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Irish boxing star Feargal McCrory ready to get career back on track after long absence from the ring

FEARGAL McCRORY is mad for road – after a lifetime working on them.

The unbeaten Tyrone fighter has been inactive since 2019 but finally has a fight date to drive on towards.

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Feargal McCrory celebrates his victory against Paul HoltCredit: Sportsfile

McCrory (11-0) will return on August 12 in Queens, New York, when he takes on former John Joe Nevin opponent Alejandro Torres Rynn (7-3), a Mexican-born Canadian who has never been stopped.

The southpaw, 30, joined The Rocky Road podcast this week to discuss his rise in boxing, Covid cancellations and the comeback.

He said: “The hold-up – the pandemic had a big part to play, some bad decision-making on my part.

“I’ve been inactive in the ring but I’ve been in the gym a lot. Not as much as I could have been had I been active, but I’ve been in the gym and looked after myself.

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“We’re getting ready to rock and roll on August 12.”

Having been out of the ring for so long, McCrory is aware that this is a potential banana skin.

But he will have ‘Derry Destroyer’ John Duddy helping out in his corner on fight night and is confident he can come through the test.

He added: “John Joe Nevin boxed him in Philadelphia.

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“He’s tough. He’s fought great opposition and never been stopped or down, to my knowledge. He gave some great accounts of himself in his losses.

“He’s going to be looking at me and fancying a win so I have to be on my game, 100 per cent, or I’ll get beaten.”

And losing is not an option right now after spending so long out of the game.

McCrory was days away from a bout on a Mick Conlan bill at Madison Square Garden in March 2020 before Donald Trump started taking the pandemic seriously and the USA shut down.

And, as he plotted a comeback, he was told there was a chance he would secure a slot on the Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano card, also at The Garden, but again it came to nothing.

As a dad of two, it is all about putting food on the table now.

BACK IN THE RING

And after shaking off some rust in sparring, he is eager for some real action.

McCrory said: “Sparring’s not fighting – thank God because there was a few spars when there was a lot of rust!

“But we’re getting there. I’m realistic. I’ve just turned 30, I’ve been inactive a long time but let’s see where it goes.

“I’ve always been hungry. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do and it’s the only thing I’ve ever really excelled at.

“I just can’t wait to go. I’m working hard. I’m not one of these people who blows it all over social media how hard they’re working.

“I’m a professional boxer, it’s what we’re supposed to do. People will make judgment and see how hard I work when I fight.”

PROS AND CONS

Hard work has never been an issue, though.

McCrory said: “When I was fighting in Ireland, I was working full-time.

“Out on the roads, and I loved it. I wouldn’t really be built for offices, to be honest. But a hard day’s work.

“It kept you modest and it kept you driven, so it had its pros. It’s just been part of the journey.

“So I’d get up at 5am and go running, get back for a quick shower and change, then drive to work anywhere in the north.

“I remember one time in Derry training for a fight. I would get up, run, go to Derry and do a day’s work.

PUSHED TOO HARD

“The boss would let me away a little early to get to Belfast in time for 6pm, so straight down the road from Derry for training.

“And then getting home about 9.30pm and preparing for the next day again. You were meeting yourself coming out the door.

“And I was pushing myself in training but when I’d get into the ring, I was wrecked, I was done out.

“The recovery wasn’t what it should have been, the diet wasn’t what it should have been, but again that’s my own fault.

“But when you’ve a young family you have to provide – and there’s no money in boxing. There is at the top levels but where I have been and where I am, there’s not.

“You have to provide so my job was very important. Boxing is always something I’ve been passionate about though and something I always wanted to do.

IRISH TITLE

“But my schedule did affect my performances on fight night.”

He won the Irish lightweight title in his tenth contest, beating Karl Kelly to claim the belt.

But he is chasing bigger accolades and knows time is not on his side.

Several of the fighters he came up with have already hung up their gloves but, having missed so much, he feels he is a young 30 in physical terms.

McCrory added: “It makes me feel old. Some great lads (have retired).

“James Tennyson, not only the ring but outside of it, James as a person is brilliant. A lot of young fighters should look at James and use him as an example.

HIGHS AND LOWS

“Whether it’s on camera or off camera, he treats everyone with respect.

Marco McCullough was the same. Great lad, we shared the gym in John Breen’s for a number of years and I learned a lot from Marco’s sparring.

“Paul Hyland too, I’m not sure what he’s doing. Our generation is definitely moving on. Ryan Burnett, an unbelievable fighter, has got up to world level and excelled at it.

“They’ve all reached great highs and some lows, but I want to see what my highs are.”

McCrory expects to be a huge ticket seller in New York. He is not connected to a promoter but if he draws a crowd, he that he could soon change – and doors would open.

And it might mean he can leave life on the roads behind for the time being, at least.

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He added: “I know my value. I know what I bring. I know the concept of business.

“I know everyone has to be paid but I know how much money I bring to a show. I want well paid. And that’s it.”

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