Irish professional boxer Michael Owen McLaughlin is back and ready to once again take on the American boxing scene this Saturday, October 26.
McLaughlin and another Irish prospect, John Hutchinson, will fight in separate six round bouts at the “Boxing Event under the Tent" presented by Big Six entertainment in association with Danny Kelly Promotions. This will be the first professional boxing card to be held at the Irish Cultural Centre, Canton, MA.
Boston-based McLaughlin, ranked second in the Irish light middle weight division, has been unable to fight for the last five months due to an arm injury. The fighter damaged muscles in his arm soon after avenging his only career loss to date, against local Boston boxer Chavez Fernandez ,with a six-point win in May.
The injury meant that the 29-year-old Donegal native was out of action for the whole summer. He was unable to spar until a specialist gave him the all clear in early October.
Many boxing fans would have forgiven the Inishowen man if he had taken a step back from training, but McLaughlin knows he has come too far to allow this minor setback stop his pursuit of glory.
The southpaw fighter’s father and uncle were boxers in Ireland and England. As a young boy, McLaughlin would join his father in the boxing club, although he didn’t start to train seriously until he was 11 years old.
Irish boxing heroes like Steve Collins inspired McLaughlin as a teenager.
“[It was] great seeing an Irish man beating Chris Eubank and Nigel Ben ... both hard [men]” McLaughlin said of Collins, an Irish boxing legend who was known as the Celtic Warrior.
With an Irish intermediate title behind him and over 100 amateur boxing fights under his belt, the Donegal man finally turned pro when he was 25 years of age. However, it hasn't been smooth sailing.
McLaughlin’s dedication to his sport meant a daily commute from his hometown of Glengad, Co. Donegal to train at the John Breen professional boxing club in Belfast.
After enduring the six-hour journey every day along with the intense training, McLaughlin was repeatedly left disappointed when fight after fight was cancelled. He knew that to really advance his career he would need to make some tough decisions.
The Inishowen man says of this time “I had enough. Three hours in total to Belfast, then the hard training, then three hours home. And then, when [there are] no fights at the end, you think to yourself: what am I doing?”
Determined to get the fights he needed, the Donegal man made the decision to relocate to America, and set out for Boston. Currently under the management of Danny Kelly, the fighter had, until his injury, been guaranteed a fight every six to eight weeks.
Thanks to his success in these pre-injury contests, McLaughlin, has acquired a large fan base in Massachusetts.
A burning ambition to one day take a title back to his home country ensured that, despite his injury frustration, McLaughin kept busy. He scheduled regular sessions at the Dorchester Boxing club throughout the summer months with his trainer, former professional boxer Sean Manion.
An experienced fighter, Manion, who once fought for a World Boxing title against six-time title holder Mike McCallum, has been helping McLaughlin with his technique. He has also worked with him on stances that are particularly suited to left-handed boxers.
“He’s a Southpaw like myself, which is great as I’ve been learning a lot,” commented McLaughlin.
Recently, the light middleweight also added a new dimension to his training by linking up with Harry McQuillan of HMQ Fitness in Ireland. McQuillan has been coaching the fighter online to improve his strength and conditioning.
“I needed to change my training,” said McLaughlin. “I can totally feel the change in my strength. I’m throwing power punches in the ring.”
With five of his previous opponents knocked to the floor during fights, the boxer known for his counter-punching style is keen to prove that despite his time off from the ring, his hunger for success has not diminished.
On Saturday, October 26, McLaughlin will take on MMA fighter-turned-professional Sergio Carera in a six-round bout. He is determined to leave his mark on his opponent.
“He’s suppose to be a real tough lad,” said McLaughlin. “[But] I’ll sort him out.”
Given his steely determination, persistence and hard work ethic, McLaughlin is also likely to leave a lasting impression on boxing fans. They will find out that the light middleweight boxer is back – and he means business.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore