“I’m a changed man”, he smiled; “I’ll even get the coffees!” Corey McCulloch is the latest boxer from Arbroath to turn professional. We met up to discuss his debut on the 4th May at the Northern Sporting Club show in conjunction with Kynoch Promotions at the Doubletree Hilton in Aberdeen.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I know Corey, I’ve been in the gym alongside him and even done some pad work with him so I know how hard he hits. He was also known as having fists as tight as they were hard hitting hence the coffee comment as we met up.
Being very open and honest Corey would be the first to admit he didn’t always take things as seriously as he should have.
“I’ve boxed for years off and on but never really dedicated myself properly. When I started, I only went for about a year, had my first fight and then took 6 months off and that turned into a pattern. I’d train, have a fight then take too much time off, miss it and start all over again so my amateur career was nothing special as a result of that. I always believed I was good enough but I didn’t have the dedication that you need. I’ve never actually had a fight to this day where I have been fit enough until now. I loved it all so much that the adrenaline and nerves got me through fights in the past. I never put in the work though as I wanted everything there and then. I basically wanted to walk into a gym and be told I’d be fighting in a week or two rather than put in the weeks and weeks of training that is required to reach the top level. As an amateur I always realised I wasn’t fit enough and knew I had to work harder but deep down I felt I had more in the tank to give”.
Now that he was looking forward to his first fight in the paid ranks, what did Corey see as the main differences between that and the amateurs?
“I wasn’t living properly before and was going out too much at the weekends and smoking but going pro has been life changing for me as I live in a totally different way now. If I had kept going on the old path, I could see things going downhill and I didn’t want to get to a stage in my life where I looked back on what could have been and had loads of regrets. I want to do something that my mum can be proud of and not see me wasting my life and my talent. I’m now training every day at least once as opposed to just doing club nights. I go for a run in the mornings then go to the gym in the afternoon for stretching and some lighter exercises and back again at night working on different things. The more sessions I put in the better I’m feeling and I’m convinced it will show on fight night. The level of opposition I am going to be up against has given me a real wake up call and the jump in levels has changed my attitude to everything. My manager Sam Kynoch could not have been more helpful with everything, I’m buzzing to be on one of his shows as they look absolute class”.
Trained by well-known local trainer George Shug Ramsay and ex pro Mark Fairweather I was keen to know what Corey had been working on now in preparation for his first fight?
“It’s more the fundamentals of boxing at professional level. In the amateurs it was about being a lot lighter on your feet and scoring points whereas now it’s about throwing hard shots and making them count. I actually think this will suit my style much more and I’ll be able to relax into a fight as they are a bit longer as well. I’m going to get some decent sparring with Paul Kean and Dean Sutherland so I’m really looking forward to that”.
Now that Corey is taking things more seriously than he has in the past, where did he think he could reach and what was the best thing about being a pro?
“It’s all riding on the first couple of years, in reality I’d like to at least follow in the footsteps of Paul Kean and hopefully go past what he has achieved so far. I believe I can, British level might be a long shot but who’s to say I can’t. I’ve managed to get to where I am without living the right way so how far can I go now that I’m doing all the right things. Bernard Hopkins started boxing at 18 from jail and look where he went, so who’s to say I can’t go on to do great things. I know you get out what you put in but you also have to believe in yourself. Over the next 12 months I would like to prove myself and be passed fighting journeymen. I’m really not bothered about keeping a clean record, if I’m fighting someone who is levels above me early but I’m putting up a good fight with him then I know that within another few months of training I could be up there too as long as I’m learning from it. I’m hoping to get 5 or 6 fights under my belt in the first year and if I stay fit and active then I should be able to achieve that”.
“The best thing about going pro for me is the pride I feel about being the only professional in Angus at the moment. The other thing is making my mum and my late gran and grandad proud, if I was to say I was doing this for anyone it would be for them. I don’t want to be known as the idiot that done this or that in the town. It would be nice to be known as someone who had done well. Also not having to shave as I hated shaving for the amateurs” Corey laughed.
Finally, I wanted to know what the fans could expect when they watch Corey in action?
“I will be coming forward and going for it, it’s an entertainment business after all. The people I enjoy watching are Golovkin due to pressure he puts on his opponents, that’s the way I see myself fighting. On the front foot all the time and constant pressure. I aim to put on a show and want more people to want to watch me. I’m a big strong super welterweight and I hit hard, I’m happy to take shots as long as I can land mine as well. I have just found out that my first opponent will be Jordan Grannum, I’m fully expecting four hard rounds as he looks terrifying but you never know. If he comes to fight then it’s a possibility that I can stop him. I’ll take my time but I think I’ll hurt him and if the stoppage comes it comes”.
Corey would like to thank his sponsor Ian Grant at ILG Plumbing & Heating for all the help he has given so far.
PS, in case you were wondering, he did get the coffee!