The New Scottish Lightweight Boxing Champion
By, Sergio Burns
Beneath the bright lights everything is a blur of energy and movement, while the cheering crowd becomes muffled background noise. He moves forward, sweat sprays from his hair as he is tagged with a jab, but he keeps moving, focused only on one thing.
To step into this arena is a test of mettle, an act of bravery. Defeat is not about getting knocked down, but about not getting back up, as Scottish Lightweight boxing champion Calvin McCord soon discovered. Rising twice from the canvas – the first knockdown was a slip he would later claim – to stop Marek Laskowski and win the title.
“My big brother started first,” the boxer told AM of his early introduction to the fight game. “He would have been ten. He started and I was just the little brother following in the big brother’s footsteps, and then I turned out better than him.”
Calvin laughed and I asked him if he wanted me to quote him on that.
“Aye,” Came the quick reply as his young face lit up with mirth. “He’ll love it!”
McCord won his first title by stopping Polish-born Laskowski in the eighth round of a scheduled ten rounder at the Donald J Trump Ballroom, Trump Turnberry. A crowd of 700 witnessed Calvin take the lightweight crown, formerly held by fellow Ayrshire boxers Ryan Collins and Jim Moffat in 2016 and 1989 respectively. Former world champion Ken Buchanan also held the title, so Calvin McCord is in good company.
“I am originally from Ayr,” he revealed. “Grew up in Ayr, Kincaidston. I went to Kincaidston Primary School and Belmont Academy, and then started boxing aged seven years old and it took over my life. When I was younger I played football, then soon as I got to seven started boxing, took over my life and that’s what I have done ever since.”
Learning his trade in the amateur ranks, it was clear Calvin had potential even before he took the step up to the professional game.
“I fought amateur,” the boxer explained. “I had about 110 amateur fights, and won around about 70. I boxed in about five British finals got beat in five, but I was always fighting like European champions.”
At the Lagoon Leisure Centre, Paisley, on October 28, 2017, Calvin McCord made the long walk to the ring to make his professional debut. His opponent that evening was Blackburn, Lancashire-based fighter Naheem Chaudhry, a boxer with two bouts to his credit at the time. Calvin won on points and while he has steadily built an impressive, unbeaten record of six fights and six wins, Chaudhry has fought an incredible 43 times in less than 18 months since then, winning only once.
But professional boxing takes incredible dedication.
“I’d say it is a bit more intense,” McCord said of the professional game. “I always trained hard as an amateur anyway… but I train twice a day now. Every day I am up at five thirty in the morning, go to the gym for six before my work. Then back home and away to the gym again at night. So, as an amateur just trained once a day, but [there is]a lot more strength and conditioning involved with the pro game. You are fighting guys maybe 30 years old and they have all got that [experience] over you. So, you need to put a lot of strength and conditioning work in, you need the work to be put in to get somewhere.”
He took a moment to reflect on his new found status, took a sip of his coffee and continued:
“I am an electrician. Just qualified about a year ago, but I have just dropped down to three days a week. East Ayrshire Council…have been great. I put an application form in…