McAfee sets sights on featherweight belt

by Stephen Findlater
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Stephen McAfee has won the right to fight for the Irish super featherweight title at Celtic Clash 7, and will face a boisterous Feargal McCrory, from Tyrone in November.

The pair announced the fight by facing off right after McCrory’s victory over Brayan Mairena in Tallaght earlier this month.

McCrory has immediately thrown the gauntlet at the Dublin man, quipping “I’ve beaten better,” but the the Sallynoggin man’s camp is quietly confident going into the fight, which will take place at Good Counsel GAA Club on November 24.

McAfee is undefeated at 4(2)-0-1, and McCrory at 9(3)-0, but while McCrory is fresh off the back of his most recent fight, he has been focusing on his skills and condition behind the scenes after his last win in July.

His trainer Jonny Lewins told the Dublin Gazette that McAfee is sticking to a long-term plan, and sees things he can exploit in McCrory.

“I love the technical side, the identifying weaknesses and mistakes and working out how we can exploit them,” Lewins said of the pre-fight agenda. “We see a few weaknesses. Not to disrespect him as a fighter, it’s going to be very tough, but we have a few ideas on how to beat him.”

McAfee has just returned from a training camp in Manchester, where he spent three days hopping between top-class gyms, and took the chance to spar with former world champion Anthony Crolla.

“Stephen’s developing into a really strong boxer and everything is going just as we hoped so far,” Lewins said of his charge. “McCrory is very well trained, but this is exactly what Stephen needs. He’s had no fight in October, we’ve waited for the right one, and this is it.

“They’re both south paws, and the fight suits both camps. If Stephen wins, we’ll be looking to go abroad, maybe to fight in England. It’s good for your reputation and gives you a chance to move forward,” Lewins concluded.

McAfee is a former kickboxer who turned professional as a boxer after a few amateur fights a year ago. Nicknamed “showtime”, the featherweight is based in Sallynoggin, and is the current BUI Celtic Champion.

A super bantamweight contest between Carl McDonald and Dylan McDonagh – the latter also from Lewin’s Monkstown Boxing Club stable – will take place on the same night.

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