SEAN McGLINCHEY has suffered blow after blow in the space of 16 short months and was on the verge of throwing the towel in on his professional boxing career.
Just two successful fights into his career in the paid ranks, serious injury struck as the Derry man was hospitalised with suspected nerve damage following a training incident as he prepared for a Celtic Nations title fight.
Sean hit rock bottom after that setback, admitting he struggled with his mental health as the boxing world suddenly came crashing down around him.
Unceremoniously stripped of his pro boxing license on medical grounds by the British Boxing Board of Control, acting on reports from an unidentified source, made things significantly worse for the big-hitting southpaw.
Now out of work and fighting a losing battle against the BBBoC to have his license renewed, his trainer and mentor, former world cruiserweight champion, Glenn McCrory was forced to walk away.
“It’s sad we had to part,” said Sean. “Glenn was also doing his TV punditry work and commentating as well as training me. When it all happened with my license Glenn had to take more work on. I was inactive for a year and half and if he was relying on me to pay the bills then there was nothing there. He had to make his own money and feed his family so I totally respect him.”
While the 26 year-old understands the initial precautions taken by the BBBoC, his dealings with the organisation since, as he tried to rebuild his career, have angered him.
Mistaken identity and a ‘disgraceful’ long, drawn out process to get his suspension lifted made him question his career and after a conversion with his father, Mickey, he was close to hanging up the gloves.
Thankfully the full-time carer had a change of heart and when his suspension was lifted he opted to go through the Boxing Union of Ireland to secure his license.
And the pain-staking process of clearing his name and recovering his reputation was made worthwhile when he received a call asking him to fight on MTK’s ‘Danger at the Docks’ bill this Friday at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast.
Derry’s own, Tyrone McCullagh headlines the card as he takes on Josh Kennedy for the WBO European Super bantamweight title.
It’s been six months of inactivity for Sean since his points win over Dan Blackwell at the Waterfront Hall but after what he deems an injustice, he’s back and feels he has a point to prove as he makes up for lost time.
“It’s been hard with everything that’s been going on,” admitted Sean. “From dealing with my injury and my own doctors telling me I was okay to continue to having somebody to go behind my back and throw the spanner in the works by going to the British Boxing Board of Control through social media was down-heartening.
“In my opinion, the way it was handled by the British Boxing Board of Control was an absolute joke and a disgrace.
“I totally understand that they saw there was potentially a medical issue and were concerned for the health of a boxer. That needs to be looked at in boxing as it’s a dangerous sport but boxing is also my job and if I was getting suspended from work I would expect to be called to a meeting.
“I got a letter in the post saying I was suspended and that I had to pass on medical records but I thought they should have had the decency to at least allow me a meeting to put my side forward before the suspension kicked in.
“I was then told my suspension was lifted so I went to get a license with the BUI only to be told by the BBBoC a couple of days later there had been a misunderstanding and they had been looking at the wrong profile.
“But all that’s put behind me now and I’m glad to have my license through the BUI and I look forward to working with them.”
Given his perceived injustice, he could be forgiven for falling out of love with the sport he’s known since he was 11 years-old but, if anything, it’s made the Creggan middleweight more determined to succeed.
“There were times I sat down to discuss it with my father who has been heavily involved in my career from a young age. He got me into it and himself and Micky Glackin coached me to six Irish titles.
“Chatting to him, he told me that if I decided to hang up the gloves and never enter a ring again he wouldn’t question my decision given everything that had been going on.
“It was tough and a few times I thought about it. I thought ‘That’s it!’. I have a full-time job. I like my job but it’s not where I want to be. I want to be a top level boxer but I was considering going back to school.
“I kept on training and it was hard motivating myself. It had a serious effect on my mental health. It was getting me down because it felt like someone, or something, was always there to stop me. It wasn’t a nice feeling.
“People think it’s plain-sailing being a professional boxer and you’re making all this money but I was stuck out of the ring and not making money. Watching everyone else improve I was thinking, ‘I should be there too’. It was extremely frustrating.”
Sean gets his chance to lay all his ghosts to rest this Friday night as he looks to stretch his professional record to 3-0 and should he pick up where he left off, the future looks bright for the 2012 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.