McGrady ready for first boxing nationals
TRURO - Ryan McGrady has always relished the underdog role.
"I've been the underdog in almost every fight I've been in," said the 18-year-old welterweight (140 pounds).
He will be again next week at the Canadian Senior Boxing Championships in St. Hyacinthe, Que. That's just fine with the South Shore native.
"A lot of people don't believe I'm going to win because I'm from Nova Scotia," he said. "But I'm looking to prove them wrong."
That's an attitude Ron Lamb, his coach at the Truro Amateur Boxing Club, is all too familiar with.
"If there's a card he's usually on it," Lamb said. "He never turns down a fight. He just takes the challenge and steps up to it."
That's what McGrady's been doing since winning the provincial title over the City of Lakes Boxing Club's Mike Campbell in a 14-13 decision at the Agridome Dec. 14. McGrady has been training at the club four days a week, two hours a day, as well as working out at the gym.
"I feel like I'm in shape," he said.
Being physically ready has become somewhat of a trademark for McGrady. It certainly sticks out in the mind of provincial team coach Wayne Gordon, who will be in McGrady's corner this week.
"He's always a guy we know is able to box at 100 per cent," Gordon said. "He always comes in shape and he's always able to fight his
Coming in to the ring fit can only serve McGrady well at the tournament-style event where each round is two minutes.
"There will be fighters that can punch harder or move better," Gordon said. "But there won't be anyone in better shape than Ryan."
Even so, it will be an uphill battle for McGrady at the event. With 16 fighters in his weight class, he'll have to win at least four fights to capture a gold medal. But coming home with a medal isn't what Gordon expects from his fighter.
"It's his first year at the senior championships," Gordon said. "Very few people go there their first year and win. So this is a good chance for him to look and see what the competition is at his level and where he's at, so he can prepare for the next national
"He's definitely an underdog."
But McGrady has a gameplan in place and has been around the boxing world long enough to know what it takes to be successful in the ring, especially when you're not expected to win.
"I have to throw punches in bunches," he said. "And once I land some I have to keep going."
Landing combinations is something McGrady is very good at. "He punches really well and has good hand speed," Gordon said.
McGrady said he hopes to put all those attributes together to cause an upset at the event. "My goal is to win," he said.