MOVING up from lightweight to light-welterweight is making all the difference for Sean McComb and the Holy Trinity man intends to prove it when he tangles with Bayyynacargy’s Wayne Kelly for the 64kg National Elite title at the National Stadium on Friday.
McComb had been plying his trade in the 60kg division, but says the struggle to get down to the lightweight division was taking away from his preparation as it became more about shedding the pounds rather than pounding the bags.
With the extra four kilos to play with, the Turf Lodge man says he has enjoyed a much better preparation than when he narrowly lost out to David Oliver Joyce in the 2016 final and believes this will be on show come Friday.
“I’m glad I made the choice to move up,” he confirmed.
“I should have done it earlier to be honest, but now it’s starting to pay off. It’s working for me and it’s allowing me to train harder because it’s not weight loss training I’m doing anymore, but doing the training on what I need to do.
“Last year, four or five weeks out of the seniors it was just tip-tap, tip-tap and weight loss.
“It was long and slow sessions, not about fitness or game-plans or working on different things because all I was working on was getting the weight down.
“Now, I’m up a weight, I’m comfortable at it and have been able to do weights as-well-as the cardio work on separate days.
“In the gym I have been able to work twice as hard because I now have the energy and fitness to do it. I can do specific things that help my style of fighting and I can do a bit more that way instead of worrying about the weight loss.”
Certainly, if his semi-final victory over Patrick Linehan was anything to go by, the new approach is already paying off as the Holy Trinity man cruised into the final. He says Linehan had little to trouble him so by employing his superior boxing skills, overcoming the Dubliner was a straightforward task.
“I stuck to the game-plan and had simple tactics. I drew him into my fight and that worked well,” he said.
“I knew he was one-dimensional and would just come forward, but he would almost be trying to wait on me throwing and then run into an attack.
“I sort of knew that anyway so after the first couple of attempts I knew what he was all he had so I started to change it up a wee bit and kept him guessing. He had no answer to that.”
That victory at his new weight will certainly have given McComb confidence ahead of Friday’s final against Kelly who he has shared a ring with before.
He has identified the areas where he can have success and believes his long leavers can be the key to victory.
“I had a test match against him and have done a couple of rounds sparring so we know each other a wee bit,” he explained.
“This is going to be a tricky fight because he is a tricky operator. He is a southpaw, awkward but I have a bit of a reach advantage over him so I will be looking to use that over him. Hopefully that works.”
With the World and European Championships to come later in the year, an Irish Elite title will likely be one of the deciding factors to determine who makes the Irish team so victory on Friday is about more than just a trophy and title.
McComb decided to resist the urge to turn professional in order to box at the major amateur tournaments and World Series of Boxing for the British Lionhearts, so he knows his decision must be vindicated come Friday night.
“I believe I can go and medal at both of them,” he predicts.
“That has kept me amateur so I’m hoping I made the right decision on Friday night.
“All I can do is focus on myself and hopefully with fair judging and fair refereeing and everything goes well, I can do the job.
“Hopefully that means I can go on to a very successful year with WSB and the Europeans and Worlds. All goes well at the weekend with fair judging, then there is no reason why I can’t be at those major tournaments.”