Belfast Telegraph

Haughian bringing ring of fire to the King’s Hall

By David Kelly

Stephen Haughian is walking through fire in order to fulfill his boxing dreams.

The Lurgan welterweight slipped off the radar over the past 12 months despite having won the Irish title in February 2009. Inactivity and a lack of motivation seemed to be the dual demons hurting his career.

But, thanks to mind guru Steven McGeown, Haughian is more determined than ever to climb up boxing’s slippery ladder.

The 25-year-old returns to the ring tomorrow night week at the King’s Hall when he is in the main supporting fight to Paul McCloskey’s first defence of the European light-welterweight title, taking on Scotland’s Kevin McIntyre for the Celtic welter belt.

A key part of his preparation is now working with McGeown, including walking over hot coals.

Haughian explained: “The point of walking over the fire is that you get yourself into a state, it’s mind over matter and I haven't been burned yet!

“If you were in a normal state you couldn’t do it. You can feel the heat as you stand there before you do it but then you have the mental state to walk across it.

“And it’s the same when you’re going to the ring. You have to believe that no matter what comes your way you can handle it.

“My mentality has totally changed since I started working with Steven. Now I don’t talk about hopefully, I talk about how ‘I will’ and ‘I am’ going to be a champion.

“We started working in March after a guy recommended him. He’s a results coach and works with people on different things, whether it’s sport, losing weight or business.

“A lot of the stuff he has been working with me on, not just the hot coals, is just like the things that Tony Quinn worked on when he got Steve Collins ready for his win over Chris Eubank. Steven and Tony know each other.”

Haughian’s coach John Breen is delighted with the way he has been working in the gym, sparring with top of the bill Paul McCloskey among others for what is truly a crossroads fight in a career which has largely been a slow burner.

Now, having only suffered one controversial defeat in 20 fights Haughian is a victory away from boxing for the British title.

Breen has no doubt that the best is yet to come from Stephen as long as he enjoys more regular action.

Breen said: “Stephen will have completed around 90 rounds of sparring by the time we come to the fight and I have to say he has worked very, very hard. He has looked good in the gym — he has a great attitude to training.

“McIntyre isn’t going to be easy, he’s an experienced guy but I believe that the fight has come at just the right time for Stephen.

“He’s matured into a very good professional and he knows that a win will lead to a shot at the British title.”

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