Terry Maughan – “I’ve got nothing but respect for John, we both want the same thing”

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The past few days has seen plenty of talk about an Irish light middleweight title fight on the undercard of the rumoured Belfast Boxnation show on November 5th.

With champion Pauly Upton looking likely to vacate the belt, it seems that Buncrana’s John Hutchinson [7(2)-2(0)-2] seems set to have a shot at the title. A rubber match against Belfast rival Ger Healy was suggested and a Donegal duel with Michael McLaughlin is also a possibility, but a fight with two-time challenger Terry Maughan on a different date in England now looks to be the front-runner.

MGM are keen to pit Hutchinson against the Nottingham-born fighter for the green belt on a show in Birmingham in early December, and Maughan [10(0)-6(6)-1] spoke to Irish-Boxing.com about the potential match-up.

The 31 year old confirmed that “one hundred per-cent I’ll take the fight in Birmingham – or wherever it is for that matter, as long there’s a ring.”

“I’m climbing Mount Kilimanjaro the first week of January for the children’s charity ‘When You Wish Upon a Star,’ so the buzz of being Irish champion alone would fly me up that mountain!”

Maughan recently challenged for the belt in April against Upton, being stopped standing in the sixth round, however he feels the bout was closer than the result suggests. He explained that “I thought there wasn’t much in the fight really. Myself and my team were certain during the fight that, the longer it went on, we’d stop him down the stretch as he started to tire.”

“But I was getting caught with stupid shots and full credit to him he boxed well.”

“I thought the stoppage came out of nowhere to be honest but that’s the ref’s decision.”

While he wasn’t delighted with the decision, the Carl Greaves fighter took the result on the chin and stressed that he is “not taking anything away from Pauly. Two Irishmen just boxed for their dream title. I congratulated him in the his dressing room afterwards and wished him the best for the future.”

“Himself and the boys even sang happy birthday to me as we was fighting on my birthday!”

“Nothing but respect for Pauly and his team. He is a good boxer.”

Maughan admits that the defeat was hard to take and revealed that “it took me a good few weeks to get over it to be honest.”

“It was a hard pill to swallow because I had a great camp with my manager Carl Greaves and Peter Cope so there was no excuses, none at all.”

“I was convinced I was going to win.”

That said, he isn’t one to dwell on a defeat and told how “I had a good blowout in Vegas with my brothers then went back to the gym and began working on a few things, looking to improve all the time.”

“This is boxing, you either win or learn and you’ve got no time to feel sorry for yourself.”

The loss to Upton was Maughan’s second Irish title defeat, having been stopped in the second round by the ludicrously talented now-retired Dee Walsh in 2014. Some might feel that a third shot, immediately after a loss, is not warranted, but Maughan doesn’t see it that way. He argued that “at the end of the day, I reckon I have just as much of a right as anybody to be honest.”

“Everybody loses, unless your Calzaghe or Mayweather.”

“I mean I lost, so what? I’ll dust myself down and go again and again. Like that old cliché goes: “winners never quit, quitters never win.”

“Besides, I believe it definitely will be third time lucky.”

Indeed Maughan, rightly, sees no shame in his defeats, and noted how “I boxed Dee Walsh, one hell of a fighter, and one who I thought would be World champion. I jumped in and I didn’t see anyone else wanting it to be honest.”

“Then obviously the stoppage with Upton, well like I already said, I thought was very premature.”

An old-school fighter, Maughan isn’t one to trash talk and bears no ill-will towards Hutchinson, describing how “the funny thing is, I don’t think I’ve met John personally, but we’re always supporting each other with upcoming fights, seeing how one another’s doing and have been for a couple of years now.”

“I think there was rumours about trying to make a fight a few years back but nothing ever materialised.”

“I’ve got nothing but respect for John, we both want the same thing, both hungry for it and we’ve both already boxed for the title.”

“If the fight does happen, I know we’ll have a good craic after for definite!”

That’s not to say however that Maughan does not believe he would win, and he stated that “If we were to fight, I’d be one hundred per-cent confident in winning.”

“I think stylistically it would be a good fight but I believe I’m the better boxer.”

Regardless of opponent, or how many times he has challenged, Maughan is single-minded in his vision. A proud Irishman, he passionately explained that “the Irish title, to me, is my World title.”

“I can’t put into words what it means to have the honour in fighting for it, but it has a special place in my heart so to win it really will be a dream come true and one my family will be proud of.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]