting Irish”: the modern-day gladiators that compete in combat sports, particularly boxing, putting their bodies on the line for a chance at greatness.

Some of the more notable fighters to name would include Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan and Carl Frampton. This Saturday, Padraig McCrory will attempt to take his own steps towards greatness.

The Belfast-born McCrory takes on NABO Super Middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga in a 12-round bout to advance further in the Super Middleweight rankings.

Since joining the pro ranks back in June 2017, McCrory has gone to accumulate an impressive record of 18 wins with nine knockouts. However, like all great athletes, McCrory too came from humble beginnings.

Where it all began

Padraig McCrory was born on June 20 1988 in Belfast, beginning his boxing journey at the age of 15, which for many would seem late to start a stint in the sweet science. Most boxers at McCrory’s level would’ve entered the boxing ring from the ages of seven to 11 years old.

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Edgar Berlanga vs Padraig McCrory First Faceoff Edgar Berlanga and Padraig McCrory face-off for the first time before they fight at Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando. Picture: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom. (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom./Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.)
Amateur Accomplishments

For McCrory to compete at such a high level in both the amateurs and now the professional level is a credit to his character and his ability to adapt in extreme situations.

Even though he started late, McCrory went on to attain multiple amateur titles including four Antrim titles, four Ulster titles and an Ulster Elite Title which for such a short time in the amateurs, with only 24 total fights, is remarkable.

While he had ambitions to compete at an even higher level in the amateur competitions such as the Commonwealth Games, he unfortunately failed to qualify in 2014 and 2015 for the event which led to McCrory finally announcing his desire to turn pro in late 2016.



The Next Step

With this McCrory went onto sign with promoter Kieran Farrell and made his professional debut in June 2017, just days short of his 29th birthday, against Jacob Lucas in a four -ound bout which saw McCrory dropping Lucas late in the first round. However the bout went the full distance and McCrory ending up winning on points.

The future looked bright for the Belfast-born fighter as he went on to win by stoppage in his following two fights capturing the attention of all boxing fans in Ireland.

Now, six years after turning pro McCrory faces his toughest test in Edgar Berlanga, a 26-year-old sensation with 21 wins and 16 of those wins coming by knockout.

While both fighters are undefeated, many feel that Berlanga is more likely to come victorious due to his high knockout ratio and his most recent victory over Irish boxer Jason Quigley which has led many to believe that the American will make short work of McCrory

Padraig McCrory trains ahead OF  his fight against WBO super-middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga.
PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN
Padraig McCrory Padraig McCrory trains ahead OF his fight against WBO super-middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga. PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN

However, in a recent interview McCrory stated “Berlanga has insecurities and has shown that he is vulnerable before”.

McCrory believes this as while Berlanga defeated Quigley, the bout was very close and many believed that it was a poor showing from the so-called “Chosen One” even though he was victorious.

What this means for McCrory?

One thing is for certain, whoever is victorious will be propelled to fame in the eyes of the boxing world and could potentially lead to a super fight with the king of the 168lb division, Canelo Alvarez.

Both McCrory and Berlanga are listed in the top 15 rankings of both the IBF and WBA, two of the four major belt organisations which sanction the boxing world.

Now with the 12 round bout right around the corner many Irish fans question if the Hammer can get the job done while being on the biggest stage of his professional career or if he will crumble under the pressure of the moment.

Many question if McCrory is the last hope for a dying breed of Irish boxing in the professional scene to make a big splash for many years to come following the retirement of Carl Frampton and fall off of Michael Conlan.

Whether the 35-year-old can pull through, only time will tell.