Belfast Telegraph

Boxer McCloskey ready to raise his low profile

For a fighter rated the number one contender in Europe and by many as the most talented Irish fighter around, a leisure centre in Widnes is a strange place for Paul McCloskey to be making the first defence of his British light-welterweight title.

For all his talent, an unbeaten record and a stunning victory to land the Lonsdale belt in December, for the wider public he remains relatively unknown in comparison to friends such as Martin Rogan and John Duddy.

But McCloskey shrugs off the low profile and remains defiantly focused, believing that through success his time for the spotlight will come.

"The fight was to have been in Belfast but it had to be changed because of Sky television. They pay the money and they call the shots.

“The Amir Khan fight is the next night in Manchester so they needed their television trucks over there," said McCloskey before giving an exhibition of clinical boxing against two sparring partners in Breen's gym.

"I'm not bothered about the attention. I just have to keep winning and the rest will fall into place. I do my job in the ring and let others worry about the stuff outside the ring but I know I need to be boxing at home.

"It's a pity the fight had to be taken away from here because I had a lot of people coming to me and asking when it was going to be and I know I would have good support."

Away from the ring, McCloskey can be found managing his Spar shop with wife Emma and the laid back 29-year-old enjoys the contrast between keeping the shelves filled and maintaining his razor sharp skills.

He added: "It's great having the shop. Boxing is one thing but you need a focus outside boxing. I've got my family and mentally I'm away from boxing I think you can think too much about boxing.

"I suppose I'm in a fortunate position in that I don't have to worry too much about the bills although I have a mortgage to pay like everyone else.

“ But It's not the same pressure that other fighters might have so it's a good position to be in and I don't want to mess anything up now I'm in a good position in the rankings

"After I won the British title people were saying 'Where has he been?'. Well, I've just been training in Belfast and I'm sitting here waiting to explode.

“I've always known what I could do and I know that right now I could fight anyone in the world, given the chance."

McCloskey won the British title when he forced former European champion Colin Lynes to retire, though he did have some tricky moments early on and even before the first bell.

"The way I beat Lynes made people sit up and take notice of me. If it had been a hard scrap they may not have been so impressed. I had a bad start. I went into the ring cold that night because of the shorts problem.

"It all kicked off because I had black and white shorts and so did Lynes so Sky ordered that I change my shorts.

"So they got me a pair of blue Lonsdale but I told them my kid's name and my sponsor's name has to go on them or I'm not going into the ring. Get that sorted and I'll fight.

"So they had to and get it sown on and thankfully they did and I went out and did the business and hopefully I do the same against Harrison."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph