SEAN McGlinchey has taken his fair share of hard knocks through the years but the Creggan man is determined to consign recent disputes to the history books as he makes final preparations for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
When controversially losing the 81kgs Ulster Senior Final, the Oak Leaf ABC light-heavyweight thought his chances of qualifying for the 2014 Games were over.
However, following an appeal to the Ulster Boxing Council, Sean was presented with a shock, last gasp opportunity to make the N. Ireland Commonwealth Boxing team last week.
The I.A.B.A. sanctioned a ‘box-off’ between Ulster champion, Padraig McCrory (Gleann) and Sean to determine who would represent at 81kgs for the Games which begin on July 23rd next.
And the 22 year-old Westway lad emerged victorious in the ‘all or nothing’ three round bout at the Dockworkers Club, Belfast and he’ll now join St Joseph’s ABC’s Conor Coyle on the plane to the Scottish capital.
Derry has created a successful production line of boxing talent down through the years and his inclusion now means the city will contribute at least two members to N. Ireland’s Commonwealth Boxing squad - a proud moment for McGlinchey and his coaches.
“It’s been the result of years of dedication so the training has paid off,” said Sean. “I’m always working in the gym and it’s great to get the reward at the end of it all.
“Myself and (Padraig) McCrory had a cracking fight in the seniors,” he explained. “We appealed the decision and the Ulster Council voted to have a box-off and I took the chance once it was there.
“The way it was left was that the winner of the box-off goes to the Commonwealth Games. There’s people complaining now that it’s 1-1. But the Ulster Council’s democracy decided that the winner goes so they can’t go back on their word and say it’s a case of best out of three or best out of five.
“I know it must be hard for McGrory but the Ulster Council voted to decide it on a box-off and I got my place on merit.
“When I got the box-off I made sure I trained and that I was going to get the decision this time,” he continued. “It was convincing in my eyes that I won the fight.”
His name is officially in the squad now and he’s happy to put all the controversy generated from the box-off behind him as he prepares to begin his intensive training programme in Jordanstown with the rest of the Commonwealth team.
“That’s all behind me now,” he said. “So whatever people are saying about me in newspapers, it’s all in the past. Whatever happened in the past can’t be fixed now. I have to go and prove to the doubters that I’m willing to take his place and do the best that I can.
“I started training up in Jordanstown this week and the training sessions are absolutely brutal. But that’s how you succeed. You’re not going to succeed by sitting in the house. You’ve got to train and put the work in. It could be a couple of years down the line but the work will eventually pay off.”
A former St Mary’s ABC member, Sean had left the sport for almost two years after winning an Irish title as distractions outside of boxing began to hold him back.
However, since returning to the ring he’s developed a new found focus and he’s hungrier than ever for success.
“I’ve been boxing since I was eight and I’ve had seven or eight titles from Boy 1 right through. I’ve been in with the best. I’ve been in with the likes of Tommy McCarthy and Davey Joe Joyce. It was a close decision with Joyce so I’ve been in there with some top boxers.
“People are saying I haven’t done anything but take a look back at my past record. I was out of boxing for a good two years and came back.
“Before I left boxing I was Irish champion. I left because I was injured and I was 16 or 17 and had plenty of distractions but I got myself re-focussed and back into it again.”
And he’s confident he can come back from Glasgow with a medal draped around his neck.
“I’ve boxed for Ireland three times. I’ve boxed for Ulster and had to two good wins so that will all stand for me.
There’s always the chance of getting gold. I’m not going over there to get messed about, I’ll be putting the training in. I’ll be sparring the best in Ireland and when I go to these training camps I’ll be sparring the best in the world possibly. So everybody has a medal in them if you put the work in.”
So Sean and Conor Coyle have now secured their place and with St Joe’s ABC’s Blaine Dobbins on stand-by, it could prove to be an incredible year for Derry’s amateur boxing scene.
“It’s fantastic for the city and it makes it that bit easier to break into the team as well.
“My coaches at Oakleaf have been brilliant but I’d also like to thank St Mary’s coaches, Mickey Glackin and Mickey McGlinchey. They put the ground work in.
“And I also have to thank The Bentley, Estate Services and Extreme Fitness for all their support,” he concluded.