Someone’s ‘0’ must go at the ‘Celtic Clash’, but stylish switch hitting former Irish amateur champion Declan Trainor is determined that he will maintain his clean slate when he faces fellow unbeaten Sligo fighter Stephen ‘Block’ Reynolds for the Celtic Nations cruiserweight title on a bumper bill at the Devenish Complex in Belfast on Saturday, September 14.
Trainor has not been required to get off his stool for round two thus far in his pro career. The double dose of first round knockouts dished out to his foes in his opening contests have sent alarm bells ringing around the cruiserweight division and he is confident that he can keep his run of stoppages going in Belfast against Reynolds.
The 6’1’’ dynamo enjoyed a stand out amateur career earning two All-Ireland victories from six finals and captured nine titles at provincial level.
The 25-year-old dubbed ‘The Terminator’ then emigrated to Perth, Australia in 2010 and trained under Craig Christian in the western capital making his pro debut that July. He earned a shock first round knockout win over dangerous undefeated cruiserweight Jamie ‘the Boss’ Bogavic on his debut, the sole defeat the Australian Commonwealth Games representative has suffered to date.
Trainor floored Bogovic in the opening seconds of their fight. That left blood flowing incessantly from the Aussie fighter’s nose and the fight was waved off by referee Charlie Lucas with just 20 seconds remaining in the first round.
That victory should have catapulted the County Down banger into the limelight, the opposite materialised and Trainor was shut out of the Australian scene and deemed ‘too dangerous’ to risk fighting.
“I enjoyed being the underdog there; I had to prove myself to them. We did our homework on Bogavic and knew I would catch him with that shot, I just didn’t think it would be that soon. It was a big win, especially against one of their top prospects. But I couldn’t get matched after that, it dried up,” explained Trainor.
The Warrenpoint warrior then returned to Ireland to open up a fitness gym in his hometown before teaming up with his Belfast manager Mark Dunlop and coach Tony Dunlop at the Kronk Gym. He quickly carried on in Ireland where he left off in Australia with first round demolition of Hungarian brawler Tamas Danko in March of this year.
“I was expecting more from Danko. I wanted a few tough rounds but he wasn’t up for it and it was all over far too quick for my liking. But it was to be back in the ring, notch up another win and shake some of the rust off,” said Trainor. “After that I wanted a big step up, I heard Reynolds say that he wants the best in Ireland, so do I, so when Mark called me and asked if I wanted a fight for the Celtic title I jumped at it.”
“There’s a great buzz about the Kronk gym at the moment, all the boys are flying and there are some great prospects and talent. James Tennyson just won the Irish title and hopefully Dan McShane picks up his first title on this bill as well. So the energy is high and we are all looking to achieve our goals.
“I want the hard fights now, I wouldn’t turn any fight down so I won’t avoid Reynolds. Mark has delivered outside the ring and now it’s my time to deliver in the ring and chalk up another Kronk title,” enthused the former St. Bronagh’s fighter.
“I’m certainly not taking Reynolds for granted. He is a five time Irish senior champ and a very hard trainer who can bang with both hands. I’ll be wary of him for first couple of rounds and let my boxing take over. It will be tit-for-tat for a while and then explode into a war. We both want it bad. I want it more.”
Reynolds, who is head coach at the Ballinacarrow Boxing Club in Sligo and competed at the World Boxing Championships in 2001, is also unbeaten with a record of 2-0 (KO 1) and brings a large fan base with him from the Northwest. Both fighters see this as a stepping stone fight towards an Irish title and Trainor wants to keep his run of knockout victories going.
“I’m known for have a big right hand. If it lands then there is usually trouble. Reynolds is a pressure fighter, he keeps coming forward and that will give me a chance to get him to walk onto my big punch,” warned Trainor.
“I always train hard, but I’ve changed a few things around considering the opponent and the length of the fight. I’ve had great sparring with Jay McGann and one of Reynolds former opponents, Moses Matovu. I’ve landed some rocking shots and I’ll be doing the same come fight night. There will be a lot of my supporters in the arena and the atmosphere will be electric. That will give me the extra edge to take the title home.”
The show, dubbed the ‘Celtic Clash’ features rising talent from across Ireland including unbeaten fighters like Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paddy Gallagher, Ireland’s only female pro boxer Christina McMahon and Daniel ‘Insane’ McShane , Joe Hillerby and the ‘Buncrana Banger’ John Hutchinson also bringing more quality to the show.
Tickets for Declan’s bout at the Devenish Complex, Belfast on Saturday, September 14th, range from £30 for unreserved seating and £45 for a ringside position.
Tickets are available in Kronk Gym in Belfast, the Pro Personal Gym in Warrenpoint or by calling 075 981 78 439.
Follow Declan on twitter at @DeclanTrainorPT and for further details on the show follow @CelticClash.