McCrory aiming for similar story back at the SSE Arena

Padraig McCrory faces Norbert Szekeres on Saturday night Padraig McCrory faces Norbert Szekeres on Saturday night
By David Mohan
THE opportunity to box at the SSE Arena is one all local fighters want to avail of, but Padraig McCrory has been a little spoiled as he begins his professional career and he is certainly not complaining.
The St James’ man made his bow in the paid ranks on the undercard of Ryan Burnett’s world title win over Lee Haskins in May when he knocked Jacob Lucas to the canvas in the first on his way to a points victory.
This Saturday it gets even better for the 29 year-old super-middleweight when the full arena will be open for Carl Frampton’s WBC featherweight title eliminator against Andres Gutierrez and McCrory aims to take this opportunity to win new fans as he looks to make it two wins from two against Hungary’s Norbert Szekeres (18-58-3) who took Conrad Cummings the distance in the past.
 “Two fights in the Odyssey, some pros go through their whole career and don’t get the chance to fight in the Odyssey which is the home of boxing in Belfast,” said the affable McCrory.
“It’s a massive opportunity, brilliant for my own profile. Even the experience of doing media work and the exposure I have got is great.”
Victory in the squared circle under the spotlights and in front of a packed arena is motivation enough for all fighters, but for McCrory, there is an added edge as the positives just keep coming.
“I have a new incentive in that my wife is pregnant,” he revealed.
“That gives me the extra edge to do well so I can say to my son or daughter that I boxed in the Odyssey Arena on a Carl Frampton bill and did this or that.
“This is the reason why I came back. I didn’t want to just say that I boxed and maybe won the Ulster Seniors. I wanted to say I boxed on these events and for me it’s happened so quick on my first two fights. But I’m happy to get onto the small hall shows where you learn your trade.
“Boxing is a beast, so you have to do these things and I’m happy my son or daughter will know I boxed on the undercard of the best boxer who ever came out of Ireland.”
Tickets for Saturday’s fight night are like gold dust with the demand greatly out-stripping supply and it has been a similar scenario for local boxers who have been clamouring for a spot on the undercard that will be broadcast on Spike TV before the coverage switched to Channel 5 for the main event.
McCrory was of course no different and he is eternally grateful to be given this huge opportunity and says he too has experienced the demand for tickets, but said he had no option but to stay loyal to those who have followed him in his boxing career to date.
“I was contacted by loads of people looking tickets, but they were very limited and went to my friends and family because they will be the people who will come back and watch me on the small hall shows,” he explained.
“My next fight is already announced on October 6 at The Devenish, so I wanted to look after the people who will come and watch me then, not just the big shows.
“This one is massive for my profile so I just hope when I’m fighting there are a lot of people there to see me.
“I read a review from the Burnett bill and it said I looked like I was in my tenth fight and not my first because I was so calm and composed. I feel amazing reading stuff like that.
“I was chatting to some guy the other day and he said ‘well done on your last fight’. I didn’t know the fella from Adam, but I love people chatting who I don’t know saying well done because it gives me a great buzz to make people proud and make myself proud.”
It will certainly be a proud night for McCrory getting his chance to showcase his talents on such a grand scale in front of such a massive crowd.
His debut against Burnett saw him cast in the role of ‘floater’, meaning he had to be ready to go at any time and therefore could not fully enjoy the experience.
This time he intends to do just that and build on his win over Lucas against Szekeres and repay the faith shown to him by the star attraction on the night.
“Last time I didn’t get to soak it all in, in terms of a warm-up and ring walk,” he explained.
“It was sort of rushed. They said that Paddy (Gallagher) was on after the next fight, but it was stopped early so they came in and asked me to be ready in five minutes, then came in again saying four minutes, so I just had to pull on my shorts and gloves. It was a quick walk, fight, so I didn’t get to soak it in. My fans were making a massive noise and that gave me tingles up my spine. I was thinking ‘this is where I want to be’.
“We went down (to the arena) early to have a look about. I got into the ring for a look around and it was scary. I never imagined I would be fighting in front of a big stadium and now it will be double the size with it being Carl Frampton.
“Not only is he a superstar in Ireland, but in the world of boxing. Pound-for-pound he’s in the top 10 and in the UK, he would be the top one or two.
“He is a massive name, draws massive crowds and I want to thank him. We had a wee chat and he said he would do everything he can to get me on and now I’m here.”
Please follow and like us: