Padraig McCrory still feels the pain of one May night in 2014 at the Dockers Club and believes it can drive him to major title success over the next couple of years.
Unbeaten super-middleweight McCrory had a love-hate relationship with boxing as an amateur and the bitter taste in his mouth after losing to Sean McGlinchey in a Commonwealth Games box-off took him away from the sport before he emerged to make his professional debut on the undercard of Ryan Burnett's World title fight in June 2017.
With little expectation of how far he could go in the sport, McCrory finds himself with 10 straight wins in the bank and at a point where the Belfast man, noted for possessing good power, feels he can dare to dream.
McCrory will return to the ring on September 3 on a show in England and he expects a bout that will immediately move him up the British super-middleweight rankings.
"There is something inside me that still feels I have unfinished business with boxing. I felt I was denied the chance to shoot for a medal at the Commonwealth Games and even now I hear about people doubting me… I have that edge in me that I want to prove people wrong," said McCrory.
"When I started off as a professional my goal was to eventually get to fight in the SSE Arena and then that happened in my first fight because my manager at the time, Ciaran Farrell, got me on the Ryan Burnett undercard. I set myself realistic goals and then re-set. So now I'm looking at moving forward at domestic level and getting to the point of fighting for a European title.
"I know I have to get a lot more experience and at 32 I don't want to be hanging about. The coronavirus has effected us all but I have been working hard with my coaches Dee Walsh and strength and conditioning coach Dan Anderson so when I get back in I want to be challenged and with each fight take a step up.
"I've been told that when I return it will be a step up in class. To get noticed by the British Boxing Board of Control you need to start beating some recognised guys in Britain and that's what I want. I believe I have the power to hurt people at domestic level and a couple of good wins will really put me on the super-middleweight radar."
McCrory took his revenge over McGlinchey in a hastily arranged four-rounder at the Ulster Hall in 2018 but it was his knockout of Steve Collins jnr at the Falls Park last summer that raised local interest in just how far he could progress. Since then, partly due to the pandemic, he has been treading water but expects that to change as boxing returns.
"That win over Collins was really special for me. It felt surreal fighting in the Falls Park, the area where I grew up and then to have that kind of win in the final round… it was just amazing," added McCrory, a full-time personal trainer at GymCo.
"Each fight is an investment for the future. The reality is that you don't earn a lot in the early days as a professional and if I can cover my expenses with a few quid over I'm happy because it's all about building towards a big fight.
"I'm going to have another eight rounder in September and that will then allow me to move on to 10-rounders and that's when I can start looking to push towards title shots."