‘The Buncrana Banger’ John Hutchinson looks to follow up on his spectacular pro boxing debut win in County Mayo, as the ‘Funcrana Funbus’ rolls into Belfast next month with the young fighter scheduled to have his second pro fight against Belfast’s Gerard ‘Boom Boom’ Healy on a packed bill at the Odyssey Arena, featuring heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury on Saturday, December 1.
The globe-trotting fighter got his career in the professional ranks off to a flying start with a hard fought win over former Irish Amateur champion Darren Cruise in a six round thriller at the Royal Theatre, Castlebar in August. Hutchinson, a former Ulster Novices champion, attacked his Roscommon opponent from the first bell as the pair the fought at close quarters in what quickly became a slugfest, which thrilled the travelling Donegal fans that made the journey south in support of the Buncrana fighter.
“I think the support on the night was the deciding factor for me. It was a rude-awakening getting in there with an experienced fully fledged professional like Cruise, and I quickly realised there is a massive gulf in class between the semi-professional level and the licenced pros,” admitted 26-year-old.
“I fought on the semi-pro circuit in England and Thailand, maybe I fully appreciate the leap in quality,” he said. “Cruise was quite a bit bigger than me and more experienced having fought in the Prizefighter Series on SKY Sports, he was really strong in there, leaning on me and putting the pressure on so I really had to dig deep to grind out the win.
“It wasn’t pretty boxing as we slugged it out and I picked up two big gashes from head clashes for my troubles but I did what I had to do to ensure that I started my pro career the way I intend to keep going and thankfully the referee raised my arm at the end of the fight. It was a massive relief to get the debut out of the way because I was so nervous and I think that drained a lot of my energy in the fight,” explained the former Illies Golden Gloves slugger.
“Now I have a new challenge and I’m looking to build on what I learned in my debut. In Belfast I will be staring across the ring at a man I know well from my amateur days. I fought Gerard Healy in real tough fight when we were both amateurs. It was a sizzling encounter and I have nothing but the height of respect for his talents. He likes to come forward throwing bombs and so do I, so we won’t have to go looking for each other. It will probably be another slugfest, with me going in as the underdog again. Just like the Cruise fight he will have some key advantages over me like size and experience, not to mention fighting in his backyard as well. But it was the same against Cruise and I came out on top there, and if training keeps going the way it is and I can get the same support behind me again I am sure I can come out with another win.
“Healy is a full-time pro now and training in a stable of top class pros in Belfast, so I know he is firing on all cylinders and fancies a win in this fight. But I learnt my lesson from the debut and I am now really focusing on my training, having committed to John Breen at the famous Breen Gym in Belfast.
“It’s been great since I have thrown myself into working with the guys up there. I have the best of both worlds. When I am up in Belfast I can test myself against top pros like Stephen Haughian and Brendan Fitzpatrick whilst working on the pads with a master like John Breen who has guided Paul McCloskey to World titles fights and then when I am in Donegal I have the honour of mixing with the likes of William McLaughlin, who for me is one of the best prospects in all of Ireland and doing Donegal proud in the World Series of Boxing,” enthused Hutchinson.
“I am really buzzing to be given the chance to perform on such a massive bill in the Odyssey Arena with names like Tyson Fury and Chris Eubank Jnr also on the show. I think it will bring out the best in me. Without doubt it is definitely a case of the man who wants in most will take the win on the night, I know that I have put in the hard work and not cut any corners so I just hope Gerard has done the same and I am sure there will be fireworks in Belfast on the night,” added the unbeaten prospect with a glint of hunger in his eyes.
The ‘Tyson Returns’ bill features a host of evenly matched quality 50/50 match-ups including Tyson Fury vs Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson in a World title eliminator, a clash of two big-hitting Belfast Cruiserweights in Darren Corbett vs undefeated Conall Carmichael and Stephen Haughian vs John O’Donnell with unbeaten prospects like Chris Eubank Jnr, Dee Walsh, Daniel McShane, Paul Quinn and Matthew Wilton bringing more quality to the show.
Tickets for John’s bout at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast on Saturday, December 3 range from £30 tiered seat and £195 for VIP ringside seats.
Tickets are available in Derry from The Healthy Way on Guildhall Square or in Buncrana at O’Flaherty’s Bar. Alternatively call 087 122 0660 in the south or 079 85 646 187 in the north or visit www.boxing-ireland.com.
Follow John on Twitter at @BuncranaBanger